This post is written for the people who have average or poor health and wishes to improve their lifestyle towards the better. So, if you’re an already active and healthy reader, I suggest you link this post to your mother/brother/friend/co-worker who wants to make a lifestyle change towards the better. People that already are healthy, but want to improve their health regardless in some smaller way might also be interested.
I’ll start by pointing out two important facts before we get into the actual subject.
- I am a professional within the subject of sports but my texts are mostly based on my personal thoughts and experiences. Many thoughts are based on information I’ve learned after studying both in school and on my own. You will not see me actively linking to studies in my blog so I hope you are reading my texts with critical thought. I don’t mind if you question what I say or feel that this way is not the one that works for you. Feel also free to comment your thoughts. You, I and the fellow readers might benefit from that.
- Don’t compare yourself too much to me. Training is a top priority in my life and I don’t live like I do only to be fit, I live like I do to win competitions and enhance my already good fitness levels. I put most of my time into living like an athlete and this lifestyle is not always optimal. Training is in other words my full-time job and I don’t expect others to live like that.
Let’s get started!
If you want to get fitter and healthier you have to understand that there needs to be a change in some habits that you are doing right now.
Understand that change does not happen over night, you need to work on getting comfortable with your new routines and that will take time, discipline and patience.
So if you like to say that you are “not the patient kind”, I suggest you change that mindset right now.
First we need to take a look at where you stand now. Answer these questions in your on mind or on a piece of paper.
What areas need focus for you to get healthier? Answer these questions with a yes or no.
- Are you active a couple of times a week? Do you train an activity that challenges you so that you can physically feel it the next day in your body?
- Is your diet in line with the goals that you want to achieve?
- Are you happy? Do you laugh daily, get excited about things and have hobbies that makes you feel good (but don’t sabotage your health)?
If you answered “no” to one of these questions, keep reading. If you answered yes and you are still unhealthy, shoot me with a message in the comment section and I’ll try to see what might be hindering your process towards a healthier lifestyle.
The human body is meant to move. In other words it is normal for us to move around, walk, jump, run, carry things and so on. The body is amazing and it will adapt very quickly to how you decide to spend your days. So, if you are mostly inactive, you will probably not feel the need of moving around because you got used to that.
You will get passive and might suffer some unhealthy consequenses like becoming overweight, getting diseases linked to inactivity and so on. So let’s get used to the idea that we want to use this amazing body we have been given to move around. It doesn’t matter what the physical activity is, as long as it challenges you in some way and you get the positive benefits of it, “the feel good” -effects, which are hormones being released in your body. Training is a free, natural and healthy drug.
There are several positive affects of being active, a few that come to my mind immediately are; You meet people and possibly find new social connects, your respiration system gets better which means it will be easier for you to breathe and your sleep quality will go up, you make your relatives happy when you take care of yourself, you might be a positive role model for your kids/parents/friends or people that you aren’t even aware of. In other words, you are doing something good when you are being active! Often you also make healthier food choices when you decide to become more active, which makes the whole process of becoming healthy easier and more enjoyable.
So, it’s a very clear thing that moving around is what you want to do. If you’re 100% inactive, try to understand that even though someone has told you in your childhood that you’re not the active kind or you think that you don’t like to move, try to change your mindset and you will change your life. But let’s get started with small steps of course.
My recommendation is to move in any way you can think of 2-3 times a week. Start with anything you like and after a while try to change up the intensity. Do both low intensity workouts and intensive workouts. Here’s an example; A run or walk to work every monday, yoga or stretching on wednesdays and swimming, bouldering or a group class workout on saturdays. Obviously I can’t give a ready recipe out here because we all have different backgrounds but you get the point. Think out what kind of physical activity is a good fit for you.
Get into the new habits but DO NOT overdo it. This is very important! If you go from zero to five times a week, I can already tell you when you will quit this “project”. That would be within 2-4 weeks. You would probably get some self-disappointment as an extra consequence as well. This is not a project, this is your new lifestyle. Patience.
Food might just be one of the most talked subject on the planet. Let’s take a look at some key points I believe are important if your eating habits need a change.
We have to eat and drink to stay alive. We have the opportunity to choose exactly what we put into our bodies, so why not give this subject a good thought and figure out what amount we should eat to be healthy and what exactly to eat?
