What is stopping you from becoming healthy?
That’s a big question, one that I run into all the time in one form or another. This post is really about how to eliminate the obstacles to becoming healthy. I’ll run over some of the reasons people give for not becoming healthy, some of the fears, and some of the methods you can use to turn your life around.
First let’s examine why people delay making healthy choices. In the United State and many western societies, food choices are both a blessing and a curse. Food permeates our society and is considered a staple in any gathering. Social pressure and fear of confrontation are common reasons for making bad choices. Ignorance of the products are another, much of the food in our grocery stores today is made up of so many ingredients and chemicals that it’s difficult to decide what is truly healthy and what isn’t. Many people associate food with emotion and use it as a buffer or safe haven. From our earliest childhood, most people see food as part of the family structure and thus subconsciously associate it with safety and happiness. Some people have just fallen into a pattern of laziness and decide that the same food choices they made when they were active can be continued even though they burn hundreds of calories less per day, slowly packing on tens (and in some cases over one hundred) pounds of fat. These causalities and many more contribute to our health problems.
The first thing I’ll talk about when we think of turning our life around is knowledge. Ignorance is our biggest enemy, understanding what effect food choices have on our lives is a big part of being successful in our life. You don’t need to be Jillian Michaels every day and make perfect choices all the time, you just need an awareness of what your choices are doing to you, and most of the time make the correct choice leaving a little wiggle room for those days when you feel you need to behave badly (and I consciously chose the syntax in the previous statement).
Think about the paragraph on reasons for bad food choices, you’ll notice that all but 1 talk about food, as opposed to exercise. Yes exercise is important for good health, but the real driver will be food. You can work out every day of your life, but if you eat terrible food, you’ll still be unhealthy. I know plenty of tradesmen that work very hard physically, every day, but still have cholesterol, heart issues, arthritis, bad skin, and fatigue and weight issues. Why? Because you can’t exercise away bad eating habits.
So, to the question at the top of the page. What is stopping YOU from becoming healthy? I can’t really answer that for you, but I can tell you that trying to view the whole situation all at once is a recipe for disaster. People see what they want to be, and feel so far from the goal that they don’t think they can do it. Don’t fall into that trap. Pick one or two things you’d like to do and do them, make one small change in your diet, let that settle in for a few weeks, and then pick another. For example, say one of your bad choices is a bag of chips when you eat your lunch, cut out the chips, maybe find an apple or some carrots. Sure it isn’t the same, but I’m pretty sure that in a week or so of doing it, you’ll forget you even cared about it. After you feel confident in that small victory, find another thing, do that, and rack up your victories. Soon enough you’ll have a solid base to feel proud of, and don’t be shy about letting others know. It’s ok to feel excited about small victories. When I turn down a bad food, I congratulate myself all the time, it’s a bit of a struggle sometimes to do the right thing, but that’s when you should be most proud of yourself. And “I forgot” should never be an excuse. If you tend to give up or not follow through, remind yourself, put reminders in your calendar with pop-ups. If you don’t have a calendar, go right now to Google, sign up for an account (it’s free and takes like 3 minutes), and put reminders in every two weeks to make one small change to your diet and exercise habits. Remembering is NOT an excuse.
Lastly, don’t let yourself make excuses. If you have a busy life, tell yourself that’s not an reason, if you have a child at home and feel like you can’t carve out 30 minutes to exercise, that’s not a reason (I mentor plenty of ladies that have 2 or 3 rug rats running at their feet while their doing the 30 day shred in their living room), if you have “picky eaters” at home and they complain, look them straight in the eye and explain that this is how it is, don’t give them the chance to dissent, it’s about your life, and it’s important. If you just “don’t like the gym” well tough luck, either get over it, or find alternate ways to work out. Excuses are just coping mechanisms, remove the excuses and face yourself in the mirror, you’ll end up being healthier, both mentally and physically for it. No pill, surgery, or fad diet will fix you; only changing the way you live will do that.