Archive for October 18th, 2010

By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

The answer: Change your life!  What do I mean by that? Change the way you relate to food and exercise.


Healthy people exercising

Today I was reading this article on Yahoo Health about women that lose a significant amount of fat and transformed into healthier leaner people. And they kept the fat off over a period of years. If you read through their stories you will find a common theme: They switched from eating processed foods to “clean” foods like salads, brown rice, fish, vegetables. And they added regular exercise to their daily routines. They didn’t become professional bodybuilders, they did not subsist on a peanut and a celery stalk a day. They just eat healthier food in smaller more frequent portions. And they added activity to their daily lives One woman follows the simple guidelines of the ACSM: She added 30-60 min of cardio or strength training each day. Another woman said she makes sure she works out even on busy days at least 15 minutes.


If you read fitness magazines, blogs or know anything about fat loss and physical fitness, this story won’t be a big surprise to you. I think it’s important to remind ourselves that there are no quick fixes for fitness. But is losing fat, getting in shape and then STAYING in shape so easy? For most people, it’s not. It takes a few key qualities:

1. Perseverance-We don’t skip brushing our teeth every day to catch up on weekends and brush for 2 hours. Why would working out for 2 hours once a week be better than working out for 20-30 minutes 5 days a week? It isn’t. Our bodies work best in increments. We eat several times during the day, we sleep each night. We wash up each day (hopefully). Our 2010 lifestyles may make it tough to fit in movement when most people work in offices or in jobs that involved sitting for hours on end.  Adding in movement a little bit each day is easier than trying to pack in a mega workout once in a while. It takes perseverance (to persist in a state, enterprise, or undertaking in spite of counterinfluences, opposition, or discouragement). Taking stairs instead of the elevator, parking farther away from the store, walking when you can versus driving. Working out while spending time with your family and children also makes it easier to incorporate daily activity into your routine.  What’s important is that you add some exercise activity each day or at least 5 days a week. Don’t have time to go to a gym? It’s easy to make a home gym or workout to videos, Wii Fit or other cardio program. Whether you run swim, hike, bike or do yoga, it’s important is that you keep it up on a regular basis.

2. Discipline as in Self discipline-Fast food, junk food and high calorie, high fat food are all around us. It’s tough to get out of bed and go for a run or come home from a long day and fit in that 30 minutes of cardio or strength training. Making it a regular nonnegotiable part of your routine can help. And when you feel the urge to overeat or skip your daily workout, it takes a bit of self-discipline to pass up those french fries or push yourself to work out even when you’d rather sleep! But the rewards are feeling better, being healthier, having a clearer mind, being less stressed out and of course, being fit!

3. Prioritization-like that word? I did NOT make it up. It means making the most of your time and resources. And in this case, I say it means making sure that fitness and healthy eating are a priority. I use this analogy. If your child (if you don’t have a child, think about your niece, nephew or another child you care about) needed to eat, rest or get some exercise, would you let other priorities get in the way of taking care of the child?  (Hopefully not!) Yet adults often neglect our own needs for health and fitness because “we are too tired, too busy or too unmotivated.” Yet if we have to walk the dog or feed a child healthy food, somehow we find the inner strength, time and resources. So it’s not a matter of not having time or energy to take care of ourselves. It’s really about priorities. Learn to make your own health and wellness a priority. It benefits you and it also provides a good role model for children in your life!

4.  Focus (directed attention, concentration)-Focusing on how we look is rarely motivating. For some, working out to get the body they want or fit into a particular outfit may help motivate them to work out and eat right. It doesn’t work for me and many of my clients though. For me, I have to focus on how I feel. I feel better when I work out and eat right. How I look may change for the better but it’s not my  main focus. My focus is in feeling good, having more energy. sleeping well, not having stomach aches or feeling sluggish. No matter what your prime motivator/s is/are, use them to give you strength when you need a push to work out or eat right!

5. Fun-Wellness needs to be fun to be sustainable.  If you hate running, how motivated will you be to get up and run in the morning? But if tennis is fun for you, you will be more likely to play tennis than run. Wii Fit tries to make exercise fun for adults and children by integrating games in with the movement exercises. healthy food doesn’t have to be drab and boring. take a cooking class that specializes in healthy eating: Indian food, Middle Eastern Food , Chinese Stir Fry and even some Italian dishes can be low-fat and healthy.  Learn to add healthy spice to your food and “healthy” becomes fun and tasty! Make learning new fitness routines fun by trying them out with family and friends.

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