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Your roadmap to better health isn’t easy, but it is possible and worth more than everything you have. Have you ever heard the saying, “Health is wealth”? Or how about, “If you don’t have your health, you have nothing.” There is truth in those sayings. Just ask anyone who has experienced a life-threatening emergency or has had a life-altering and debilitating illness or injury. In these situations, fear becomes real and it takes some people those very instances to wake up to the reality that when their health is under attack, they lose out on many important things in life. It’s incredibly frustrating and difficult to manage life in these states not just physically but also emotionally. You might be someone who is able to imagine this.

Or maybe you’re starting to get warning signs. You’ve just been told by your doctor that you need to lose weight or that you have pre-diabetes. Have you just learned that your cholesterol is really high and have been told to change your lifestyle habits? Are you like most people and have thought once or twice about working on your health more than you have been, but haven’t found success yet?

Wait, are you the guy who recently joined the gym or thought about making some changes recently, which is also why you’re reading this article right now?! You may have made some new goals due to the full moon or an upcoming event…if you’ve done this before you might notice that after a few weeks or months of giving it a good try, you’ve found a lot of other things to do besides the work you had started. Does this sound familiar to you? This is why having a well thought out roadmap will almost always guarantee success.

Roadblocks Will Happen

Roadblocks will show up when we least want or expect them. Whether it’s a family emergency, a change in schedules at work, an injury, an illness, or financial reasons – dealing with whatever throws you off your path is the key to being successful at change. It is important to have tools ahead of time to deal with possible roadblocks and put in place a support system that will have your back when times are the toughest. You really can be the human you imagine. It will take hard work and you will have setbacks. But how bad do you really want it? Let’s find out!

Nutrition and Regular Exercise Go Hand-in-Hand

The first thing you need to know is that nutrition and regular exercise go hand in hand.  If you already work on eating healthier you may think that exercise isn’t as important. If you tend to work on exercise and do nothing about your nutrition, you’re doing it all wrong.  While changing your diet can successfully help you lose weight and body fat, you can actually be “skinny” without enough skeletal muscle mass to actually be healthy. Beginning an exercise program but continuing to eat unhealthily isn’t going to bring you much success.

Nutrition: Fad Diets and Processed Foods Aren’t A Good Idea

Fad diets such as The Master Cleanse, The Cabbage Soup Diet, The Zone Diet, The Macrobiotic Diet, The Raw Food Diet, The Alkaline Diet, The Blood Type Diet, or the HCG Diet either have no scientific proof backing them or have been proven to work for a brief period of time but are so restrictive that you’re right back to your old habits again.  These diets aren’t very healthy for the long term nor are they sustainable. Also, I need to mention that fad diets usually have excessive caloric restrictions which makes them not recommended unless under a doctors care.  Does your doctor recommend fad diets? She shouldn’t.  

There are a lot of people for a variety of reasons that have chosen diets that consist of quick-serve restaurants and packaged processed foods which tend to be high in sugar, unhealthy fats, high sodium content, chemicals, and unnatural additives.  All of which are the leading causes of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases that are plaguing our country. In case you’ve already guessed, this kind of nutrition is not very good for maintaining a healthy life. Consider fresh whole foods instead.

Regular Exercise: Most People Have Never Been Taught How To Properly Exercise Their Bodies

Exercise is something as kids we either learned at gym class or in school athletics.  Many people that walk into a gym have never been taught to properly exercise their bodies.  Often times, I see people with the best intentions and even the most fortitude working very hard at strength training, but in all the wrong ways.  It breaks my heart how hard they work because eventually, they hit a roadblock, which is either an injury or that they don’t see the results they want with the effort they have put into it. Taking the time to learn proper techniques shouldn’t seem out of the realm of tasks that you should consider.  One can educate themselves, take some courses, or you could hire a professional trainer to assist you. Your physical safety and your results while exercising actually depend on this quite a bit. 

You Need A Starting Point

As I’ve begun to tell you how to get through some roadblocks, I realize I need to take a few steps backward.  In order for you to make a move into a new direction, you must first determine what your current health is and why you want to change something. You need to know your starting point before you can take any further steps. Makes sense right?

First, Ask Yourself These Questions:

  • How willing and ready am I to make my health a priority and why is it now?
  • What do I have to give up to make the changes I imagine?
  • Do I have any obstacles that I can address before they happen?  List them.
  • What do I have to gain by making changes?
  • Will I lose anything if I don’t make any changes?
  • Who do I want to make these changes for?
  • Do I have a support network and who will I be counting on to hold me accountable?

Some of your answers may include:

  • Your ability to do activities that you want to do.
  • Changing the quality of your life.
  • Avoiding the financial costs of illness including prescriptions and added symptoms.
  • Being the best for yourself and your loved ones.
  • Playing with your children and keeping up with them.
  • Being active and doing fun things like riding a bike, swimming, running, and playing games.
  • Wanting to become strong enough to save yourself and/or others in case of an emergency.

You Are Now Ready To Determine Your Goals

You’ve done your soul searching and found your starting point. Now you are able to discuss these things with your trainer, and together you will make SMART goals.  These are specific, measured, achievable, relevant and timely declarations that you wish to achieve. Write them down and discuss with your trainer how you can get to the finish line with success under your belt. 

