Every year about this time, many people make resolutions to lose weight, get healthier, or start working out. And about a month from now, these resolutions will fall by the wayside. The problem with resolutions is that people set goals for the things they want to accomplish, but they fail to set the intentions for their goal and they don’t make a plan for how they are going to achieve that goal. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry said that “a goal without a plan is just a wish.” Just saying that you want to get healthy is not enough. WHY do you want to get healthy? And HOW do you plan to do it?
For years, I wanted so badly to lose weight. I didn’t have a good plan for how it was going to happen. And I didn’t have a solid intention of why I wanted to do it. Sure, I found workout plans I could do and I found diet plans I could follow. But I didn’t plan how I was going to make these things fit into my life. And sure, I wanted to lose weight so I didn’t hate the way I looked in the mirror, but I didn’t focus on the other benefits that made it more of a significant change in my life long term. When I finally reached my goal of losing 30 pounds, it was because I made lifestyle changes and focused on more than just losing weight and fitting into a smaller pants size.
Losing weight is a good goal, but it isn’t the best thing to focus on. If you’re mostly focused on losing weight, you might get discouraged when the scale stalls or isn’t falling as fast as you would like. If you’re mostly focused on losing weight, you might not be taking the healthiest avenue to reach your goals – this could be under-eating, taking unhealthy supplements, or over-exercising. If instead you focus on getting healthier, you’re more likely to reach your goals. If you’re focused on feeling better, on being able to walk up the stairs or run a mile without getting out of breath, or your focused on reversing a health issue that is caused by your unhealthy habits, it might be easier and more fulfilling for you to reach your goals.
Let me just say this: a smaller you does not necessarily equal a happier you. Just losing weight isn’t going to magically solve all your problems. You need to get healthy.
Since I’ve changed my lifestyle and I finally am living a much healthier life than I used to, I’ve found several reasons to get healthy that are more important than weight loss. If just the idea of losing weight isn’t enough to light your fire for getting healthy, maybe these reasons will be the push you need to get started. My top 3 reasons to get healthy that have nothing to do with weight loss are this:
- You deserve to live a healthy life. Self-care is the greatest act of self-love. This includes nourishing your body with healthy foods and spending 30 minutes a day 3-5 times a week doing some sort of physical activity. Being overweight puts pressure on your joints and leads to all sorts of physical health problems and diseases. Your mental health suffers from poor physical health as well. Food is medicine, but it can also be poison. Pay attention to how the things you are putting in your body make you feel. I bet a meal of lean protein, vegetables, and healthy carbs makes you feel a whole lot better than pizza, fast food, or heavy carbs/fats. Exercise releases endorphins and can help alleviate depression and anxiety. It’s good for your brain to get your heart rate up and sweat a little bit each day. Eating well and exercising has been linked to longer life, more productivity, and more happiness. You deserve good things, you deserve a long, happy life. Love yourself enough to take care of yourself.
- People are counting on you. You have people who love you who are counting you to be on this planet for a long time. You can’t control everything, but you can control whether or not you take care of your body. Your family, your kids, your grandkids, they all want you to be around to continue making memories. They want you to be able to get on the floor and play or run around the yard and chase them. They want you to feel good enough to have fun and be engaged with them. They want you to be happy, and healthy, and vibrant. Set a good example for people who are looking up to you by making your health a priority. Make sure that you’ll be around for all of the big moments. People are counting on you to be healthy and to take care of yourself.
- Making your health a priority will lead to improvement in other aspects of your life. Ever since I’ve made my health a priority, my mindset and my work performance have both improved as well. Setting a goal and achieving it improved my self-confidence and made me feel like I could accomplish big things in other areas of my life as well. Changing my mindset about food and exercise lead to a mindset change about personal growth and mental health. I didn’t just make my physical health a priority, I also focused on my mental health. I’ve made a habit of daily journaling, I’m trying to make a habit of daily meditation, and I’ve become better about setting boundaries and not settling for less than I deserve. All of these things came from putting my physical health at the top of my priority list and realizing that I didn’t have to live a life where I felt like crap all the time. The confidence and happiness you gain from living a healthier life will lead to more productivity, better relationships, and a more fulfilled existence.
