As some of you may know, every Monday I do a feature on health and fitness called “Countdown to summer”.
On my health and well-being category, you will find a host of fitness interviews and tips. None of my article are targeted at dieting and quick fixes; this is about taking care of yourself and trying to be at the level of health you desire.
On that note, I want to get into discussing the mindset. To me, fitness is in the mind and the thoughts you read to yourself can affect the way you eat and workout.
I grew up when thin was in; my thick thighs and pear shape body was a nightmare! No matter how many diets or starvation periods I endured, I could not match the size of my friends – never mind celebrities. During and after college, I became very untoned and I started to focus on the health side.
I would do what many people do – go from 0 to 100. I could never keep up with my goals I set in place so I would only ever be in shape for small amounts of periods. This led me to believe I was a failure who would never be happy with my body. My spinal fusion surgeries also received most of the blame. It was easier to say my back was the issue rather than change.
Fast-forward to now and I am a completely different person. Everything from the progression, physical changes to inner; being more positive and self-happy. This is not a manual on me though. You may like my body or you may hate it. Really, I only want to demonstrate you can aim to be where you want to be; the mind can alter a lot.
Why don’t we discuss the mindset more? We jump to food and exercise and we leave this key opponent out. Here are some new ways of thinking that can help you on your health journey.
This is what you want to do
Stop telling yourself you can’t eat this or you will have to stop doing that. Reinforce that this is a decision. Yes if you want, you can eat that cheesecake everyday and live on fizzy drinks – you are choosing a better option!
You are not a failure
Sometimes you do overindulge – and that’s ok. Calling yourself a failure completely cuts any chance of progression and even halts any progression you may have made. If you believe you are failure, how are you going to work up the motivation to believe you will succeed?
You can do this
Imagine two scenarios. The first: a person comes up to you and says they GUARANTEE, that if you follow their plan, you will achieve exactly what you want. It will be hard work and sacrifice, but at the end you will 100% be happy and capable.
The second: a person comes up to you and says they are not confident, that if you follow their plan, you will achieve exactly what you want. It will be hard work and sacrifice, but at the end you might be somewhat happy and capable.
Which one is going to motivate you more? You have to dig deep inside of yourself and know that you can do it. Whatever body goal or healthy lifestyle you are after, you CAN do it. That is what is going to get you to work out when you’re in pain and you see hardly any progress; that determination will keep you striving whilst others give up.
Healthy is tasty
My theory is, when we are children, we are rewarded with bad food. Then we are forced to eat the healthier options. We grow up believing that healthy, cannot be tasty. The issue is, when you are trying to eat healthy, you are going to struggle if every possibility seems unappetising.
Open your mind and don’t say good food is disgusting. Granted there is some stuff out there, that no matter how natural or plant-based it is, I would rather leave it in the ground! I did research and came across pages and pages of ideas for eating the food you love, with more nutrition. Pasta for example, I eat with homemade tomato sauce which takes likes 5 minutes to create.
Progress is always progress
Just because you had some time where you let your hair down and you went wild on the weekend, it doesn’t mean it is fine to give up your diet until whatever date you now set. I think everyone at some stage has gone, “well, I ate so bad on Friday, I may as well continue bad all weekend because it won’t make much difference now”.
Every time you put nutrients in your body, you take care of it. Every time you consume refined sugar, you affect it. Your body doesn’t cancel out food or clear itself whilst you enjoy your days off. It’s like throwing more mess into your already messy bedroom. You are only adding to the situation. When you get the craving or desire to eat better – take it. Don’t say no because it’s not Monday or the start of a new month.
To go with this new outlook, I want to share some quick tips that I figured help me:
- If you want to drink more water, keep it within arms reach. The same goes for fruit, nuts etc. And if you want to cut down on your chocolate intake, take that temptation away.
- Lemon, water and a hint of apple cider. This combination is supposed to help with digestion but it also wakes me up and in a weird way, I feel cleansed afterwards.
- Be honest with yourself. If you are not a morning person, do not try to wake up at crazy times to exercise unless you have to. Write a plan that can adjust easily into your daily living and if you are struggling, take baby steps.
- The little things add up. With the weather now warmer, it’s the perfect time to do more walking. I like to stretch while watching T.V.