You’ll Need A Comprehensive Fitness Plan

If you decide to work with a trainer, you’ll want someone who will write a comprehensive fitness plan that includes weekly, monthly, quarterly, and possibly yearly benchmarks based on your needs and goals. You should receive support and accountability from them. They should guide you through the program and show up for you.  The goal is to make your fitness a habit that you will continue long after you work with them. Your job is to take ownership of your goals and use your new knowledge and support to help you achieve them. To succeed, you will need to take ownership and show up for yourself to not expect a trainer to do all the hard work. 

A Nutrition Plan To Guide You

You also need a nutrition plan that guides you, will educate you, and help you to understand the what, how, and why’s of what you’re eating.  You’ll need to determine how many calories you need to maintain your weight and how much you need to either decrease or increase it. Figure out your macro percentages and then dial in your intake as your body responds. 

A nutritionists job is to take the complication and uncertainty out of your meals. If you know some basics of cooking, then you’re ahead of the game in this department. It may turn out that cooking is impossible for you. It’s okay, there are ways of dealing with this! Cooking on one or two days in large batches can be a time saver. There are also numerous meal prep services that either help you learn cooking as you go or deliver pre-made meals that you only need to warm up! You’ll want to look into the options you have. There shouldn’t be any excuses that you can’t find an answer for. How bad do you want this again?

Don’t Forget Stress Relief…

Most people forget to add this next part to their programs.  This includes stress relief, life enjoyment and continued growth and learning which are all important to your health.  If you’ve never learned how to destress yourself or don’t make it a priority, it will eventually lead to health problems. Dealing with stress in your life is just as if not more important than everything I’ve mentioned thus far and the most overlooked aspect of good health. 

You must find a way to balance your time, energy, and attention so as to not overwhelm yourself and others but also for your sanity and overall health. Our brains are part of our bodies and whether we think it affects our health or not, you need to know that it most certainly does! Find someone who is trained to help you in this area and will add this to your goals if it’s an area that you need. 

More Obstacles To Consider

Do you remember writing down the obstacles that you thought might show up along your path?  You may run into these obstacles and find others you hadn’t even thought of. You may have thought very deeply and realized that you may have some addictions or even a possible eating disorder. 

Sadly, there are more eating disorders than the ones we often hear about (anorexia, bulimia or binge eating). These include, emotional eating, participating in multiple fad diets, childhood habits that restrict types or groups of foods, food habits that interfere with eating with others (overly picky), and nutrient deficiencies due to not eating a variety of healthy foods are all examples of common disorders.   

Here’s another thing. I have clients whose largest issues involve eating out too often or that they enjoy drinking alcohol frequently.  They can’t really imagine how they would give any of that up. The good news is, you don’t usually have to give up all of your habits if you learn to use moderation as well as learning how to eat more healthily when traveling and going out to restaurants.  Just learning what alcohol does to your body and how unhealthy most restaurant food is can make you think twice about drinking a lot or eating unhealthy menu items too often. I have information to pass on to you that can help you make healthier decisions.

Body Image Beliefs

Also important is to look closely at what your beliefs about what a person “should” look like and how you feel about the way you look.  Ask yourself why you believe these thoughts. Where did you get these beliefs? Are your beliefs based on science or in what others have told you? What is actually the healthiest way to “look” and are you healthy if you’re skinny, curvey, or have a lot of muscles?  Do you know the answers to these questions? Be honest and ask yourself some hard questions.

Be forgiving of yourself if you are someone who has realized that you’re not in love with yourself for everything that you are.

The truth is, you are magnificent no matter what you look like!!  What IS important is your health and your ability to enjoy your life on earth. I am trained to deal with these kinds of issues (to a certain point) and will often recommend and/or work with your therapist to find workable solutions for you.  

Consider your activity level. If you hit the couch every night for hours on end, consider going for walks after dinner. You might be someone who is always looking for the closest parking space. Stop doing that! Maybe your activity is low outside of work because you are usually too exhausted. This is a pretty good indication that your life balance is out of whack. Habits you create will show in your life, sometimes as a bright light bulb in your face!  Good or bad.  What possibilities are available to you for change that would make your life better? What are the steps you would need to take to make these changes?

Your Roadmap Is Now Complete

Here’s a summary:

  • Know that exercise and good nutrition go hand in hand.  Plan to work on both.
  • Make a decision to stay away from fad dieting and processed foods and go for fresh foods instead.
  • Decide that you will learn proper techniques for working out your body for safety and overall effectiveness.
  • Consider getting a body composition scan and determine your starting point. Save your results.
  • Do some deep thinking about the reasons you want to make changes. I mean, deep.
  • Learn about yourself.  Take an honest look at your values and beliefs and any addictions or roadblocks that may get in your way. Decide how you will deal with those instances.
  • Determine your SMART goals.
  • Consider hiring a personal trainer, nutritionist, and counselor who is able to work with you on attainable fitness, nutrition, and stress relief plans.
  • If you think you may have an eating disorder or dysfunction, addictions, or body image issues – discuss them with me and/or a therapist.  You’ll need to decide if you will work on these issues or not.

Now that you have the steps you can follow and will make it to your goals successfully. There will be some days where you’ll be too tired and sore to keep it up.  You will break down and eat too much food or some nights you may want to drink a lot of alcohol! It’s all okay! When you encounter a roadblock, get back to your plan.  We all experience challenges but successful change comes to those who know that falling is just part of growing. Making the decision to keep getting back up will eventually lead to your success. Anything that is important in life is bound to be hard, but in the end, you will have so much to be proud of.  

“Why do we fall, sir? So that we can learn to pick ourselves up”.

~Alfred Pennyworth

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