Let me be clear, the point of this article is not to put you down for not being healthy right now. In fact, there are probably many things about you that your family and friends love about you.
However, this is for you. You may be struggling with your weight, which may be leading to other health issues. In fact, your lack of physical health may be leading to low self-esteem and poor mental health.
Part of why I want to empower you and people like you to be more healthy is that being physically healthy makes you feel better about yourself. And knowing that you can go from overweight, out of shape, and tired to fit and energized will give you TONS of self-confidence.
I want that for you. And you should too.
You Can Start Now – In Fact, You Should
The time is now. Time is a limited resource and letting more time pass without making changes just means you’ll be overweight and unhappy for longer.
The circumstances for pursuing health will never be perfect. Life will continue to happen, there will never be a time when making drastic changes will become easy – so just start where you are with what you have and get after it.
The hardest part of most things is getting started. What we really need to do is get some momentum going. Let’s string together 3 days of healthy eating and deliberate movement. From there we can continue to build on that momentum and start seeing progress.
Health Is Not About Being Perfect. – It’s About Being Consistent
There’s a misconception about what it takes to live a healthy lifestyle.
The image in a lot of people’s heads is someone who wakes up at 4:30 in the morning and goes for a run. Comes home and drinks a veggie smoothie. Then does some crunches. And then eats chicken breast and broccoli for lunch. And then goes to the gym for 4 hours. And then comes home to eat chicken breast and broccoli again.
Want to know what that sounds like to me? Unsustainable.
Just make your choices 10 percent better and draw that out for YEARS. You’ll be miles ahead of where you’d be if you crash diet and lose 25 pounds in a month. If your goal is to be healthy for life (and not just 25 pounds lighter for a week) then you should figure out how to make longterm progress.
Your Pursuit of Health Should Be Gradual
If you eat Sonic, or some other fast food, every day – It’s not realistic to switch to only eating boiled chicken and raw vegetables (that sounds disgusting anyway).
Let’s start with cutting out one thing that you know isn’t helping you reach your health goals.
If you say you’re going to lose 70 pounds in 3 months, you’re setting yourself up to fail. But if you say that you’re going to give yourself 5 years to gradually become the fittest you’ve ever been, you can definitely achieve that.
Take It One Step at a Time
You’re not going to go from sedentary and obese to a fitness model, marathon runner, or pro bodybuilder overnight. So don’t focus on that. That just leads to overwhelm and discouragement.
We should approach this like an addict approaches staying sober. Every moment you’re facing different choices, and for right now we’re going to focus on just one thing at a time. So you wake up. The first choice is what is for breakfast. You can choose to not eat, eat at home, or go get something from a restaurant.
- Not eating means that you’ll be starving when lunch roles around, so you’ll be more likely to jump for something easy and fast (and unhealthy).
- Eating at home means you can control what you eat, and you won’t get a ton of added shit from the restaurant (i.e. excess oil and butter). You won’t have to tell the waiter that you don’t want the toast on the side, which eliminates an opportunity to fall off the path to your goals.
- Eating out means you’re presented with endless choices of where to eat, what to order, and whether to eat everything that’s put in front of you. Eating out isn’t bad. In fact, if you can eat the same few options and stick to those, you can have easy access to healthy choices without overwhelming yourself.
You’re Going To Have To Educate Yourself
If you truly want to get healthy, and if you don’t…no worries. Nobody says you HAVE TO be healthy or do anything. You’re an adult. But if you truly want to be a healthy person here are a few steps you should take to help yourself get there.
Study What Healthy People Do
Most people know what healthy lifestyles look like. How can you emulate that, even if it’s in the smallest details of your life?
Here are a few choices that you can make that can help you take the first step towards being a healthier, more active person.
- Purposely park farther away. If you currently use a handicapped spot, but you’re capable of walking – challenge yourself to park in a regular spot and walk just a little bit extra. That’s a healthy choice and just doing that is a win!
- Choose a healthier side dish. If you consistently get fries with your meal, just opt for something healthier. We all know that a side salad is a better choice than French fries so just substitute that once a week. Little changes add up over time.
- Consider walking to nearby destinations. Let’s say your favorite restaurant, or your post office, is a 0.75 mile walk from your house. Try walking there one time. Just doing that one time can help break down mental barriers that you have. If you can do it once, maybe you can do that a couple times per week.
What Have Other People Done To Achieve What You’re Trying To Do?
