Introduction

Introduction

Now more than ever, people are bombarded with information relating to health, wellness, fitness, and food.

With all of this information coming at us every hour of every day, it’s hard to know what information is legitimate, intended to actually help you, and what information is simply someone else’s efforts to  profit from your desire to improve on your life.

One thing’s for sure – we all want it to some degree or another.

So we ask ourselves questions like:

  • What exactly does that mean, to have a “healthy lifestyle”?
  • How do I get started?
  • How much is it going to cost me?
  • How much time will take?

Do any of these questions sound familiar to you?

One thing’s for sure, Rome wasn’t built in a day. In other words, as you embark on your own personal journey, remember that everyone starts at a different place and everyone finishes at a different time.

How long it takes will depend on how much time you are willing to devote to yourself; your body & mind, your personal goals, your life’s ambitions etc.

Change takes time.

Change is progressive.

You have to allow yourself to get used to the new things that will occur in your body and your life.

But most importantly, don’t be so judgmental or harsh on yourself.

Allow yourself the time it needs to affect permanent change. Expect highs and lows. They’re part of the process.

Remember, change is the only constant in life and with the proper foundation, you will realize change and you will succeed.

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.”

– Mary Anne Radmacher

What’s considered a “healthy lifestyle”?

There are many different ideas about what a healthy lifestyle is.  The responses given seem to correspond to one’s personal values and level of commitment to taking care of yourself.

For example: If you are Vegan, you might consider a healthy lifestyle to be one where the participants respect, not only the life of people, but also, the life of animals. That commitment to life is so strong, true Vegan’s will not eat anything that is “fleshy” i.e. comes from an animal or food products that are derived from fleshy foods i.e. eggs (because they come from chickens).

They may also be animal activists to one degree or another.  Their choice of exercise might be something soothing and relaxing like Yoga.  Those that do participant in more intensive workouts and lifestyles, find ways to maximize the food they eat in order to get the nutrients they need.

Don’t be fooled,  There are a lot of athletes who are Vegan and perform optimally.

Ultimately, a Vegan’s idea of a healthy lifestyle is going to involve strenghtening and nourishing the body in the most holistic way possible. At the same time, they will be more aware of how intricate the balance is between human beings and the world around us is.  They tend to have more respect for the gifts the planet gives in the way of food and life and they do their best to keep that balance in check.

What about business people – those who make up corporate America?  So many American’s lives are about multi-tasking and trying to achieve harmony and balance between work, their lives, and their relationships.

Many struggle with trying to find or create healthy, positive relationships at work while trying to stay balance about their lives and relationships outside of work… trying not to let one out-balance the other.

As successful as some of these folks may be, that struggle between life and work is very real for them.  It is that very struggle that also renders them amongst the largest group of people prone to sickness and chronic illness and death.  For the most part, many of them lack some of the essentials necessary to be able to say they live a healthy lifestyle.

In between these two examples of peoples lifestyles, there are hundreds if not thousands of people struggling to lead a normal, healthy life.

Here’s the thing – a healthy lifestyle is so much more than any one thing.

One who has a truly healthy lifestyle would be the person who has achieved balance, not between just food and work and play.  It would be someone who has learned and continues to learn how to create a positive flow of peace & contentment, fulfillment, enjoyment, satisfaction, control – I could go on forever – in their daily life.

Here’s the big mistake people make (myself included).

When we think of balance, we think of a situation such as when you “balance” your check book.  In the end, all parts must be equal.

But life is not equal.  All things are not the same nor do they carry the same weight in our lives because we are all individuals.  And depending on what stage of life you are in, how and even where you grew up, your job, your family (immediate and distant), the kind of food you eat, what you like to do for fun and what you like to do to relax.  All of these factors and others being taken into consideration, there is no such thing as equality.  It is almost impossible to achieve a sense of perfect balance.

The sooner we remove the idea of balance meaning all things equal, the closer we will move towards leading lives where we can experience accomplishment, joy, love, peace of mind, calm in our bodies.  It would be a life of reduced stress, of realizing that, sometimes, it’s OK to not be the best at everything all the time.  It’s OK if you need a break to relax and enjoy the day for what it is without any restrictions put on our time.  It’s OK to just be ourselves.

This is the beginning of achieving a healthy lifestyle.

 

Work/Life Balance – Is it real?

Here’s the thing – a healthy lifestyle is so much more than any one thing.

One who has a truly healthy lifestyle would be the person who has achieved balance, not between just food and work and play.  It would be someone who has learned and continues to learn how to create a positive flow of peace & contentment, fulfillment, enjoyment, satisfaction, control – I could go on forever – in their daily life.

Here’s the big mistake people make (myself included):

When we think of balance, we think of a situation such as when you “balance” your check book.  In the end, all parts must be equal.

