You’re busy. Each day you find yourself more heavily invested in life with higher expectations and more responsibilities. Stress is an ever-present factor, and with it, sometimes life seems to get in the way of truly living. This cycle is far too common in our society. It is the same cycle that leads to sedentary behavior and poor eating habits. From these habits come the sacrifice of health and what Jack Lalanne considered the most fundamental American tragedy. People are living longer but less able to participate in the activities they love. Said another way, life is measured in quantity not quality. The average lifespan is 85, but who cares when a majority of adults stop doing what they love by 60? There needs to be acknowledgement of the difference between living and existing. It is easier than one might think to invest in a life that favors living. All you need is a little attention to lifestyle.
Step 1: Change the Mindset
On January 1st, a large percent of the American population starts a ‘diet’. The overwhelming failure that often results is directly related to the terminology. A ‘diet’ has become a term to characterize a miserable and temporary action. That mindset sets you up to fail. Those who succeed are more interested in implementing ‘healthy lifestyle changes’. These are factors that can become routine for the rest of your life. The ability to customize and prioritize your diet, and create effective lifestyle changes, is best accomplished by working with a Registered Dietitian. Not only are they nutrition experts, they are trained to help you set and realize your goals. The best part is I know a local Private Practice Registered Dietitian if you need a referral!
Step 2: Find what works for YOU
A similar problem and solution exists with fitness goals. Instead of setting the goal of going to the gym 5 days per week, realize the ultimate goal of increased physical activity. Physical activity is a broad term with many outlets. Some people enjoy going to the gym for a formal workout 5-6 days per week, but that is the exception to the norm. Most people are unlikely to go to the gym that often for extended periods of time. Life gets in the way. This is when you need to explore areas of grey. Commit to a gym, but do so in a way that fits your schedule. 3 days per week at the gym for 45 minutes is manageable with any schedule, and with the help of a personal trainer or exercise physiologist, it can be enjoyable and rewarding. In addition to your gym membership, commit to participating in the physical activity you enjoy, or learning new ways of physical activity. Sports, recreation, and at home fitness options are available and easily at your disposal with the help of a personal trainer.
Step 3: Choose the Platform
Find a place designed to help you achieve a balance of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual priorities. This place will become the platform through which attention to lifestyle occurs. Use punching bags to spare your stress away; swish a game winning basket at your weekly basketball league; climb through your thoughts on a climbing wall; run away from health complications on the treadmill or at a local park; set a personal record on a lift; find the yoga tape that leaves you feeling flexible and at ease; see the results on your waistline with improved confidence and mental clarity. Everybody exercises differently, the key is to find what you want to do to improve your health and keep you accountable. Meet with a trainer, attend a local group exercise class, schedule a consultation with a Dietitian- Network!
Step 4: Figure out what you want to be doing at 65-75-85?
Nutrition and exercise regimens have had extreme makeovers in the last 15 years. Personalized health programs are now adaptable to fit your needs. The age of chicken and green beans alongside 60 minutes on an inclined treadmill for weight loss is dead. To look good and feel great you don’t need to live in a gym. You don’t need to be a chef or nutritionist. You definitely don’t need to go on biggest loser. I have many clients who lose more than a pound of fat a week amongst their busy schedules. They don’t spend two hours a day in the gym training, and they definitely don’t have to sacrifice good food and flavor. All they did is complete these 4 steps, and pay a little more Attention to Lifestyle.
Feel free to send me an email or visit my blog, pittsburgh-dietitian.com, to learn more about how you can begin paying better Attention to Lifestyle!