If you feel like you have an insurmountable health and fitness goal, there is probably someone who has done it. Seek out those people as inspiration.
This guy went from being morbidly obese in June 2013 to running one marathon every month by October of 2014. If your goal is less than running marathons, and you just want to get healthy it’s 100% possible to achieve. If you don’t end up running marathons, nobody cares you’re not a failure.
I was chubby my entire childhood. I was fat and out of shape. My diet was shit and my body showed it. But when I was 16 I started a journey towards transforming my body and becoming a person I never imagined possible. If you’re struggling just let these stories be an inspiration and validation that it can be done!
Choose Your Pain.
This concept was pretty empowering for me when I first heard it. The idea is that you can struggle in the gym, struggle to learn new things and then breeze through the rest of your life.
Or you can choose to not struggle through hard physical endeavors and difficult learning processes. But then you are choosing to allow the rest of your life to become difficult.
If you always avoid difficulty, pain, and struggle – you’ll never improve.
When you start to embrace the shitty feelings that you get from exercise, you’ll find yourself in control of your life. For example, if there isn’t a parking spot at the movie theater, you’re prepared. In fact, you’ll start to feel empowered to purposefully challenge yourself in other areas of your life.
If you have to walk around a building because of construction, you won’t get pissed. It won’t ruin your day. Because you’ve put the work in to be able to walk as far as you need to.
And then things compound. At first you’ll be able to walk to the mailbox. Then you’ll start to get strong and energized to carry your groceries into your house, even if you have to park a block away. Then you’ll be excited to help your friend move, because your body is perfectly equipped to do it.
Embrace The Pain of Being a Beginner
When people try something for the first time, they will generally not be good at it. And guess what…the only way that anyone has gotten good at anything is by starting as a beginner and slowly progressing.
So if everyone starts as an awkward beginner and fails over and over…Shouldn’t we SEEK to fail and then learn and grow?
When you first go for a walk around your neighborhood, or first decide to park a little farther away, the stakes seem really high because you’re not sure you can make it. You think you’ll get stranded somewhere and be too tired to walk back. But then you do it and you realize it wasn’t bad at all.
And if you fail and look like an idiot…nobody is judging you, no one thinks you’re stupid, and no one will get mad or put you down. In fact, when I’ve tried things and failed more people lean in to help me and support me towards achieving success.
When it comes to getting healthy and fit, one of the best things to do is to find people who can help you grow and improve. Fortunately a lot of healthy and fit people are kind of like obnoxious evangelical religious people. They have found the key to feeling good and leveling up and they are eager to share it.
Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals
Specific. Measurable. Achievable. Relevant. Time-Bound.
It’s so important that you define what success looks like or you’ll just redefine success to say you’ve reached your goal and give up.
Let’s say you’re starting at 300 pounds and your goal is to get to 200 pounds. Well there is one way you achieve success…getting to 200 pounds.
But you can’t just lose 100 pounds in the blink of an eye. You’ll need to put processes in place to empower yourself to reach that goal.
So set a specific health goal, and be willing to work towards it for a year–at least. Whether it is to walk 3 miles per day for an entire month or to lose 100 pounds – just set it and get it work.
Make your goal measurable. It’s important to know if you’re progressing and to know if you’ve achieved your goal. I like to set goals with hard measurable numbers. That’s why weight, body fat percentage, and daily steps all make good goals.
Set achievable goals! This is important for two reasons. When you set a goal and achieve it, you can leverage that momentum to continue to set the bar higher and achieve more. This is also important because if you set a goal that you know you can’t achieve, you’re far more likely to give up when you’re 25% of the way there.
Obviously you want your goals to be relevant, but in the context of health and fitness, you want to make sure that your goals are actually aligned with improved health and wellness outcomes. For example, if you set a goal to run 10 marathons in a year, you may destroy your knees, crash your hormones, and end up less healthy than before. Health is simple and for the most part we know what it looks like. So just make sure you’re actually working towards health.
Making your goals time-bound is one way that people set themselves up for big success or major failure. Setting a time horizon that is too short means you won’t have a realistic ability to reach your goal and you’ll give up. Giving yourself too much time may lead to you achieving far less than what you could realistically do if you compressed your time frame.
Thanks for reading!
Do you have someone in your life that you care about that could use help with their health and fitness? Pass this along to them. I wrote this specifically for those in my life that are trying to figure the whole thing out, but who might not know where to start.