About 12 years ago I was sitting at my makeshift desk in an apartment in San Luis Obispo, California. I remember staring at the wall and realizing how depressed I was and how unprepared I was for the next phase of life. There I was with just 6 weeks until graduating college and I had no clear plan for after college and I was 30 pounds overweight. Needless to say, I was feeling pretty terrible about myself.
To make matters worse, I had a poison oak rash from my head to my toes. I remember thinking, how did I get to this place? The simple answer came to mind. I have terrible diet and exercise habits. Discipline and I parted ways months ago and my
The simple answer came to mind. I have terrible diet and exercise habits. I parted ways with discipline months prior and my sugar addiction took over. That’s how! After months of woe is me and bad habits, I resolve to change my habits. There’s just one problem, how t0 do it?
If you’ve ever been in a place of frustration with your health and fitness or your diet habits, these questions will help you make important changes.
What do your health and fitness habits look like?
Most people know the daily recommended amount of exercise is 30-minutes. This seems simple enough. But are you actually meeting this recommendation? If you are, good for you. But honestly, so what. If your diet habits aren’t healthy, it won’t matter. Exercise is only a small piece of your overall health. My main problem was my diet, not my exercise habits.
In order to lose the 30 pounds, I followed simple 4 part formula. First, stop eating dessert (in my case, it was for 90-days), go to bed at a consistent time, eat healthily and frequently (5-6 meals a day), and do something fun and active (I did something 5x per week). To recap this is what to do:
- Stop eating all that sugar (or whatever bad foods you eat too much of).
- Go to bed at a consistent time.
- Eat 5-6 meals a day.
- Do something fun and active several days a week.
By following this simple and very disciplined plan, I lost 30 pounds in 90 days. Which is about 2 to 2.5 pounds per week. Losing weight or changing habits is possible for you too.
What obstacles and barriers prevent a healthier lifestyle?
After reading through the 4 part plan, do you have objections? Let’s get at those objections by answering this question. What obstacles and barriers do you have in your life that prevent a healthier lifestyle?
First, the wording of this question is important. Not, what are your excuses to a healthier lifestyle? We are talking obstacles and barriers. Let’s get real about this. Step back for a few moments on this one. An obstacle is something that is literally in your way. Do you have anything or anyone that is stopping you from eating better and exercising more? Or do you just have excuses for why you don’t want to change?
If we are looking at obstacles as something or someone that is literally stopping you, let’s look at barriers from a mental standpoint. Are you telling yourself you can’t do it, you don’t have enough time or not enough money? If so, sorry, these are still excuses. In the next section will learn how to overcome these excuses with some creative approaches. Examples of real mental barriers would be a psychological fear of going to the gym or addiction to food or alcohol.
But if these examples aren’t your barriers, then all you really have are excuses.
How do you overcome your bad excuses?
Let’s answer this question with a question. What are 3-5 ways you can create accountability to exercise? To be successful in any endeavor we need support and accountability. It is no different with your health and fitness.
Take the time now to reflect on the people in your life that keep you accountable. Maybe it’s a spouse, close friend, parent, co-worker, boss, any number of people. These are the people to tap into for help in overcoming the bad excuses and improve your health and fitness. In order to lose 30 pounds, I had to rely on my roommates to keep me from eating sugary desserts and to encourage me to get out and exercise.
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What are your sleep patterns and habits?
This one is a no-brainer, but difficult to do. If we aren’t getting enough sleep or have bad habits of staying up too late, it will be very challenging to get up in the morning. With just about everyone and their mother claiming they don’t have enough time in the day to do everything, it is vital that we form healthy sleep patterns and habits.
Here are three things you can do to help you become a morning person and make up for the “lost time.” Start by being consistent with your bedtime. Second, create meetings and commitments early in the morning to keep you accountable to an early wake-up time. Finally, make sure to do fun stuff or things you look forward to when you get up.
What diet changes do you need to make?
Do you have a “sweet tooth” like I do? Maybe you eat too late at night or get up and snack in the middle of the night. Do you skip meals? You could be going out to eat too often. Can you think of any bad diet habits you have?
There are 100s of things we can do to improve our diets. But all that is a waste if we don’t stick to it. When I lost the weight, I made two simple changes to my diet. I cut out dessert-like foods and I ate 5-6 small meals a day. Find two things you can do to change your eating habits. These two small steps make it so much easier than trying to change everything about your diet.
Start improving your health and fitness now with this worksheet.
Evaluate your health and fitness habits. Take the time to learn what your health and fitness obstacles, barriers, and excuses are. When you do this, be real honest with yourself about what really is and obstacle or barrier and what is just an excuse. Next, find people to keep you accountable to your new approach to your health and fitness. Finally, create good sleeping and eating habits.