I have had a lot of people ask about what keeps me motivated, consistently making healthy choices, and on the track of health that I’ve made my lifestyle…so, I thought I’d address the topic.
My favorite (insert a GREAT deal of sarcasm here) things that people say to me are similar to the following…
- “You are so lucky to be born with legs like that.”
- “I wish I just only liked healthy food like you do. It’s not fair that you don’t crave unhealthy stuff. That must be SO much easier for you.”
- “You are so lucky to have all the time in the world to work out. I bet if I had all the time you did, I’d be healthy too.”
- And one of my personal favorites…”If only I was naturally fit like you are. You are really lucky to have those genetics.”
And on and on…you get the point. Now, let me just clear some things up real fast: I’m not writing this post to pat myself on the back, nor to say that I’ve reached some picture of fitness that is to be strived for. I still have LOTS of room for improvement & I have goals that I’m continually working for. I’m writing this post because I want to clear up some misconceptions about, “being fit,” and living a healthy lifestyle in general.
No, I was not just “born with legs like that,” I don’t “only like health food,” I certainly don’t have, “all the time in the world to workout,” & I am not just blessed with “fit” genetics. All of these things couldn’t be further from the truth actually.
Making exercise a habit is a choice. I hate to break it to you people, but most people are busy. Everyone could come up with some excuse or another as to why they don’t have time to workout on one day or another. Just to put things in perspective; I work full time most mornings I start 6 AM. When i’m not doing private training sessions with clients, running boot camp classes, and working with distance clients…I am writing programs, creating meal plans, answering an influx of questions, researching, and working on new healthy recipes. I’m telling you this so you understand that despite my schedule, I CHOOSE to work out 6 days a week. Some days I LOVE my workouts. It’s therapeutic, it feels awesome, and I feel accomplished. Other days. I feel tired, it sounds hard, and I’m not as thrilled about it. HOWEVER, I have made it a habit. I have learned something. Exercise is like medicine for me. I need the daily movement. I think most people are the same way, or would be if they would get into the habit. I’m not saying you have to be %100 hard core all day, every day. I am saying that making time and effort for exercise is an absolute choice, and one that is worth making.
If you want results, you have to put in the time. I laugh at those shirts I see that say, “I just woke up like this,” because I think some people think that about those who are in shape. No. Actually, I didn’t just wake up like this…it’s not genetics. Unfortunately, society has allowed this notion that “genetics” is to blame for their weight gain, or their lack of muscle tone, etc. This is a misconception. Science actually will tell you that while your genetics will determine WHERE you gain weight, or where your body fat is distributed…but every choice YOU make for good or for bad is what is determining how you look/how healthy you are. Your decision to get up and work out or to skip your workout for some TV determines that. Your decision to eat an unhealthy meal vs your decision to eat a healthy meal determines that. I really try to teach my clients to take control of their decisions, own up to the truth and reality of their situation, and move forward making positive decisions…realizing that THEY are in complete control of how they look and feel. Or at least they can be. It is a choice. The truth, is that you are not just going to wake up like that. You have to wake up, and CHOOSE to be that way.
Eating healthy is also a choice. I get asked all the time about if I ever just binge on crappy food. There are definitely occasions where I will eat things that I don’t consider, “healthy.” If you know me, you know how much I LOVE candy. I love sugar. I love cereal. I love ice cream. I love all sorts of foods that taste delicious. I’m a human after all. However, I really do choose to limit the intake of crap. The truth is, I’ve learned that eating whatever I want doesn’t bode well for me. I CHOOSE to eat healthy regularly. Truthfully, I also genuinely really do like vegetables, salads, grilled chicken, and other healthy options. I was the weird kid in elementary school that brought bagged veggies & salads for lunch. Weird, I know. However, just because I like healthy foods, doesn’t mean I don’t like the unhealthy stuff. I actually like it quite a bit.
So, how do I stay motivated? How do I consistently make healthy choices? I don’t have some healthy super power. Wouldn’t that be awesome though? Creating a healthy lifestyle really is a possibility for everyone if you really want it. The following tips may be helpful if you are wanting to create that healthy lifestyle for yourself.
- Start small. You might not be able to change everything all at once, but you can certainly start with one thing. Pick something to focus on: cut out the sugar, increase your veggie intake, stop eating out at unhealthy restaurants, drink more water, set a goal to workout for 30 mins every day, etc. Once you’ve mastered one thing, add in another positive habit. Establish habits, not just blips at attempts to change.
- Be consistent. One week of making good decisions is awesome, but most likely won’t show a ton of results right away. You have to be consistent for a while in order to see changes. Unfortunately, being consistent during the week can even be blown by three days of unhealthy habits on the weekends. Consistent…means consistent all the time.
- Find support. Get a workout buddy, enlist a significant other in a challenge, get your family on board, join a gym, find a group fitness class that you love….having a positive support group can be life changing when it comes to sticking with something.
- Make eating healthy taste good. You don’t have to dread all of your meals because they are “healthy” foods. Find ways to flavor & prepare foods that taste good to you. Don’t be afraid to try new options.
- Realize that eating out & eating healthy actually can be in the same sentence. It’s all in what you choose.
- Stop thinking that your current state is “just the way you are.” Change is always possible. It just depends on how willing you are to work at something.
- Make healthy a habit. One thing that has helped me consistently make positive choices is the fact that the changes that I have made are a lifestyle, not a 30 day program I’m gritting my teeth through…which will be followed by a lot of binging. Choose to live your life a different way. You may surprise yourself at how well you adapt.
- Do something to move every day. Even if it’s small. Your body will appreciate you for it.
- Realize that you aren’t just going to wake up like that…and that’s ok. However, you can wake up and choose to be “like that,” whatever that means. Fit people choose to be fit. They work at it. It’s also important to understand that “Fit,” isn’t a size, or a weight, or a certain shape…it’s an effort and a lifestyle. It’s a possibility for everyone.
- Consistency allows for more freedom. I realize that consistency sounds restrictive, but it’s actually quite the opposite. Because I am as consistent as possible the majority of the time, my body allows for treats every now and then, days off when I need them, and it doesn’t send me flying of course. I feel like this is the level of fitness that most people want to reach, a level where you feel great, where you are fueling your body well, where exercise is a habit, but where there is also a little wiggle room….where you can still live!
So, no…you probably won’t ever just, “wake up like that,” with no effort, but you surely can wake up and CHOOSE to be whoever you want to be! You have to find the place where your motivation comes from consistently making healthy choices.