I've had this thought constantly while working with clients, potential clients, and just hearing and gathering feedback in the fitness industry. It's stemmed from comments like, "well when I'm done with school I'll be able to focus on my fitness more" or "when my kids soccer schedule slows down I'll have more time to workout" or "after we make it through summer and all of these vacations and parties I'll be able to focus on my health" or "my birthdays this month, I'll start eating healthy next month". If we're honest with ourselves, we're all a little bit guilty, myself included! My whole purpose with this blog post is to help shift your mindset from viewing health & fitness as this extreme program - workout every day, meal prep every meal, avoiding all indulgences, and meditate for an hour each day in a rose garden with an ocean view - to a more realistic view that it's a lifestyle, and the fact is that life is not perfect. The other fact is that what's healthy and working for one person may not be the right path or plan for someone else. We all have our own busy schedules, our own family situations, and our bodies are very different. As a baseline to start with, I want you to 1. Make your health a priority in your life and 2. Figure out your own healthy routine, be realistic, and be consistent as possible. Once you've taken those two steps you are well on your way to the best healthy you. It's a process, and takes time, patience, and consistency.
I'm going to give you my tips for turning health & fitness into a maintainable lifestyle, rather than an up and down roller coaster that you hop on and off of.
1. Accept that there's no "perfect" time to get fit. Once you accept this fact you can start now. Don't wait until Monday, don't wait until January 1st, next month, next semester, next stage of life, whatever it is. If you accept that life is always busy than you can move forward with a plan. You can take charge rather than letting life happen to you.
2. Prioritize and Plan. I challenge you to sit down on Saturday or Sunday, look at your schedule for the upcoming week and physically pencil in your workouts and what you're going to make for dinner each night. We put things on our schedules that are of high importance right? So why wouldn't you schedule in working out and healthy eating? I've learned that if it's not on the schedule, its much easier to push to the bottom of the to do list when things come up and life gets crazy. Here's a sample print out guide you can practice with this week!
3. Allow for Leeway and be kind. This means that indulgences in moderation, and for the right reasons, are totally normal and I'd even use the term healthy. This isn't a crash course diet, this is real life health. Birthdays come up, there's a holiday every month, some days you won't feel like working out or may not be able to. This is normal. The process is learning to not over do it on the indulgences, but picking and choosing what's really worth it to you, and enjoying that. I believe we can all become "moderators", for some of us there may be a slight learning curve, but we can do it! When I say be kind, I'm talking about being kind to ourselves (and others of course :). Don't beat yourself up over a slice of birthday cake. Learn that you can stop at one piece, recognize how you feel physically, celebrate that you're practicing moderation, and wake up the next day right back on track.
With each little healthy choice comes confidence in our ability to live a healthy lifestyle. Each time we pass up on that candy (that we deep down know we don't even want), we prove to ourselves that we can change our habits, and we have control of our behavior. So keep up the good work and enjoy this amazingly NOT perfect life we get to live!