Taking the First Step Toward Health
How to start moving towards a healthy lifestyle.
I think many of us, especially women, picture a healthy person as an organic-cotton wearing, victory-garden growing, smoothie slurping, exercise addict. One who never touches sugar, caffeine or (shudder) alcohol, and whips up 3 healthy balanced meals every day, sleeps 9 hours a night, and fits in a deep breathing routine each morning under a pagoda. But here’s the spoiler – this person doesn’t exist.
She doesn’t! She was created from our own perceived failures and insecurities, and being envious of Little-Miss-Perfect is a total waste of time. She makes us feel like we have to do everything. But in reality, we just have to do something. Anything! Because each baby step we take toward better health is a step away from disease and lethargy. So stop wondering where to buy organic tomato seeds, and let me tell ya where to start.
- I’m not talking about moving into a condo (although if cleaning your giant, empty house is your “I’m too busy to exercise” excuse, then you may want to call a realtor). I’m referring to simplifying. Streamlining. Being selective. Make your life more livable. The number one excuse for lack of activity is TIME. So make some tough choices and reclaim some precious self-care minutes. Your health is more important than Wing Night, no matter what your friends might tell you.
- Get new friends. Didn’t see that coming, did ya? Yes, that sounds harsh, and you definitely don’t have to just ditch everyone you’ve ever known. But there’s strong scientific evidence to support the ‘ol “you tend to become like the 7 closest people in your life”. A new member at a gym once told me, “I joined my girlfriend’s lunchtime stair walking group, and I couldn’t believe how energized and happy they were! I didn’t even know people like that existed.” He’d spent years surrounding himself with negative, closed-minded, low-energy people – and had inadvertently drank the Kool-Aid! Spit it out and find a few health nuts to hang with.
- Educate yourself. Did you know there’s a direct correlation between IQ and shoe size? Yep – larger feet=higher IQ. Now, I know you’re thinking about your idiot neighbor with the size 14’s – that can’t be TRUE! It is true, because of children and their small feet. The word correlation or link doesn’t mean CAUSE. Remember that people! The “health” industry loves to find these little connections between their product and the promise of quick, easy disease prevention. Beware! Demand science, be skeptical, and save your hard earned money from the diet industry black hole.
- Don’t fall for shortcuts. Diets work. There, I said it. They all restrict something, and therefore reduce your overall calorie consumption. Eat less – lose weight. It’s physics, not a miracle. But when a dieter inevitably falls back into his or her normal eating pattern, their body will gain back weight plus a little more “just in case” you decide to deprive it again! Short-term diets, cleansing and even extreme exercise may seem like the quickest way to your goal, but in reality they are expensive, ineffective and downright dangerous. The ONLY thing that works, is a daily, weekly and yearly commitment to moving your body, eating nutritious food and going easy on the junk. That’s it!
- Don’t quit starting. You know how they tell smokers to “don’t quit quitting”? We tell clients the opposite message when adopting a healthier lifestyle, and it doesn’t matter if we’re talking about eating more colorful vegetables, hiking the hills, drinking more water or lifting weights! If you start something and quit – then just START AGAIN! There will never be a perfect time to take charge of your health; life is too complicated. But this is important, friends – so get out there and start again.
As with most ventures, the starting is often the hardest. Rolling out of bed and lacing up your running shoes seems like an Everest-worthy effort compared to the easy glide of a 30 minute run, just as walking into a fitness center and initially meeting with a trainer feels much scarier than completing an actual workout! But if you’re willing to keep striving for those small successes – you’ll eventually get hooked. I promise! Your perceived limitations will slowly fall away, and you’ll embrace a healthy lifestyle for ever and ever and ever. And even if you don’t…you can always start again.
Leah Goldstein is an internationally sought-after speaker. She is a World Champion Kickboxer, Israeli Undercover Police Officer, National Cycling Champion, record holder of multiple ultra-distance cycling races and all-around crazy person. Leah’s memoir, “No Limits” is available now at www.leahgoldstein.com/book/ and all online retailers.
Lori Friend Moger, M.Sc. is a writer, speaker and Kinesiologist. She is co-founder (with Leah) of No Finish Line Living, a wellness company providing keynotes, seminars and retreats with the sole purpose of pushing people into their best lives possible. She is considerably less crazy. For more information, visit us on our Facebook Page .