But life is not equal.  All things are not the same nor do they carry the same weight in our lives because we are all individuals.  And depending on what stage of life you are in, how and even where you grew up, your job, your family (immediate and distant), the kind of food you eat, what you like to do for fun and what you like to do to relax.  All of these factors and others being taken into consideration, there is no such thing as equality.  It is almost impossible to achieve a sense of perfect balance.

The sooner we remove the idea of balance meaning all things equal, the closer we will move towards leading lives where we can experience accomplishment, joy, love, peace of mind, calm in our bodies.  It would be a life of reduced stress, of realizing that, sometimes, it’s OK to not be the best at everything all the time.  It’s OK if you need a break to relax and enjoy the day for what it is without any restrictions put on our time.  It’s OK to just be ourselves.

This, is the beginning of achieving a healthy lifestyle.

Now, under the section of your paper titled LIFE, write down all the things, places and people through the years, that have brought you the most joy, fulfillment, love, feelings of gratitude, peace, happiness etc.  But… none of it can be related to work/the job, or something that happened at work or even people from work.  If yoiu’re in a relationship with someone from work or related to someone at work or have developed close, underline close, true friendships with someone from work, it’s OK to include them but the thoughts have to be on things outside of work (the fun you had at the club last weekend after work doesn’t count!).

Once again, once you feel like you’ve written all you can and you’ve laughed, smiled and maybe even had a happy cry, you can stop writing.

Open your eyes.  Take a couple of deep breaths, letting the air out slowly.

Next, take your list and put a blank sheet of paper on top of it.  On the blank sheet of paper write, MY MEDITATION.

Yep, you just spent time getting in touch with yourself and your true feelings about your life and your work.

Meditation is a good practice and as you get more comfortable with it, you will be able to fine-tune it so that you will be able to meditate on anything you need to.  Example:  Should I take that promotion?  One side is the negative reasons and the other side is the positive reasons.  Take the time to really focus on both sides.

After a time, you will find it becomes an almost necessary part of your life/your daily routine.

But more importantly, it is the beginning of discovering your work-life balance.  Remembering again, not all things being equal.  The idea is to learn to find the balance between the absolutely necessary things that we must do, and balance them with the things which bring us the greatest joy and sense of accomplishment.  The things that keep us focused and keep our minds at ease, thus eliminating a large amount of the stress we carry around.

Oh and that list?  Use it as a reference, a sort of guide.  Try to draw on new experiences as well.  If there are things on your list that truly do need serious attention or consideration, make note of those and once again, meditate on the how and why and what is the best way to get them resolved.  If you learn to meditate on these things before you act, you’ll find solutions based, not on anger or resentment, but based on the truth of the situation.  There is where you will find peace.

Remember the Tortoise and the Hare

You remember the story – the Hare – quick, agile, “smarter” challenges the Tortoise – slow in movement, short legs carrying around a heavy shell as an added burden.  The Hare was always bragging about his speed.  The Tortoise grew tired of his constant bragging so he challenged the Hare to a race.
Because the Hare perceived the Tortoise as being slow, he decided to take a break, a nap on the side of the road because he thought he had time.

Unfortunately, that nap proved to be his downfall for while he was sleeping, the Tortoise stuck to his plan and kept diligently moving forward at a consistent pace.
And of course, by the time he awoke to continue the race, the Tortoise had long since finished.
Yes, yes, slow and steady wins the race.  But…is it really about being slow and steady?  Because let’s face it.  We have become people in want of immediate gratification, almost unwilling to pace ourselves. And in some instances, people will do whatever it takes to get it done yesterday!
In health and fitness, this means doing things like radical diets, plastic/cosmetic surgeries, supplementation, drinks, powders – the list goes on.

The truth is – lasting change takes time!  There’s no other way around it. That change isn’t going to come without consistency to whatever degree is required to make the change you’re trying to achieve.
Ex:  You can go and get gastric bypass surgery.  But if you don’t consistently follow the plan your doctor sets out for you to not only continue to lose weight but also to keep it off for life, everything you’ve paid thousands of dollars for will be undone so quickly, it’ll make your head spin.

Same thing with Liposuction or any other procedure.  If you don’t drink your water, keep your body flushed of toxins and do some form of activity that gets you moving (exercise) guess what?  Those hips/thighs etc. will just create new fat cells to replace the ones you spent so much money having sucked out.
We’re going for long-term, permanent changes OK?  Everybody’s race is different but the one constant is the same – consistency will win in the end.

Whatever you choose to pursue, to achieve lasting, permanent results, be consistent.

Maintain Your Focus

I always here professional lecturers,
consultants, coaches, and trainers talk about maintaining your focus.

I get it, I understand it.  It makes sense unless… you don’t have
something to focus on.

What do I mean when I talk about
something to focus on?

We all have people and things that
are important to us.  We all have things
we want to achieve whether personal, spiritual, financial or for a larger group
of your family.  These are the things
that drive us each day to be who we are and do the things we do.

