Do any of our readers feel they have absolute control of life? If you personally know that life pilot, please share their email address. The reality is, despite our best efforts, life does happen and in the midst of its unpredictable antics, we still need to prioritize. Health and happiness should be at the tippy top of that list. This can easily become quite overwhelming.
“I work too much.” “I can’t afford it.” “I hate the gym.” “I don’t like vegetables.” “I can’t give up my (insert guilty pleasure).” Yes, I have heard all of those. Life is crazy, that is no secret. Priorities change and we have to shift focus, often at inconvenient times. It is the efforts we maintain that will set the stage for individual success. Stop stressing about a flawless diet and uninterrupted exercise routine. Let yourself live, but while you’re living, make all of your choices count.
“Good nutrition creates health in all areas of our existence. All parts are interconnected.” –T. Collin Campbell
Please allow me to share five helpful ways to fit health into your life and start your journey.
1. Don’t force it. If you don’t enjoy going to the gym, cancel your membership. Trust the Dietitian that kept a gym membership for years hoping I would eventually find myself going three times a week. Waste money is all I did. I cancelled my membership and started weekly yoga classes. I love going! There are many forms of physical activity. Don’t forget the power of a good old-fashioned walk in the sunshine. If you don’t like kale, or any other food that is heavily marketed as a “super food,” please don’t force yourself to eat it. There are too many exciting healthy foods out there; don’t waste your time forcing down things you don’t like. Just remember to always keep an open mind and try something new at least once.
NOTE: This approach should not be viewed as “giving up.” It is recognizing what works for you and changing direction.
2. Dump the garbage in the garbage and leave it there! You have to clean house. If one of your goals is to reduce your intake of “junk” food, then you have to remove it. If the junk is not there you won’t be tempted, your family won’t be tempted, and you will realize that you can live without it. Certain things should be reserved for “treats” to have every once in a while. Junk food doesn’t need to be a pantry staple.
3. Fit it in. Find a way to fit the change into your unique lifestyle. Healthy lifestyles do not come one-size-fits-all. There will be hurdles and learning curves. Family members may need coaxing, budgets may need to be adjusted -- it doesn’t happen overnight. Remember, the moment you decide to make a change is your golden ticket. It doesn’t matter how long it takes as long as you are working on it; slow progress is still progress.
4. Research, research, research. Perhaps you have heard this before, and you better believe it, not everything you hear or read is true. You should only trust reliable resources. Dietitians, nurses, physicians, etc, as well as websites, books and periodicals recommended by these same professionals. Take the time to find the experts. They have dedicated their lives to this for a reason. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Be wary of quick fixes and “magic” products.
5. Remember the power of real food. This one is simple. Reading the ingredient list is just as important as reading the nutrition label. The fewer ingredients, the better. Build your meals and snacks with food -- whole, real, food in its purest form. Shop the perimeter of a grocery store, explore farmers markets, try your hand at gardening. There is much fun to be had with food.
Regardless of where you start, happy and healthy should be at the top of your priority list. Happy and healthy. Lift the pressure and be proud of yourself for all efforts and positive changes.