Are your food choices and your attitude towards food helping you take steps towards your goals or are they making you take steps further away from it? Let’s think about that first. Are your food choices making you feel good? Is your attitude towards food positive and quite neutral? Are you eating (or not eating) because your inner child is trying to make a point or something similar? If you feel that there are more to this subject and it serves some negative feelings, I suggest you take time to come to peace with it. Food is amazing and your body is amazing, make them two friends with each other! If you need to see a therapist to open the knots, then do that! I’m personally very much in favor of getting professional help with the things you feel you are stuck with and can’t figure out yourself. There’s absolutely nothing embarrassing or shameful about that. So talk to a friend or a professional about this (or write an anonymous comment in the comment section!) and you might be surprised that some thoughts that are solely in your head is holding you back to fulfil your goals.
Get to know how much food you need and what kind of food you need. Do an inbody test at your local gym if there is one. There are also many charts on the internet where you put in your age, weight, activity level etc. and you get an estimate of how many calories you need. Check out many different sites though so you don’t get false information. All these things might feel like work in the beginning but please be open-minded to try out new things.
If you want to loose weight, you need to consume less calories than you are burning. I suggest you do that both from nutrition and from training. Do not go too much on a deficit in a day, since it will backfire. Again, patience.
Last but not least a tip I think all of us can agree on: Cut the crap. This is very simple, but yet few do it. Many of you know that I’m not the super strict -type when it comes to food choices. I think it’s fine to indulge every now and then, but then I suggest the indulge would be planned somehow and not spontanious based on a sudden craving. One “candy day” a week worked well for me when I wanted to lose some weight. I believe it’s very important not to make eating something you stress about. That’s one of the most important things here and that’s why I can’t say if you should be more laid back with your food or if you should count exact calories. Which one are you? Which one will make you satisfied and get you closer to your goals without it being a journey of suffering? In the end of the text there will be some more talk about this.
Are you happy?
I dare you to look at yourself very closely in the mirror for 5 minutes after this post. Most people can’t do this! Look at yourself in the eye very closely. Do you like the person you see? I’m not saying you have to love your physical body right away. All that physical will fall much easier into place when you fix the inside. Do you see that you are doing things that are not “you“? Why do you do this? Have you lost the connection with yourself? It’s very common, I have lost it many times.
You can always get that connection back! Look at yourself, forgive yourself of everything and decide that now starts the time closer to yourself and your deepest core. That will make all of these lifestyle changes much easier. You will become a better person for the ones around you as well.
I put this deep talk here as the last part not because it’s the least important. I put it here to trick you to read the simple and accessible stuff first. Getting you comfortable at first just to make you a bit uncomfortable now. We ignore the things about figuring out who we are and being honest to ourselves. It’s understandable, these are not always easy to handle and makes you very vulnerable. I believe very strongly that this is the base for all change and happiness. Try out that 5 min exercise and pay attention to how it makes you feel, be an “observer” of your reactions and emotions. I think we can all agree on that we want to be happy and feel good, so this might be something that gets you closer to that.
Key point to remember!
Get the support you need and ask for help. Get it from people in the same situation as you OR/AND from people who are better than you in some way, who you look up to.
When you’re working towards getting in shape you need a positive environment in all aspects. A lot of people say “surround yourself with the one’s on the same mission as you“. There’s a point in that, but I believe it’s also very important to spend time with people who have already figured out something you haven’t. Talk to those who are better in some area than you are, ask and learn. You don’t have to do things the same way as them but try to learn about different ways of how to succeed. Slowly build your own personal methodology towards your goals.
I don’t believe people are doomed to be overweight, depressed or unhealthy. Many just don’t know how powerful their mind is and how close to change they actually are. No matter if you’ve failed 1000 times, you can always start again with a smarter approach.
Next blog post: Discipline or “by feel”?
I believe that most of you know what to do but have not yet found HOW to do it. Try these things out that I talked about in this blog post and feel free to comment what you feel like might be hindering your process. I suggest you think first and comment then.
“When you talk, you are only repeating what you know. If you listen you may learn something new.”
The next blog post will be about figuring out what kind of person you are when it comes to changing your habits. Are you the one who wants everything to be calculated and decided beforehand or are you more of the intuitive, “go by feel” -kind? When are you one and when are you the other? Give this a thought and come back to read the next blog post within three weeks.
Remember, there’s a difference in what you would like to be and what you really are right now.
See you soon!
Pictures: Petri Mast Photography