Happy New Year everyone! I can’t believe it’s 2015.
We all know that the new year often brings New Year’s Resolutions. Often people commit to becoming a healthier person. With that comes the diets and the exercise.
A commitment to become a healthier person is wonderful.
What I often see is the folks who start off their goals with a bang. Literally! There are a ton of people who will hit the gym for several hours; doing to much, to heavy, to long…
While I get that people want to see results immediately! This “all or nothing,” or “no pain, no gain” approach is not the way to go! You’ll burn out very quickly or end up not being able to move the next day.
Instead, adopt a gentler and proven approach.
1. Don’t go for the most restrictive diet. You won’t last long. It is better to make “healthier choices” verses being on a diet. Diets are temporary so as soon as you get off it, what happens?!?! You gain the weight back. Sometimes you even add extra pounds.
A. Perhaps, you take this approach.
– Clean out your refrigerator and pantry of unhealthy choices. Get rid of the soda, including the diet varieties. Get rid of the processed boxed foods. Avoid the fast food restaurants.
– Limit eating out. Buy a healthy cookbook and recreate some of those recipes. Maybe buy one of those glass drink jars, fill with ice water and some concoction of fruit to flavor your water.
– Another great option might be to have a healthy company deliver organic fruits and vegetables to your door. I highly recommend “Door-to-Door Organics” if it is available where you live. Or you can visit local Farmer’s Markets. You’d be surprised as to how much cheaper the Farmer’s Market is compared to your local grocery store.
B. Before you start, take some measurements. Try stepping on a scale, use a tape measure, try on to snug clothes, get your blood pressure and cholesterol checked. A lot of these measurements can be handled by either you or a friend. Record these baseline measurements. Then, check your measurements in 30 day increments.
2. Visit group fitness classes. These often are no additional cost or low cost. For instance at the Air Force Academy Air Force Base where I teach, classes cost just $3 dollars. If you attempt to regularly attend, you’ll see results, plus you just might meet a new fitness friend.
A. I find having “set class times” like an appointment works better than the “I’ll fit it in my day” approach.
B. Often, gyms and studios offer basic classes for the month of January. Take advantage of these.
C. I know I will be teaching all basic classes this month with my aerobics and yoga classes. I feel this is a great opportunity to have your newbies learn the moves or poses and its a great time for your regulars to explore within theirselves.
3. Have workout buddy. You have the same goals and you’ll support each other throughout your journey.
4. Purchase an Activity Tracker. I have a Fitbit I regularly wear. One thing it impacts is your activity. Often, when I check mine, I’ll see I’m 500 or less steps from a goal like 10,000 steps. The result is that I’ll walk around my house until I reach the goal which can occur in 5 minutes or less of continuous walking.
A. Newbies should set small goals when first using an Activity Tracker. Perhaps you set a goal of 5,000 steps. Once you regularly reach your goal, add 500 steps and work on your new goal. This way isn’t so intimidating.
5. Clean the clutter out of the house. Believe it or not, clutter can negatively influence a person’s attempts at wellness. Again, start small. Choose a single room to tackle.
6. Definitely include mind-body practices such as yoga and meditation. Stress can help you pack on the pounds.
A. Try a restorative yoga version at least once a week. You can also include the movement based yoga ones too.
B. Meditation’s goal is to calm the mind. A constant active mind is stressful. (I’ll write more on this).
Do you know the story about the hare and the tortoise racing? Who won?
Incorporate these gentler and mindful approaches for a slow but successful approach to wellness. You’ll end up making a lifestyle change. You’ll lose the weight and influence blood pressure and cholesterol measurements. Plus, studies have demonstrated time and time again that the people who are most successful are those who make small changes over the long term.
P.S. The wise tortoise won the race taking the slow and steady approach.