If I could, I would convince and encourage every one to make their health a priority in 2019. But a lot of people don’t feel that it’s important and a lot of other people feel like they can’t make it happen. People…. It’s extremely important and you CAN make it happen. It doesn’t have to be a major diet and an intense exercise plan. But it does have to be a lifestyle change with consistency. A lifestyle where you focus on getting fruits and vegetables, and plenty of water, and lean protein and healthy carbs, where you limit your sugar intake, and don’t overeat, and indulge sometimes, and you move your body in some way at least 5 times a week, and you find a healthy balance. That’s what I wish for everyone. It can seem like a huge change to have to make, but if you start small and build upon habits it won’t be so bad. Here’s 5 small changes you can make to move yourself towards a healthier lifestyle:
- Start by changing your mindset. It’s not a diet. It’s not a punishment. It’s not a bad thing. It’s a positive change for your life. It’s going to improve the way you feel, the way you move, the way you live, and as an added bonus you’re probably going to lose weight. It’s going to be so freaking worth it. And you’re going to be so proud of yourself. But you have to talk about it in a positive way. Don’t focus on all of the things you can’t have, focus on all of the benefits you’re going to get by being healthier.
- Start by adding things instead of taking things away. Add in at least 64 oz of water the first week. The next week add in 30 minutes of exercise a few times a week. After that, add in an extra half hour-hour of sleep a night. Once you’ve started small and shown yourself you can stick to something, then take things away slowly. Cut back to one soda a day instead of three. Replace one meal a day with something healthy instead of drive-through fast food. Don’t try to completely change your whole diet or try to jump into a huge intense workout plan all at once. Small changes are easier to maintain and stay consistent with.
- Find things that you LIKE. Don’t force yourself to eat vegetables you hate. There are lots of healthy ways to cook vegetables and make them taste delicious. Find the ones you like and stick with them. Same with lean proteins and healthy carbs. It doesn’t have to be chicken, broccoli, and brown rice for every meal. Eating healthy does NOT have to be boring. And it doesn’t have to be complicated. Eat real food, not Lean Cuisines or other quick fixes that are actually full of chemicals and not real food. Meal prep helps a ton but you don’t have to do it. In the same vein, don’t force yourself to do workouts that you hate. Working out should be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be miserable. Walking, running, biking, dancing, yoga, playing basketball, jumping rope, lifting weights, swimming, the list goes on. There are so many ways you can get exercise rather than just getting on the elliptical or treadmill for 30 minutes if you hate those things. Start somewhere and find something you actually enjoy doing. And don’t be that person that says they “hate exercising” – suck it up, get out of that negative mindset, its good for you so find something you enjoy and get it done.
- Don’t focus on the long term. Don’t focus on how far you have to go. Don’t focus on how much it sucks. Consistency is the key to everything. Take it day by day and force yourself to find reasons to stay on track. For me, whenever I’m craving something super unhealthy I look at the nutrition facts – specifically at the fats, sugar, and the ingredients. I think about how I’m going to feel after I put that in my body. And I try to gauge whether or not satisfying the craving will be worth it. Sounds dumb but it works. Don’t give up on your long term goals for short term gratification. When you’re having a craving, get up and do something else. Drink a glass of water, stand up and stretch for 5 minutes, call a friend, watch a funny video, just do something to distract yourself. If you really can’t let it go, indulge a little bit but don’t overdo it. Most of the time though, the temporary satisfaction is not worth the disappointment you feel when you get off track from your goals. And when I don’t wanna eat something healthy, I look up the health benefits of whatever it is. Eating carrots? They’re full of vitamins that are good for you. I use to look this up and then tell myself the health benefits I was getting whenever I ate carrots until I liked them. Long story short – focus on the day ahead of you, focus on getting through one day without getting off track, and don’t let short term satisfaction keep you from achieving your long term goals.
- Be kind to yourself. You can’t start a healthy journey with thoughts in your head like “I’m so fat” or “How did I let myself get like this.” Instead, be kind to yourself and keep in mind that getting healthy is supposed to be a positive journey, not a negative punishment. You will have slip-ups, you will fall off for a day or a week or maybe even a month, but be kind to yourself. Jump back in with a renewed positive mindset. Don’t look in the mirror with disgust, but with respect that you have the courage to take a step down a healthier path. Look in the mirror and tell yourself that you are strong, that you are disciplined, and that you can do any freaking thing you want to. It might sound stupid but seriously look in the mirror and think positive thoughts about yourself. Give yourself some grace, be kind to yourself, and keep going no matter what.
If you have a goal to get healthier in 2019, I hope you’ll sit down and focus on why you want to get healthy and I hope you’ll make a plan for how you’re going to achieve your goal. I’m here to be your biggest cheerleader and encourage you to make all the good decisions. Life is meant to be enjoyed, and its more enjoyable when you feel good and are comfortable in your own skin. All of the food that you enjoy can still be enjoyed in moderation and you don’t have to give up every thing to get where you want to be. You can achieve a balanced lifestyle. You can do it, I believe in you.
Share with a friend who wants to feel better, look better, and make a healthy change in this new year. Shoot me a message if you want any advice, encouragement, or just want to let me know that this impacted you and as always, thanks for reading.