But sometimes our focus can be
shifted, led in a different direction because of what’s going on around
us.  Life happens right? Some of those
things are out of our control and some of them, we can control.  Whether or not we choose to exercise that
control is a topic for another day.

See — focus temporarily shifted.

If you have something you’re focused
on then keep working towards that and remember that sometimes, even the best
made plans may need a little tweaking after a second look.

If you decidedly don’t have any
specific “project” you are focused on, that’s ok too.

But what if you feel like you are
just all over the place and can’t seem to focus on anything or don’t know what
to focus on first?

Everyone has something that’s
important to them or something they want to achieve no matter how big or small.

Here are some ideas to help you
re-organize your thoughts and potentially your life, to become a happier,
healthier, and more productive person.

*This applies to any aspect of your life where
you feel you may need more structure, have a plan to implement but just can’t
seem to give it the attention it needs/focus, or want to make changes.

  • Write it down
    • I wholeheartedly believe
      inputting pen to paper so that you can see what’s going on and where you
      may need to make changes or work on making improvements
    • Make two or three columns
      • The first column should
        be the why-why is this so important to you?
      • The second column is the
        benefits – what will be achieved, either again, personally,
        professionally, spiritually etc.
      • Third column – what
        happens if you don’t?  This can
        include anything from personally, financially etc. as well as
        emotionally (how does not achieving it make you feel – be truthful here)
  • Where does it rank in my
    life?

    • Is it a want, a need, or
      just a pleasure/something you’ve always wanted to do without any
      commitment to anyone or anything else except for your own personal
      gratification?

Now take your list and examine it carefully.  The things that you do for personal
satisfaction – are they affected by the thing(s) you must achieve?  Or can it be done regardless?

If it depends on the bigger goal, it can be used as an
incentive, encouragement to meet your goal.
But don’t let it be the driving force for you meeting that goal.

From that list you made, take the thing that is most important
for you to get done and put it aside for a moment.

Now look at what’s left.
Is there anything on that list that is important or even necessary to
achieve that ultimate goal?  If there is
some such item or activity(s), put them under your
the main focus, your highest priority, and rank them in order of most to least or
easiest to hardest to achieve.

Out of that list, is there anything that can’t be started on
right now because of money or the lack thereof?

Put it aside.  Thinking
about it and focusing on the fact that you can’t do it right now will only
serve to pull your focus away and leave you feeling sad, depressed, like a
failure etc.

Now, with everything left, choose the one that’s the easiest to
accomplish right now and make your plan to get it done.  Give it a realistic
time frame.  Look it over, decide
how long it will take to get it done based on what you know you have to do to
get it done.

For example:  if you have
some bills you need to pay off – be realistic about how much you can contribute
each month (this can be broken down even further into weekly or
bi-weekly).  Don’t commit to more than you can do.  Again, this will pull your focus away from
the task at hand.

Once it’s done cross it off your list and reward yourself in
some small way.  I’m not talking about running the debt back
up by buying those shoes you’ve always wanted.
Find something that doesn’t necessarily have a monetary value.  Go do something fun with your family or some
friends or have a movie or game night at your house with a few friends.

If you keep attacking those little tasks first and get them off
your list, you will start to train yourself to re-think how you reach the main
goal.  With each step, you will learn to
focus on only that one task at that time and not be distracted or even
discouraged or overwhelmed by the enormity of what you are trying to accomplish
in the end.

There will always be setbacks.
Don’t let them overwhelm you or distract you from the bigger
picture.  Focus on it, deal with it, and
once dealt with, move your focus back to the tasks at hand.

Keep the completion of the goal in your head.  Picture yourself already there and what life
is like now that you’ve hit that goal.
Don’t focus on the long road but rather, focus on the project at hand
that will move you forward down that long road to the end.

Remember – consistency
is the key.
  Focus on being
consistent in the moment that you find
yourself, with the task at hand.

What Lay Ahead?

At the beginning of our introduction,
we spoke about healthy lifestyles.

There’s not a person on earth today
who doesn’t want the most they can have for their life.  And although none of us is perfect, we can
all strive to be our best if we want to.

With that in mind, I will strive to
bring you the latest information on health & fitness.  Feature articles, some with varying opinions,
about the latest information and past information that is still beneficial.

Unless I create a special dish I’d
like to share, I won’t be sharing any meals that I’ve concocted, but I love to
share and receive recipes that I’ve either tried and are share-worthy or ones
that I’d like to try but haven’t gotten around to preparing.  Maybe you can try it and let us all know what
you think!

I want us to have fun, laugh, maybe
even shed a tear now and then, but all in the name of improving our lives and
moving forward towards our goals.

Think of it like shopping for a brand
new pair of sneakers.  You know what you
think you need, but there are so many choices and so much information, you
hardly know where to begin looking.

I hope to be able to guide you in the
right direction by breaking down the information, presenting options, and then
working with you to make the right choice and then use it to optimize your
skills and talents.

Here’s the beginning of an improved you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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