If you know me well or have consistently read my blog for the last twelve months, you know that my weight has always been an issue for me; from the time I was thirteen until now. I’ve always struggled with keeping it in check and making sure I never hit that dreaded “morbidly obese” category that health professionals warn us against. As I’ve gotten older it has become less about the number and more about my overall health as an individual from what I eat on a daily basis to how I feel about myself on every possible level.
In the last few weeks I’ve realized that once again I have gotten extremely off track with not only my weight, but my eating and exercise habits as well. I started out strong last year with nearly nine months of consistent exercise and healthy eating. Six months later I find myself falling into old habits that I thought I had kicked and facing numbers on the scale that reflect a lack of control when it comes to food intake.
With that being said I think that maybe it’s time to get back to basics and to ease myself back into the healthy lifestyle that I had become accustomed to so long ago. I thought it would be good to share with all of you some of the basic ways that I learned to maintain a healthy lifestyle; the things I picked up from teachers, doctors, the media, and The Hulk (my nutritionist) I was forced to see when I was thirteen. Over the years I’ve garnered a list of things that have undoubtedly helped in my battle against obesity and maybe they’ll help you too.
1. Hydrate! – A great many of us don’t realize the value of proper hydration. Water is the cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle. Experts say that we should be drinking eight ounces of water eight times a day. Most people, though, are nowhere near as hydrated at they should be, which in turn affects the body in negative ways and gives way to lethargy. Not only does proper hydration aid in maintaining the systems of the body, but it also acts a way to overcome cravings and keep your food intake in check. When you’re craving something unhealthy drink a tall glass of water. The liquid will fill you enough to at least minimize the craving, if not eliminate it altogether.
2. Walk It Off! – Most people are intimidated by idea of losing weight. The task seems daunting and beyond our reach. For those of us who are larger and have a long way to go in achieving a healthy lifestyle, the best approach is to get off the couch and start with the most basic form of exercise: walking. It’s low impact and requires little energy, but works the muscles and burns calories in the process. You don’t have to spend your time in the gym or go on a twenty mile bike ride; you just need to move. I think a great number of people don’t even realize how much weight they can actually lose and how great they could feel if they walked a couple extra miles a day. It’s also an inexpensive and beneficial way to spend time with friends and family.
3. Know Your Foods! – You don’t have to be a health professional or have in depth knowledge of every single thing that goes into your mouth. You should, however, understand what it is that you are getting out of some of the things you are eating. For instance knowing that bananas provide a great source of potassium, which helps with your muscles among other things. Or knowing that whole grains, due to the length of time that it takes for your body to digest them, keep you feeling fuller longer so you don’t eat as much during the day. It’s these little things that allow you to provide your body with what it needs without counting calories or looking at every single ingredient on the package.
4. Find Balance! – The key to a healthy lifestyle is without a doubt finding balance in what we eat and what we do on a daily basis; finding balance with work, school, and our personal lives. A great deal of my own personal struggle comes from finding balance in all aspects my life. I dedicate so much of my time to my family, my work, and my individual hobbies that I often neglect my health. Time and time again I have to fight to find a balance so that I stay on track with my weight and how I feel about myself both inside and out.
5. Find The Fun! – The best way to approach a healthy lifestyle is to find an activity that is fun and keeps us active simultaneous. We see all these ads nowadays about just getting up and moving and there is definitely something to be said about that. It’s a matter of finding something you enjoy and using that as a way to stay healthy. For me biking, hiking, and rollerblading are fun. They keep me active and provide me with a means of exercising beyond the gym. Find something you love and apply it to your daily routine.
6. Become A Stair Master! – We’ve all become so comfortable with elevators that a great many of us completely forget about the fact that stairs work just as well in getting us to where we need to go. Not only do they work several muscles simultaneously, but they get the blood pumping and the body moving. Next time you’re in a place with elevators and are only traveling maybe a floor or two, opt to take the stairs.
7. Park It! – Let’s be honest: when we go to the supermarket or mall we try to find parking spaces as close to the front door as possible. It cuts down on how far we have to walk to and from the building and goes hand in hand with the laziness that some of us have become accustomed to. A few years back I made the conscious decision to start parking quite a distance away from the entrance to any building. It forces me to walk further and exert myself in a minimal way. To this day I still do it and feel as if it helps in some small way. On a side note it also makes it easier to get out of the parking lot because you’re not trying to move around other cars and pedestrians as much.
8. Know Your Body! – I think it’s important to understand what your body is capable of when trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle. So many of us over-exert ourselves at the gym or make choices about our health based on what we’re told rather than what we intrinsically know of ourselves. Only you can know your body in the way that you need to in order to maintain the lifestyle that you want. While I hate the idea of places limitations on myself, I know without a doubt what I am capable of because I have pushed myself quite considerably in the past. I know what exercises work for me and what foods I need to be eating. With that being said I can make conscious decisions that benefit me and avoid decisions that would negatively impact my health.
9. Add And Subtract! – So many people think that the key to losing weight is to simply cut the calories. It’s so much more than that. Most people even think that they should be eating less when losing weight when in most cases they should be eating even more! It’s a matter of adding what you need and subtracting what you don’t. It all comes down to choosing the right foods and eliminating the things that only negatively affect you in the long run.
10. Ditch The Downers! – As I’ve said before, health is more than just the number on the scale or the food you put in your mouth. Health is how you feel about yourself as a whole person. It all begins with surrounding yourself with the people who believe that you can do anything; the people who support you every step of the way through your triumphs and your struggles. There will be so many struggles along the way and many times you’ll want to give up. You need to have people in your corner who will stand by you. Ditch the downers and remind yourself that those who bring you down are not only not worth your time, but hindering your progress both health-wise and in life. Respect yourself enough to let them go.
Everything I have mentioned involves choices; choices that we all must make on a daily basis. These choices reflect who we are and what we want out of life. Decide what you want, how you are going to get it, and what you are willing to do to reach for the life that you want and deserve. I hope these back to basics tips will help you like they continually help me. If you liked this post share it on Facebook or Twitter. You can also “Like” me or “Follow” me if you so choose with the social network plugins at the top of the page. Thanks for stopping by.
Until next time…stay classy.
– C.M. Berry