Monday, November 17, 2008

Diet, Exercise, and Health: Putting It All Together

There is a ton of information floating around about how to get healthy and stay in shape. As a society, we are often pushed into following the next big fitness craze or trying the latest diet pill or plan because we want instant results. I would like to offer the following advice to those who are looking for the best way to get and stay healthy and fit: Find a methodology that works for you.

First, make a list of all ailments, injuries, and imbalances in your body and be specific: tight hamstrings, lower back pain, elevated blood pressure, excess fat, scaly complexion, fatigue, etc. Seeing these things on paper should help you set real goals and identify your reasons for making lifestyle changes.

Secondly, see your doctor/health practitioner for a full evaluation: Give him/her your list and attempt to ascertain the root causes of these conditions. Many of them you already know of, so be honest with yourself.Ask if there are any restrictions before you start or modify your exercise program.

Thirdly, follow your doctor's orders: If your doctor tells you to eliminate certain foods from your diet, then do it. If you are working out with a personal trainer, give them a copy of your doctor's recommendations. Give honest feedback to your doctor, trainer, and others supporting you on this journey. Talk about your fears and your triumphs and seek good advice only from those that you trust.

Customize your ideal plan: Be realistic about your lifestyle and schedule when taking this step. Are you a morning person? Do you travel/commute often for work? Are you a student, parent, spouse with obligations that you juggle? Are you sleeping enough at night? Do you eat prepared meals at home or do you eat dinner out 3+ days per week? What are your dietary vices? What kinds of physical activity do you enjoy? Do you have the discipline to maintain a food journal? Do you need help with time management? Do you eat junk food or larger portions of food when you are stressed, emotional, or in social environments? Do you believe that you will be successful at making changes in your life? Answering these questions honestly after some careful consideration will help you to see exactly what you are up against.

Allow room for error: Engage in some positive self-talk. I read once that for every negative thought you have, you must counter it with 7 positive thoughts in order to neutralize the effects of it. Whatever habits that you have, good or bad, you took time to develop them . So, be patient with yourself and stay the course. If you stumble and fall, then get up and keep moving. This is an internal struggle and you have to listen your instincts.

Start the journey today!
More next time...

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