How To Start 2016 Out Right

Here we are, another January and another chance to set goals for the new year.  As much as I and others talk about skipping resolutions because they just don’t work, I see so many posts on social media from friends and even former clients about their resolutions to eat healthy, exercise more, stress less, etc.  It seems we can’t get out of the mindset or the habit of making resolutions in January.

What if this year, we change that mindset or habit along with the idea that we have to achieve some level of perfection when it comes to eating right and exercising?  What if we start 2016 by throwing out the idea that we have to join a gym, or commit to some brutal exercise class or program that we don’t really like and we know we won’t be doing a year from now in 2017?

This year, let’s resolve to have balance in our life.  Let’s think of exercise in terms of movement.  Let’s think of “diet” in terms of fueling our body instead of depriving ourselves or giving in to emotional eating.  Let’s think of HEALTH.

Many of us have sedentary jobs, families at home, older parents to take care of, financial stresses, or a number of other commitments that will take priority over the $60 a month gym membership.  Instead of stressing ourselves over the fact that we are “donating” $60 a month because we can’t get to the gym every day, how about we take a walk every day?  It may be on our lunch break, it may be in the morning before everyone is awake and the day has started, it may be at the end of the day to relieve stress.  Is the weather bad where you live?  Find an indoor track, or create a walking path in your house.  Yes, walk in your house.  Put on headphones with your favorite music and walk for 10 minutes.  So what if the dog or the kids are making faces at you!  You’re moving and improving your health.

Do you spend at least 5 minutes before you go to bed checking your phone, email, or Facebook?  Shut off the electronics, and spend that 5 minutes stretching or doing yoga instead.  It will reduce stress, relax your mind and body, and help you to sleep better.  You’re moving and improving your health.

Are you an all day coffee or soda drinker?  Follow each cup of coffee or can of soda with a glass of water.  You may find that you start drinking just the water and cutting back on the soda.  You’re improving your health.

Will you be perfect at these changes?  Of course not, but you will start thinking differently.  Instead of not being aware of how much you haven’t moved, you will begin to think, “I haven’t gone for my walk today”.  That awareness is improvement.  Will something such as illness or work deadlines get you off track? You can count on it!  However, you will start your routine again as soon as you can and not feel defeated or give up. Will you have too much dessert or too much wine?  Probably, but it isn’t the end of the world or the end of your health goals.  Just get back on track.

A healthy lifestyle isn’t about perfection.  It is about making small changes, awareness, and letting go of ideals that never really worked. Start today by looking for opportunities to move.  Walk to your co-worker’s desk instead of emailing her.  March in place tonight while you are watching the news.  Drink one more glass of water than you did yesterday.  Start 2016 out right, but in a way that you don’t have to start all over again in 2017.

Movement Counts!

If you’ve struggled with exercise motivation and adherence, I highly recommend the book “No Sweat” by Michelle Segar, PhD. She hits the nail on the head about why so many of us hate exercise and struggle to stick with a program. It’s not you, it’s our rigid standards and ideas of what qualifies as “exercise” and the messages behind why we think we need to exercise which is usually based on shame and guilt.

One of her ideas I love is “Movement Snacks”. Just like you may have a snack if you’re hungry but it isn’t time for a full meal, a movement snack is a small bout of movement. Even if it’s 5 minutes, it counts! In our sedentary world, we have to think about moving more, find activity we enjoy, and stop thinking we HAVE to participate in a sweaty, exhausting workout at the gym for 30-60 minutes for it to count.

As a trainer for 20+ years, I see so many struggle and fail because they truly hate what they feel like they HAVE to do and WHY they have to do it, which is based on standards we as professionals are taught to implement. This book focuses on the psychology behind motivation and why we need to rethink our ideas, standards, and reasons WHY. I’ve been trying to teach this idea that all movement counts despite all of the media messages of what is “exercise”. I’ve even had to reevaluate my personal standards! If you’re a health or fitness professional, I also recommend “No Sweat” so we can get our clients motivated for the right reasons, stop shaming, and help to change their lifestyle permanently.


The Costs Of Health

Many of you have made your health a priority if you are reading this blog.  However, there are many more who are still contemplating making positive changes to your lifestyle, perhaps you just don’t know where to start.

One of the comments that I hear frequently is that it is too expensive to join a gym or work with a personal trainer.  I completely understand in this economy that we want to be cautious of how we spend our money. However, I want to make a few cost comparisons and break down these costs for you.

On average in my location, many gyms charge around $40-$50 per month for a membership.  Personal training can cost from $30 to $70 per session. That may sound expensive.

However, most of us do not think twice at buying a carryout pizza once a week.  The average cost per month for a carry out pizza is $48 if you order one pizza per week.

Perhaps a sit-down restaurant is more your style. Expect to spend a minimum of $40 per week for
two people to eat out.  Average cost per month, $160.

To get a little more serious, let’s look at the cost of medications for high cholesterol. One medication sells for $75 for a 30 day supply.  It is easy to spend at minimum $100 per month on prescriptions for many conditions which are preventable through exercise and a healthy diet.

Now, I am not saying these medications are bad or one should not take them if needed.
However, they are costly.  $40 per month for a gym membership or $30 to improve your health with a personal trainer does not sound like much when looking at these cost comparisons.

Better yet, exercise doesn’t have to cost anything. Simple exercises such as walking, biking, or doing
bodyweight exercises in your home are free and can benefit both your body and your brain.

You will pay for your health one way or another. You will either pay high insurance and medical costs, or pay for a healthier lifestyle. Make wise decisions and invest in your health.