When life doesn’t go the way you want it, what do you do?
Do you react, blow off steam and then either carry on as before or radically change tack hoping things will improve?
If this is your default response to bumps in the road it might be time to try a different approach and turn things upside-down. Instead of immediately catapulting yourself over said bump, all helicopter arms and flailing limbs only to land dazed and confused on the other side, it might be worth pausing to take stock and choosing an alternate route.
Nowadays it can be hard to block out the constant influx of (mis)information that surrounds us regarding exercise and nutrition. It seems as though every week we are fed a news byte regarding breakthrough research on whether butter or bread is good or bad for us (maybe the answer is to alternate….?). Is fish oil really a brain boosting elixir or merely an expensive placebo taken to placate our fears? The general global recommendation for adult physical activity in 2000 was 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each day. However, it is now recognized that this is insufficient and we need double that in order to maintain a healthy body and avoid the physical repercussions of a sedentary lifestyle.
Scientific research is an ever-evolving phenomenon and, as such, it is natural as we learn more about the body, that discoveries held as truth a decade ago may no longer be valid. Things change as we evolve and develop just as our needs at different stages of our lives must differ. When it comes to nutrition and almost everyone’s desire to lose fat, we know that the reason most diets fail us is because they are impossible to stick to long-term. Then, frustrated at not seeing the number on the scales go down we can be tempted to ditch our prescribed exercise program maybe deciding to jettison the weight training and only focus once again on more and more cardio in a bid to exhaust our confused body into weight loss submission.
So how do we work out what is best for us and then keep going? Here are some suggestions to help you navigate a steady course through this precarious sea we call life.
1. ASK FOR HELP
Accept your limitations and recognize that, if you are feeling less than great in your skin, things need to change. Invest in help from someone with a proven track record in the area you are interested in, ask lots of questions and arm yourself with their professional advice. Decide upon the degree of assistance you require – is it a case of a complete diet and exercise overhaul or do you have a general grasp of what to do but need some expert help in getting to the next level? Understanding the type of guidance you need will save time and enable you to take control of your health and fitness goals. Be open-minded about the advice given and talk to others who have used it to find out whether they were successful and whether it might be suitable for you or not.
2. TRUST THE PROCESS
Just as weight gain does not occur overnight but rather creeps on over time, becoming fitter and stronger are also gradual courses of action. Have a plan and stick to it. The results will not be linear for the simple fact of being human and some weeks it may seem as though nothing is improving, but if you consistently keep bringing your aim back into focus the proof will be in the fat-free pudding.
3. DITCH THE EXCUSES
Let’s face it, when things go awry it is all too easy to find someone or something else to blame. It makes us feel better for a moment. However, just as we are responsible for looking and feeling the way we do today through every food and movement choice and stress response we have made thus far, so it will continue to be moving forwards. A jump to the left or a step to the right could be all that is needed to adjust course and move ahead. Own your choices. It is reputed that the average human makes 35,000 decisions per day. About 90% of those are IDENTICAL to yesterday’s ones. The vast majority are also negative. In order to change your life you have to change your thinking. Listen to yourself. Take the time to really tune in and listen to your inner dialogue and notice the conversation looping around. Then maybe choose to change channels.
4. ACCEPT THE OBSTACLES AS FEEDBACK
Tripping over a roadblock can be the most useful thing to happen if, after the initial frustration and having dusted our knees off, we choose to ponder the reason and from this understand why it didn’t work. Pressure to get results and achieve so-called success comes from those around us but also from within. Often we are our own harshest critic (see point 3). Take pause for thought and ask why? This can create the headspace to allow new ideas to flourish and disarm the emotional reaction to a situation or lack of development. From here the answer may arrive, leisurely strolling into focus rather than us steamrolling our way blindly forwards.
5. REMIND YOURSELF WHY
It can be all too easy to get caught up in the minutiae of a particular ingredient or exercise and form certain beliefs around it. Is kale really is the most nutritious food? Er, I hate to disappoint all you cabbage heads out there but it alone won’t make you life longer! Or is running the best form of exercise? For what? Lifting groceries?
Neither one alone will make or break us but the sum of our daily choices will have an impact over the weeks, months and future years and it is here that success or failure lies. Picture a snowball. It begins as a single snowflake, weightless and insignificant but en masse is capable of great force. Taking the time to regularly step back and adjust the viewpoint and get specific again can help maintain a healthy perspective on the seesaw of living healthily.
We are not defined by our body but it is where we live. Be true to who you want to be by choosing to look after your home wisely.
Comment, share, bandy around, welcome a new perspective & thanks for reading!