Have you ever tried to change your lifestyle, but it seems like an impossible task? I get it.
Change Hurts! Who wants to sign up for something that doesn’t feel good? I’d probably be a millionaire by now if I were selling something that made people feel good, it’s bittersweet that I sell pain. I promise you it’s worth it. Anything worth having in life is hard to come by.
It takes time. It is a struggle, and without struggle, there is no progress. We are addicted to doing things that make us feel good, like we choose fast food instead of preparing healthy meals. We choose to sleep instead of making time to exercise or meal-prepping for the day. And we choose to stay up late binge-watching Netflix, sports, or our favorite shows, robbing ourselves of the necessary sleep we need. Over the next several weeks we will discuss 4 steps to making your lifestyle change easier and less painful.
Are you willing to hurt a little now so you can feel a lot better later?
Step 1: Learn Basic Fitness Behaviors
Pursue a life of fitness. Eat healthily. Manage your weight. Control your stress level. Get enough rest to replenish and restore your energy. Avoid tobacco, drugs, and too much alcohol.
Pursue a life of Fitness
Everyone has heard the phrase “Use it or lose it”. That statement couldn’t be truer when it comes to your physical fitness.
Regular physical activity can help keep your thinking, learning, and judgment skills sharp as you age. It can also reduce your risk of depression and anxiety and help you sleep better.
Getting at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity can put you at a lower risk for developing heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and even some cancers. We all expect gradual decline as we age, but a rapid decline reflects inactivity and its toll on the body.
Remembering to stay active every day is probably one of the most important behavior changes you can make. Walking and taking the stairs instead of driving and riding the elevator are simple things you can do and apply to your everyday life.
If we are not especially careful it’s easy to find ourselves eating foods light on nutrition and heavy on calories.
We should know that carbs, proteins, and fats make up most of the calories we put in our bodies. Carbs have 4 calories per gram, protein also has 4 calories per gram and fat has the most energy with 9 calories per gram. We also should choose nutritionally dense foods that are high in fiber like fruits and dark green leafy vegetables.
Eating healthy has many benefits, including more energy, greater stamina, better weight management, stronger disease resistance, and reduced risk of chronic illness.
Manage Your Weight
Some people have been blessed with a slim ectomorph body type. These people often are T. O. F. I – thin on the outside, fat on the inside. They get away with eating an unhealthy diet and never see 1 pound.
If you’re any like me, you can look at food and gain weight. That doesn’t mean all is lost and we can’t get the results we want. We just have to be more conscious and disciplined when it comes to our activity level, exercise habits, eating habits, and managing our stress levels. We should have a general understanding of how many calories to get a day for the desired weight we want to be.
One strategy we can use is to add a 0 to the end of our target weight. That number represents the number of calories we should get per day to reach our target weight goal.
Another strategy is to have a discrepancy of 500 calories per day compared with the total amount we normally get in a day. There are roughly 3500 calories in 1 pound of fat. So, if we reduce our calories by 500 times 7 days a week that equals 3500 calories lost or 1 pound of fat lost per week.
These numbers aren’t entirely accurate, but they give you a baseline of where we’re at and give us goals to work towards.
Manage Your Stress
We all worry and stress over the complexities of our lives. Some of these people, places, and things are completely out of our control.
If we worry, we suffer twice. Once before the bad thing happens and then after it happens.
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference”.
We must learn to control our stress levels effectively through physical and spiritual activities, social support, relaxation breathing, and one of my favorite tools is a Hypervolt massage gun. We must avoid ineffective ways to relieve stress like drinking alcohol “which has 7 calories per gram”, taking drugs, eating high-calorie “comfort foods, “and skipping exercise to save time.
Research shows that high levels of unrelieved stress can disrupt thinking and memory, disturb sleep, increase depression, impair our immunity to infections, and even contribute to weight gain and abdominal fat. Over many years unrelieved stress can also contribute to higher blood pressure, premature aging, and increased risk of chronic illnesses.
When amusements parks close their gates and everyone goes their separate ways, the most important hours of the park’s day begin. The bright lights go up, and massive crews of workers repair and clean every ride, every walkway, and every concession stand. When the gates are opened the next morning, the parks are completely renewed. The trash from the day before is gone, and the roller coasters are in top condition again.
This is a similar correlation to what happens in our bodies every night. During those precious hours, our body shuts down and repairs itself. Our immune system recharges. Our major organs are restored. Old cells are being replaced with new ones. Our mind relaxes and orders its thoughts, creating a healthy mental state.
Research shows that not getting enough sleep increases our chances of suffering from a heart attack, stroke, diabetes, weight gain, and premature aging. Most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep a night without interruption.
Most people find that eight hours is perfect. Any less and you feel drowsy at some point during the day. Any more and you may feel unnaturally sluggish. It’s not just the length of sleep that makes the difference, but the depth of sleep and the number of cycles you go through are also important.
Knowing is have the battle. Now that you know the basic fitness behaviors, you’re ready to make an easier and less painful transition into your new lifestyle. Remember we must pursue a life of fitness, eat healthily, manage our weight, control our stress level, and get enough rest to replenish and restore our energy.
Let’s get you going in the right direction.