When making changes for overall fitness and a healthier life there are many factors that comprise a lifestyle shift. You might see an immediate change by adjusting one factor but in order to maintain the momentum that leads to long-term results you must approach healthier living with a bigger-picture mentality that centers on an overall balance, not just individual details.
When it comes to appropriate nutrition, your body needs balance. Yes, that even includes fats and sugars. When you push toward the extremes, you either rob your body of critical nutrients, or you make it more likely that in a moment of tiredness or frustration you will swing wildly in the opposite direction and binge on foods that will sabotage your hard-earned accomplishments. The key is to eat a balanced diet weighted toward veggies and lean proteins but that maintains the right equilibrium for your body and your lifestyle. Work with a nutritionist to find out exactly what’s right for you.
Exercise that you don’t hate
You are aiming to make exercise part of your lifestyle, which means that it’s something you do regularly. Many people abandon their fitness goals because they choose to supplement their diets with exercise that they hate. Though there are many types of physical exercise that can produce quick results, in order to not abandon your fitness goals, you should love the exercise you do.
Here are some exercise options that can engage your spirit, not just your body:
- Cycling (street or mountain biking)
- Swimming (pools, oceans, or lakes)
- Martial arts
- Jumping rope
- Aerobics (Zumba, etc)
- Boot camps
Trying something new or changing your exercise routine every six months will expose you to new hobbies and can connect you with people who love to do these things, too. It will also allow you to work out new muscle groups and as you start to get more fit, you’ll find that new exercises might come easier to you.
Getting in mental shape
Self-criticism, anxiety and stress can inhibit your fitness goals by sidetracking you with futile thinking. Go a little easier on yourself. While you need enough momentum to not abandon your plans during tough times, you don’t want to add another level of stress to your daily life which might encourage you to turn to food or unhealthy habits as stress-relievers.
Do yourself a favor by using your willpower to trick your mind into believing that you’re actually enjoying your new healthier lifestyle then watch as the results start to speak for themselves. The old saying “Fake it ‘til you make it” has real merit. Do yourself a favor by changing your overall mindset.
When it comes to exercise, your mind drives your body. If your mind is resisting what’s happening to it, your body will follow suit. If you hate every moment of your new fitness workout, unless you’re the type of person whose energy is fueled by hatred, you might find that your body’s response to your new workout is sluggish.
Instead of thinking of yourself as “on a diet,” think of yourself as a “healthy eater.” You can even use light mental coercion to help you integrate new, healthier foods into your diet. Rather than resisting healthy greens, mentally say to yourself, “Yum, this kale is great!” While you might not find yourself pining for it at first, after a few weeks you might start to have kale cravings.
Finding the perfect mind/body/nutrition balance for a healthier lifestyle can seem daunting at first. But the main point to remember is to embrace the new changes that you’re undertaking and realize that each part of the system works in balance with everything else. When your personal system starts to work cohesively, that’s when true change starts to happen.