Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Staying resolved

So everyone, how are those New Year's resolutions coming?
We are after all, coming up on the end of that first month. I am of course talking about those of you who have made resolutions to lose weight, shape up, or just live healthier.

This is the time each year that I see people giving in, giving up or just conveniently forgetting about the whole thing. Soon those excess crowds in the gym will start to significantly dwindle and the volume on the workout floor calms down to more normal levels.

It's hard isn't it? Having to deny yourself, avoid the good stuff and and constantly keep putting in the work. Especially when your goals seem so far away sometimes. It seems so long before you can stop all this and just start enjoying yourself again.

Then again, maybe that's the problem. If you're looking at this as a means to an end, if you're thinking that once you lose X amount of weight or get yourself down to a size what ever, then you can give up this diet crap and stop going to the gym, then you're setting yourself up for failure.
Worse yet, you may be setting yourself up for yo-yo dieting. You know, the practice of losing weight on some sort of a diet then gaining it back again then doing the diet or some other diet and losing it again so that your weight is going up and down repeatedly. Many health professionals consider this to be even less healthy than just being consistently overweight. I'm no doctor but at the very least it seems like a waste of effort me.

If you want to get healthy, I mean really get healthy, lose the weight you want to lose and keep it off then you're going to have to get beyond the idea of temporary solutions. To be a healthy person you need to adopt and embrace unhealthy lifestyle. This doesn't mean giving up forever things like pizza and beer and pasta Alfredo and chocolate cake or ice cream or any of the other things you may love to to indulge yourself with.

What it does mean is you're going to have to start living at a calorie deficit, a reasonable calorie deficit, until you get down to the weight you want to maintain. You're going to have to incorporate healthy food into your diet on a regular basis and you're going to have to move your body in order to burn calories and maintain your muscles and support a healthy cardiovascular system. Did you know that as you get older, past the age of 30, your body you will slowly but steadily lose muscle mass year after year unless you stimulate the growth of new muscle tissue through exercise. When you lose muscle mass your body with burns less calories and you are then able to eat less without gaining unwanted weight.

I know, none of this sounds like good news. However if you approach it reasonably and with a positive attitude you'll find that there is a lot and I mean a lot of really delicious food is good for you out there.
Also, there are plenty of ways to burn calories and exercise your body that can be extremely fun. It's all a matter of thinking about what you enjoy doing that active and get your body moving your muscles working and your heart pumping. Do enjoy cycling, hiking, playing volleyball, yard work or swimming? Perhaps there's some game or activity you haven't tried yet or used to enjoy years ago but hadn't done a long time. Fortunately now with the Internet it's easy to find activities and groups around us that might actually be quite fun as well as healthy.
Enjoy volleyball? Then Google volleyball and your town and see if there any groups around you can join. Want to start running but don't want to do it alone? Go to meetup.com and look for running groups in your area. Actually, meetup.com is a great resource for finding groups to help you with all aspects of losing weight, being more active and just getting healthy.

As far as the food part goes, There are tons of books available and recipes on the Internet for lower calorie but quite delicious food. And yes, as I work more on this blog and begin to flesh things out I will be giving you some strategies and tips to help you put together easy and tasty food that also just happens to be good for you; even if you "don't cook". You'll just have to ask you to be patient with me for now and keep in mind that this blog is sort of an experiment for me and I'm just figuring out how I want to do this.

For now, as we near the end of the first month of the new year, I would ask you to reframe in your mind but that resolution you made four short weeks ago. Instead of focusing on all the foods you are not allowing yourself to eat, at least not nearly as much, anymore; think in terms of the wonderful vegetables and fruits that you rarely eat that you want to start incorporating more regularly into your diet.
Instead of dreading having to force yourself to work out, start thinking about active things you can do that might actually be fun for you. After all, people often talk about wishing children would spend more time outside playing; maybe it's time you incorporated some more play in your life as well.

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