Tough Love: Take Pride in Yourself
I was about to write this article about all of the fun exercises you can do during commercial breaks while you are watching TV. I decided not to because after a quick online search, it seems every other trainer has already written on that topic. Then I thought I could write this fitness article on how easy it is to work out, exercise, get in shape, eat better and live longer. But that won’t work either.
Truth is, it isn’t easy. You have to want to improve yourself. You have to work at changing your habits. If all you do is exercise during the commercials of your favorite shows, it won’t be enough to get you to the best you can be. It’s a small start, but it’s not the “Golden Ticket”. There is no golden ticket. So, instead of the easy fix, let’s consider what it really takes to be your best, and give yourself a break, knowing you can get better every day with some sensible choices.
- Take Pride in yourself. We hear it over and over during June (pride month) and October (LGBT history/herstory month); but, I want you to be proud every day of who you are and how you live. Compete with yourself, not anyone else. If you compare yourself to Wonder Woman, or Zac Efron, or that hottie at the end of the bar last night, you are setting yourself up to feel bad. Whether you make smaller short-term goals, or a larger one, measure your success against yourself. Compare yourself today to yourself yesterday: Are you living better today, progressing toward your goals at a pace you like?
If you haven’t done anything today to make you feel proud, check the rest of this list of things you can do to improve your health and wellness.
Spoiler Alert: it’s a tough list with some hard truths.
Take this first step: Start out small, take on only one thing at a time, and remember ‘you’ll get by with a little help from your friends.’ Surround yourself with good ones.
2. Stop smoking. The single best thing you can do for your health. I smoked for 25 years, so I can assure you, it isn’t easy to stop, but keep trying and you’ll succeed. Hypnosis is what finally worked for me. If you don’t try, you certainly won’t be successful. Ask you doc about medication that can help, see a hypnotherapist, try the patch or gum, or suck on lollipops for a while to replace the oral fixation – whatever it takes.
A great first step for this goal: reduce the number of cigarettes you smoke per day
3. Exercise more. If you don’t exercise at all, this one is easy. The key to keeping your mobility and burning off calories is to move. Walk, run, lift weights, bike – any of these are great. If you’re not sure where to start, ask a trainer at your local gym or contact another fitness professional for advice. I am certainly available to you, www.JanClineFitness.com, as are many other experts.
A great first step here: walk a mile every day after dinner. Yes, do it every day. It only takes 20 minutes.
4. Drink less. Alcohol is mostly sugar and calories without much nutritional value. Beer, wine, liquor and the associated mixers will add to your weight and decrease your motivation. At the same time that you decrease daily alcohol, increase daily intake of water. Adding more ice to your cocktail doesn’t count.
A great first step for this goal: Consider fewer drinks per day, or few times drinking per week to help your waistline, sunshine.
5. Never eat drive-thru food again. Seriously. Do you even know what’s in fast-food? Lower quality everything, more calories and unhealthy fat. Find yourself headed for the drive thru? Stop at the deli counter at the grocery store instead and grab a salad or healthier sandwich. If it’s too difficult for you because you must have nuggets and fries – stop yourself. Do you really NEED them? You have choices. If you consume more food that is bad for you and very little food that is nutritious, you will gain weight and can damage your heart and other organs.
A great first step: Cut out one day of fast-food. Then cut out two days. Replace with healthy snacks and meals
6. Consider a multivitamin or other supplement. Consult your doc or pharmacist to find a good, basic multivitamin to take. It may not make you feel different today, but vitamins and mineral supplement can help you age better and keep your bones and brain stronger as you grow older.
A great first step here: Start taking a multivitamin.
7. Eat mostly vegetables and fruits. Whole foods, either raw or cooked in healthier ways is the way to go. A plant-based diet will help you today, tomorrow and for the rest of your life. There are numerous online resources for healthy eating and creative ways to prepare every vegetable under the sun. I recommend www.nutritionforalifetime.biz as a great resource for info and free classes on healthy food.
A great first step: consult a dietician or attend a healthy eating seminar or class.
8. Give up red meat. This is a challenging one for me – I love steak! But I eat it less often than I used to. Sub ground chicken for the ground beef in your chili or burgers. Increase beans, tofu and other protein sources in your diet. Just like other items on this tough-love list, you can start by changing just one day, incrementally, and then ramp up and make your bigger changes.
A great first step: Reduce the times per week that you eat red meat.
Jan Cline is a National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer based in Norfolk. Visit him online at www.JanClineFitness.com