In real life, people get the flu, hurt their backs, have a death in the family, get pregnant (surprise!), or lose a job. So how do you stay on the journey in REAL life? Let’s face it: life is hard enough. Adding healthy eating and exercise can feel overwhelming.
1. Order your priorities right. Mine are
God first, family second, health third.
This order helps guide every decision I make and keeps me focused. No I don’t do it perfectly, but this is what I strive for.
2. I know I sound like a broken record here, but read this: we are on a journey. The key to success is long term consistency. One week of dirty eating and lack of exercise is not the end of the journey! Get back up and start again. Perfection isn’t necessary to get healthy.
3. Prevent injury by incorporating strength training and stretching into your fitness routine. If you feel a bad twinge or pop or pain, STOP. Modify exercises to suit your ability. Almost every exercise can be modified to be easier. If it’s weighted, drop the weight and do the motion without it. If it’s in push-up or plank position, you can go down to your knees. More about strength training and stretching later.
4. During illness, listen to your body, not your stomach. Try your best to eat well and do “active rest,” such as an easy walk. Added bonus of eating well: can dramatically shorten periods of illness! Getting extra sleep will help you recover more quickly as well.
5. During injury don’t assume you can’t exercise at all. Heed your doctor’s advice, of course. But otherwise, do what you can while you are healing. Walking is better than sitting on the couch! Again, eat well to support your body’s natural ability to heal and to avoid regression.
6. Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a week or two. Self talk can be either very detrimental or highly beneficial. Think positively about getting back to your fitness and nutrition routine. Think of how good you will feel and how much progress you will make by getting back on track.
7. Time changes and schedules change. Your exercise routine will need to change with seasons and activities. Don’t be afraid to try exercising at a different time of day or in a different setting. During winter you may have to exercise indoors, and during summer you may be able to exercise earlier in the day or later in the evening.
8. Don’t let yourself get bored. Switch it up when you start losing motivation to exercise. Try avoiding weighing and measuring for four weeks just to challenge yourself to focus on working hard to see big results at the end. You might need a new goal or a new challenge. Your accountability partner can help you in this area too!
9. Have a plan. When you travel or have an extra busy week coming, take ten minutes to formulate a plan and pencil your workouts into your schedule. Think about how you can make the most of your time. Where can you squeeze in a run or swing by the gym? Do you need to pack your exercise clothes and take them in the car? Thorough and thoughtful meal planning will also be crucial to stay on track.
10. Try and try again. Just. Don’t. Stop. Trying.