There was a time where I was eating unhealthy for a while and couldn’t remember the last time I stepped foot in he gym or went for a jog.
I kept telling myself “oh, this cupcake won’t hurt; it’s just one cupcake and I’ll burn it off at the gym tomorrow”. Does this sound familiar? The problem was that tomorrow never came and I got stuck in this cycle of telling myself that everything was going to be ok.
But it’s not OK – not when you know that what you are doing is wrong, and is the complete opposite of what you know you should be doing.
The combination of junk food and lack of exercise starts to accumulate and soon it turns into a pattern; an unhealthy pattern. After following this pattern for a while, I started feeling self-conscious of my body and suddenly clothes did not fit as they used to before. I started to wonder: “Could it be…?
Your damn right it could! I started to gain unhealthy weight.
Suddenly, I decided it was time to make a change and get back on the healthy track. I started going to the gym and eating somewhat healthy, but after a week of execution, I suddenly stopped and went back to my old habits, my comfort zone.
But WHY? It’s the question that has been boggling my mind after so many attempts at incorporating a healthy lifestyle, only to fail miserably.
After doing a lot of experimentation, research, reading, talking to friends about healthy lifestyles I have come to the conclusion that there are 5 processes involved in the creation of a healthy lifestyle.
These 5 processes have helped me stay on track for the past year and I want to share them with you. Hopefully, they can help you come up with the best strategy to achieve this very critical goal- to be mentally and physically healthy.
1. MINDSET SHIFT.
This is probably the most critical process that you will need to master if you want to succeed not only at incorporating a healthy lifestyle, but at anything that you set out to accomplish.
You Need to Prepare your Mind for SUCCESS.
Take out the mental garbage.
The mental garbage is everything that’s keeping you from concentrating on what really matters.
“I don’t deserve this. I’ve tried so many times and I’m only going to fail again”; “I’m not good enough”; “I feel disappointed of myself”; “it’s too late”; ALL GARBAGE; THROW IT OUT!!!
Before you ever step foot in the gym, you need a checkup from the neck up.
A fit, sharp mind is the foundation on which every major accomplishment is built. When you are mentally fit, you turn problems into opportunities. You are more likely to maximize the relationships you’re in and less likely to succumb to depression, anxiety, and stress once you realize that your future is up to you.
DARE TO BE GREAT. KNOW THAT YOU DESERVE TO BE THE BEST VERSION OF YOURSELF.
I could write about all the things that know would make the mind-shift process work, but let’s be real, you wouldn’t do half of them and I understand. It’s difficult to incorporate too many changes and habits at once, and the more changes you try to incorporate at once, the higher the probability for failure.
The one thing I would recommend for you to do immediately and achieve this mind-shift is:
CHANGE YOUR ENVIRONMENT
Action Step: Contact 5 friends, colleagues, people who have already achieved your goal by email, phone, text, social media, poke, go to where they hang out, and reach out to them with whatever means you have.
Tell them your story and why you are reaching out to them, you will be surprised by the results.
Check out Dawn Archer and Angelica Recaido’s amazing inspirational stories and how they transformed their bodies and lives by improving their overall lifestyle habits, beginning with a mindset shift.
The presence and quality of the people you hang out with makes a tremendous difference in your results.
Go to meetup.com, choose a topic of your interest, and go where people hang out. Even if you are the quiet one, eventually, just being around people who share your same interests and passion will rub off on you and you will not only make new friends, but also get new perspective on things.
Whenever I go running in a group, I find myself running faster and doing a better pace than when I go running by myself. Why? That’s the magic of your surroundings; all you have to do is show up.
What? You thought the next step was working out? Not so fast my friend. Before we get working on your body, we first have to work for your body. You need to get the right fuel so you can perform at your best.
I love to eat, but eating whatever you want and hoping to improve your lifestyle is useless.
Eating to perform doesn’t mean depriving yourself indefinitely of the things you love. Discipline, moderation, and knowledge of what you eat and how food works are the keys to a healthy lifestyle.
What are the steps involved in optimum nutrition?
- Knowledge of what foods to buy and their purpose
- Grocery Shopping
If you combine these steps, it can get overwhelming, especially for someone who is just starting out on their healthy lifestyle journey.
The reason most people fail at this is because it involves incorporating too many changes at once and also not having the right no-excuse-system in place.
Think about it. You have to know what to buy, where to buy it, how to cook it (recipes) drive to grocery store, pick up groceries, pay, get groceries in your car, drive back, take groceries out, sort them out, prepare the groceries for cooking, cook, and finally eat; phew, I’m exhausted myself from just naming all these steps.
