If living a “fit life” were easy, everybody would do it. Most often it requires a change of lifestyle and it is hard work! Being fit and healthy will help you live a longer, happier and more fulfilled life. It helps you get more and better sleep, increases energy levels and minimizes trips to the doctor. Most importantly, it helps provide a sense of well-being that comes from knowing you, and your body, are functioning at 100 percent. I encourage you to give it your best effort (no one is perfect), because the benefits of living a fit life are endless.
Here are nine of my secrets for living the Fit Life.
1. Set a measurable and attainable goal.
This is also one of the most important steps for staying motivated. Make sure the goal you set can be measured. For example, instead of saying, “I want to lose weight” say, “I want to lose 10 pounds by September 1st.” A lot of people want to lose weight, and that is great, but how much do you want to lose and by when? A goal must also be attainable. So trying to lose 50 pounds in a month is not very realistic. Setting your sights too high can lead to frustration and disappointment.
2. Exercise at least one hour a day.
This may seem like a lot to some people, but I honestly do not believe America does enough physical activity. Thirty minutes of moderate exercise several times a week (government recommendations) may not even be enough to burn off the Whopper most people ate for lunch. It doesn’t matter if you swim, bike, lift, climb, hike, ski, jump rope, do Zumba or chop wood, just get your body moving and your heart rate increased at least one hour a day.
3. Eat foods from every food group.
Include healthy foods such as fruit, vegetables, dairy, whole grains and protein in your diet. Choose vegetables that are a variety in color. Also eat more legumes such as cooked pinto beans, black beans, chickpeas and lentils, as they are a great source of fiber. Consume dairy that is low in fat or fat free. Eat whole-grain foods such as rice and oats along with other complex carbohydrates like yams and sweet potatoes. The meats and fish you eat should contain little fat and be baked, broiled or grilled instead of fried. I encourage you to cook your own meals so you know what is going into the meal and how it is prepared.
4. Limit your consumption of sugar, saturated fats and high-sodium foods.
Consuming excess sugar and fat can lead to weight gain. According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, sugar contains no nutritional value, but it does contain calories and those calories add up very quickly. Sugar is hidden in many of the foods we eat on a daily basis, so be sure to check your nutrition labels. Eating less processed foods (in bags and boxes) will also decrease the amount of sodium you consume. Less salt will help your body maintain a healthy blood pressure level.
5. Drink more water. Most of us don’t drink enough water.
Water is essential for our body to function— more than 60 percent of our body is made up of water! Water is needed to carry out our body functions, remove waste, and carry nutrients and oxygen around our body. Since we lose water every day through urine, bowel movements, perspiration and breathing, we need to replenish our water intake. I recommend drinking one gallon per day.
6. Get your beauty sleep.
Sleep is crucial when living the fit life. Seven to eight hours per night is recommended. Sleep helps repair your body, increases your longevity, improves your memory and reduces stress. Rest up!
7. Reduce your stress levels.
Try to take a 10- to 15-minute break a few times during the day. Recharge your mind and take a deep breath. It is easy to get overwhelmed with our fast-paced lives. Try meditation, yoga, sit on the back porch and read a book, or meet a friend for coffee.
8. Purge negative people from your life.
Positive mental health is an important part of a healthy life. You don’t need toxic people in your life. If you feel that a friend is overly critical or negative, limit your time with them as much as you can. Instead, surround yourself with thoughts and actions from people who will empower you. From being uninspired and de-motivated, you will begin to feel uplifted and driven to greater self-growth.
9. Purge negativity from yourself.
Common negative talk involves telling yourself, “I can’t.” When you say to yourself “I can’t” or “It is too difficult,” you are creating a resistance. Having such a mental block will prevent you from achieving a task you could otherwise succeed at. Any time you catch yourself saying, “I can’t…” turn around and challenge your own claim with, “Why can’t I?” Research shows that one reason most geniuses become the people they are is because of the hard work they put in. So if you would like to be successful, you need to start saying “I can” a lot more.
I don’t expect you to implement all of these at once, but I do encourage you to make a conscious effort to improve on the areas you may be slacking. I am always working on getting more sleep, drinking enough water, and reducing my stress levels. We will always be a work in progress. Stay focused, believe in yourself, and you can achieve anything.
Until next time, keep living the Fit Life!