“You are essentially who you create yourself to be and all that occurs in your life is the result of your own making”. – Stephen Richards
It’s now mid December 2016. Many of you will be thinking about the New Year ahead. What can you do to start and maintain a healthy active lifestyle? My own personal experience led me to seeking a new path. I’d always been active. I started salsa dancing and joined a local netball team in my mid thirties. However my diet was all over the place! I finally reached a point when I decided to make lifestyle changes. Everyday I am still working on making positive improvements. I’m recreating myself – lol!
This is the final part of my top ten suggestions. In part one I shared five steps to help you get started. This included:
- Making a decision to change
- Identifying Accountability Challenge Partners to encourage and motivate you
- Starting your day with a healthy breakfast
- Understanding exactly what nutrients your body needs from food
- Tracking your body composition
Focusing on the above has helped me to get started. However, the list is not quite complete. Here you’ll find five more ideas to help create and sustain a healthy active lifestyle.
(6) GET YOUR BODY HYDRATED
Our bodies consist of seventy percent water. Many of us are aware that we should drink at least two liters of water a day. Why? Well, we lose water when we breathe, sweat and use the toilet. If you do not replace what your body looses you will become dehydrated. There are too many reasons why our bodies need water to list here. This fascinating topic will be covered in depth again.
In my twenties I developed a great habit. I would drink a cup of hot water and lemon every morning. Sadly, by the time I was in my late thirties I was not in the habit of drinking water unless I attended an exercise class. Now I am focusing on drinking more water. Period!
Most mornings I start my day with hot water and lemon. Did you know lemons detoxify the liver? Yeah they’re tangy but good for you. Then I drink a cup a herbal beverage green tea. The green tea is from my product range. Peach and Raspberry flavours are my favourites. The herbal beverage raises my energy levels and sets me up for the day. The challenge thereafter is to continue to drink water throughout my day. I have more success when I carry a two liter bottle of water around with me. The bottle stays on my desk so I can monitor my daily consumption.
(7) KEEP YOUR BODY MOVING
Did you know the NHS recommends we exercise 150 minutes a week? In 2015 the Telegraph reported 20 minutes a week is enough to reduce premature aging. This is an incredible contrast. The point of both messages is we need to move. Period!
“Summer bodies are made in winter” – unknown
How many of us are actually keeping our bodies moving? I am writing step 7 in the evening. Today I walked in the morning . I also walked to the local shops during the day. Today was a good day. There are days when I know I have not moved enough. Modern industry finds many of us working long hours behind a desk. In my experience if I go for too long without exercise I become moody.
There are great reasons why you need to move
- To keep your muscles fit and supple.
- To keep your bones strong and healthy
- To keep your heart and cardiovascular system healthy (preventative medicine)
- To keep your mental health and well-being positive
- To keep your body burning fat and calories.
Again there is so much to say about this topic. I’ll cover this topic in more details in future posts.
(8) SET OUT YOUR GOALS ON PAPER
Ironically I am writing this post in mid December. Refocusing on health goals are important for lots of people at the start of a new year. Gym memberships increase. Diet clubs get new members. However, I wonder how many people will still be committed to their health goals in Autumn? We need to be aware of our weaknesses. We are not perfect. Thankfully every day provides us with another opportunity to start again. You just need to make a decision to change your health blueprint.
Are you serious about setting new health goals? Great! I’d like to offer these simple and effective ideas:
- Buy yourself a journal especially for setting out your health goals
- Set out your ‘Me’time. Write down your health goals. What do you want to achieve in one month, three months, six months and this time next year?
- Research local exercise classes and activities. You’re chances of success are increased if you are part of a group
- Design a timetable for your healthy activities
- Share your health goals and activity plan with your Accountability Challenge Partners
- Read your goals daily or at least once a week
- Invite your Accountability Challenge Partners to as many of your planned activities as possible
- Think about rewards for you and your Accountability Partners to aim for
- Discuss your progress with your Accountability Partners every two to four weeks
(9) BE PREPARED TO SLIDE OFF TRACK
So we are at Step 9. I have the day off work today. This morning I put on my favourite dance tracks. I enjoy dancing alone in my bedroom. Then I went for my morning walk. I walked 4901 steps in forty minutes. I am feeling elated. However, the beginning of December was a different story. I am not going to lie. My movement activities were lower than I’d planned.
I know I have not reached my Level 10 goal yet. If you look at my body shape you can see there is room for improvement. Don’t be too quick to judge though. Did you see me when I was 17.5 stones?
Maybe you did. If you didn’t watch this space. Yes since I’ve started my healthy active lifestyle I’ve fallen off track with my exercise plan. I don’t just live on shakes. So, yes I’ve enjoyed food I am trying to reduce or eliminate. Should I give in? No way! My attitude is every day I will get a little bit better.
Let’s put things into perceptive. Are reading this post to help you improve or fix some bad habits? Yes? Okay, well let’s be mindful of the length of time you’ve practiced these habits. I was in the habit of skipping breakfast every day for many years. Did I master this change immediately? No. I’ve reset my behavior. I’ve educated myself. The research has shown me the importance of eating a healthy breakfast. Now I have found a simple way to give my body everything it needs to start my day.
“Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?” ― L.M. Montgomery
What I am saying is creating a plan is fairly easy. See step eight above. You’ve written down your goals. You started to attend the new exercise class. You may have even purchased a new fitness outfit. You’re excited as you’re starting something new. We’ve all been there. If and when you get side tracked don’t give up. Don’t slip back into your old ways. Tomorrow is another day. You can reset good your intentions and carry on.
(10) KEEP REWARDING YOURSELF
There’s a strong possibility this final step is written to remind myself. Sticking to our goals is not easy, especially when there are temptations. Rewards and treats can help us to focus when things get tough. I should to take my own advice here really. I need to identify rewards for myself. My treats have usually been around fashion. Buying a new dress when I’ve dropped into a lower size.
On the other hand I love giving recognition to my clients. Small steps of achievement can have a great impact on your self esteem. In our #24Fit Camp we have a recognition night every five weeks. There’ll also be new opportunities to inspire and encourage people. I am hosting a new Nutrition Club in 2017 – the Better Body Challenge. There are lots of rewards planned there, including cash prizes!
If you can see progress you’ll be more likely to carry on. Your rewards can start off really small like a Pamper Day with your workout buddies. Here are a 100+ reward ideas posted by the Fitness for Weight Loss site. If you have any suggestions please leave a comment below. I will appreciate your thoughts. I’ll keep you posted on my treats throughout 2017!