A healthy lifestyle: Expectation versus reality

Header image for Interrobang article CREDIT: THINKSTOCK (GRADYREESE)
Living a healthy lifestyle isn't something that can happen overnight, but with time and patience, it is possible to get there.

The holidays are over. You tried your best to make it to the gym and you tried to hover by the veggie tray at all the parties in hopes you would make the right choice.

Some of you succeeded for the most part and some of you failed miserably, at least by your own expectations. It happens.

Whether you believe in New Year’s resolutions or not, the New Year seems like a great time to get back on track or to start something new and start feeling good about yourself, feeling confident, energetic and refreshed. So what is standing in you way? What is holding you back?

So many people fail at starting new that they are consistently “getting back at it”. You train hard, then something happens and then you are inconsistent or stop all together. You either get back at it weeks, months or years later, or keep searching for the latest and greatest hoping it will have different results.

Everyone is holding out hope for a magic pill that will make them thinner, fitter, healthier, happier, etc. and scientists are working on all of these but unfortunately it can’t all go into one pill and they will all agree that there will never be something that works just by taking the pill/supplement. There will always need to be some amount of human effort. There are too many variables to our bodies and lifestyle that one pill will not be unique enough for everyone.

This is also the issue with restrictive diets. They don’t work long-term for everyone because our bodies are made differently, we live in different environments, cultures and our daily lives are different. You have to do what works for you and not what worked for your friend.

I know you want it to be easy. It’s not easy, but it can be simple. Here are the top five ways you can be successful in 2019:

Always have your gym clothes ready and packed. If you can come dressed in your gym clothes to school or work, do that and bring a change. Invest in a lock, towel, arm band for your phone, and get everything packed the night before. Don’t ever let yourself have the excuse of forgetting your gear. Pack it or wear it and put it at the door or in the car. If you can’t carry it all day, keep it in the gym locker and then take it with you at the end of the day.

Write your workouts into your schedule at times that you know will work. You might have to get in a couple sessions in a day if you only have a short amount of time for work. Don’t make the excuse of only having half an hour. There are loads of great express workouts that can leave you feeling like you just put in a hardcore 90 minutes. Don’t pressure yourself to workout at the same time everyday if you have a sporadic schedule. Find pockets of time and use them.

Focus on vegetables. Choose meals and snacks based on vegetables first and then add lean meat or protein rich plant foods, healthy fats and fibre rich, colourful carbohydrates. Ditch the chips, breads, donuts, cookies, crackers and anything over processed. Eat some thing in the morning hours, midday and evening and give yourself 10 hours or more between evening to morning for eating.

Get adequate sleep. Aim for seven to nine hours a night and try not to lay around and sleep in. You body will feel more lethargic and stiff this way. Get up and get moving. It doesn’t have to be a morning workout if that not your thing but get up and get your blood flow going to awaken your senses and ignite your energy.

Practice mindfulness. When faced with a choice, ask yourself: do I need this? What will it do for me? How will I feel afterward? Is it the most important to me right now? Will it benefit me and others? What can I do instead? What will make the outcome positive?

What else would you add to this list? Make your goals unique to you! Have you signed up for your free orientation at the Student Wellness Centre yet? We will talk a light your goals and set you on the right track. You can also get a team together for our Biggest Winner challenge and choose from several goals including strength, weight loss, stress reduction, improved athleticism and more. It’s a fun, challenging way to “get back at it” with some friendly competition and accountability. Sign up before Jan 21. We also have our annual Group Ex Challenge starting now for your chance to win lots of prizes.

Karen Nixon-Carroll is the Program Manager at Fanshawe’s Fitness Centre.