Action step: There are two things you can do here, outsource it or do it yourself. Outsourcing is more convenient since you don’t have to do anything as you will have the meals delivered to you for a price, but there will be no excuse “oh I didn’t have time to cook”.
If you enjoy cooking, maybe you should consider having your grocery shopping outsourced so you can concentrate on cooking, which is the part you enjoy the most.
For those of you who want to take ownership of this process completely, here’s a little guide on what to buy at the grocery store; stay away from processed and canned food as much as possible.
Whether you outsource or not, make sure you have the right system in place like doing the grocery shopping and meal preparation on a Sunday for the rest of the week. It works for me.
The most important change you can make when starting out in your nutrition is breakfast.
If you are trying to lose weight, you may think that passing up breakfast will help you shed pounds, but missing this meal actually increases your risk of obesity.
Studies show that eating breakfast tends to make you less hungry later in the day preventing overeating and turning to quick fixes like candy bars, chips, and other vending machine junk.
I really like Tim Ferriss’ approach on having 30 grams of protein within 30 minutes of waking up and the reason behind it is that protein helps keep up our metabolic consumption, helps increase our feeling of satiation, spreads out the energy we get over a longer period of time, and contains less usable calories per gram than either carbs or fats.
Action Step: EAT YOUR BREAKFAST, NO EXCUSES!!!
Here is a sample of high protein breakfast:
2 Chicken sausages
3 eggs/egg white
Cup of black beans
Olive oil (optional)
I know it seems like a lot, but it only takes about 15 minutes to prepare and fills you up to take on your morning full charge!
Give it a try and let me know if it works for you or not; it works for me
After you get your mind in the right place and have the necessary nutrients to perform at your best, then you can incorporate a workout that will get you outside your comfort zone and challenge your body pushing the limits to get the results you really want.
For most beginners, a whole body workout is recommended with exercises that are between 12 to 15 reps per set. This will get your body acclimatized to lifting and prepare you for the hard but effective workouts to come.
I will explain more about workouts and how you can incorporate a workout that best suits your lifestyle in later posts, but for now just know that it’s important to get your body moving and acclimatized to working out by gradually incorporating physical activity. After all, once you get the nutrition portion optimized, it’s time to burn it off and put it to good use.
Action step: JUST DO IT. JUST GET STARTED.
Go for a 30-minute walk/run/jog, get your body moving and rocking.
Here’s an 8 minute micro-workout for you:
50 feet-on-air crunches
50 jump squats
1 mile walk/jog
Get creative. You don’t need a gym to workout and you are only limited by your creativity.
So I have the mindset, optimum nutrition and workout plan, I know what I have to do, and a week into my healthy lifestyle program, guess what happens? I QUIT! And this comes with no surprise since it’s basic human nature. When we feel that there are no consequences to step back into our comfort zone, we usually fall back into it and this is why so many people are always starting over.
So, how can we overcome the perpetual starting over syndrome?
You have to be hold accountable for your results, good and bad. For me, it has always worked to have an accountability partner like a friend or family member where there will be a reward for achieving your goal or a punishment for coming up short.
For example, I once made a $100.00 bet with a friend that I would go for a 3 mile run 5 times a week, guess what? Yeah, I missed a day and I had to give him $100.00, OUCH that was painful.
The following week, I completed the 5 times a week 3 mile run and ended up keeping my $100.00, and in case you’re wondering, no, he never missed a day.
My point is that when there’s something at stake where you can end up losing or doing something very uncomfortable and painful, you will think twice before slacking off.
Action Step: Make a bet with a friend or family member that if you don’t accomplish X by such date, you will lose or do something uncomfortable and painful. This will keep you in check.
I love to sleep my friends and if it’s up to me, I can sleep for a good 10 hours. Oh yes!!! But duty calls and I only allow myself to do that on very special occasions.
On a regular basis, I can function with 6-8 hours of sleep.
The amount of sleep that you get is contingent on your current schedule, personal preferences, and level of daily stress.
If I feel extremely tired during the day, I take a quick 20-30 minute rest in afternoon and I have found that it makes me sharper and more alert.
Action Step: Aim to get between 6-8 hours of good quality sleep every day, but again, this is very personal and it varies by individual.
The combination of the right mindset, nutrition and workout plan, accountability, and sleep will definitely set you on the right track to achieving a healthy lifestyle. Why? Because you deserve to become the best version of yourself. What’s at stake? Your Life. Your Reputation. The impact you can have on others.
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