Most people espouse the ideal of living a ‘clean’ and healthy life and when our workouts fall by the wayside and our dinner comes out of a can, box or fast-food window, we start to wonder “is it me? My lack of willpower?”
Before settling into a bout of self-loathing, consider this: our environment largely influences whether we succeed or fail. The modern advances of technology enable us to be constantly connected and productive, but they do espouse a decrease in home-cooked food and body movement. The typical American food environment – full of processed, convenient options – provides ample opportunity to join the legions of the sick, overweight/obese, and the depressed.
But there is another way, one that involves being more peaceful, vital, and resilient. Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Consider the control you have in establishing your home environment. You have tremendous influence over what to buy and bring into your kitchen. When you expunge the trans-fats, excess sugary foods, and the undesirable color additives (i.e. Yellow #5, Red #40) you can often replace the crackers, candies, breakfast cereals, and chips with healthier options. When the craving for a soda strikes and it’s not available, there are two choices: have another beverage (water!) or make the journey to obtain one. Which leads into…
- Make your inertia or laziness work FOR you. A client utilized this idea and experienced weight loss without, as she put it, “hating life.” We created a plan, knowing her tendencies, to include healthier foods and crowd out the others. One guideline was to eat a small bowl of strawberries and, if she wasn’t satisfied, then she could have the desired junk food. Most of the time, she didn’t want to want the latter enough to have to eat fruit first, so the junk food intake declined.
- Create a fitness-friendly environment. A key part of this is knowing yourself and your tendencies. If you like having the treadmill in your bedroom because it’s easier to roll out of bed and get started, move the treadmill there. If, deep down, you know the machine will become a glorified clothes hanger in your bedroom but will get more usage if parked in front of the family room television, that’s where the treadmill needs to go. The same goes for weights and other workout equipment.
- Add in more vegetables! They contain vitamins, minerals, and various other components that will give you health and energy. You can also make them flavorful in a green smoothie, collard wraps, or in a turkey chili.
- There is no such thing as a perfect diet. Every single person has their own needs; depending on their ancestry, body type, and activity level. What’s medicine for one is poison for another. Instead of deciding for convenience, or what worked for your friend’s weight loss, test your own body to see exactly what you need to be healthy.
It’s true, you’ll have to be a bit of a rebel as you reclaim your birthright of vitality. Your decisions, when at the grocery store or out to eat with friends, may come up against all popular tendencies. At first, what feels like a huge act of willpower will transition into ease and habit.
Use the practical suggestions above to start your health transformation. Don’t wait until tomorrow; begin now. Reduce overwhelm and get yourself a nutrition & health guide.