The New Year is upon us again. Rapidly fading are the days of making resolutions and I am happy to welcome the new era of setting goals. A resolution is an idea that is whimsically made and thought about only for a short time until the smallest of adversities show a person why it cannot be achieved. A goal, on the other hand, is an idea that is written in figurative concrete, to be achieved, no matter what and most certainly can be realized long past two months after it was set, which seems to be the timeline for the abandonment of a resolution.
What’s your goal? What do you REALLY want? Losing weight is often a No. 1 goal for many in the New Year. Let’s touch on that today to get you going.
First, we are what we eat. You eat junk, your body will perform only on junk fuel. This will include limited mental capability, fuzzy thoughts, poor sleep, sluggish, poor motivation and creativity etc. Which means that your potential for being the best human you can be in life and work is limited, by what you eat. If you eat well with mostly foods that are not processed, then you are ahead of the curve and already on your way to having a healthy strong slender body. Here’s the other thing, the curve, what other people do, how they look, that’s not important to you. Your goal is about you, what makes YOU feel good. WHY do you want this? The more passion you have about your WHY, the more success you will realize. Let's segue briefly and talk to you ladies specifically. I was talking to my trainer just today about how women and especially moms, have a hard time identifying their WHY. This is really really important. Your WHY will be what drags you through a particularly hard day or allows you to say "No" to your used-to-be-favorite junk food, with conviction and pride. Listen up ladies: your WHY is about you. Only you. It's the time when it's perfectly awesome to make no mention of your spouse or children. Will your WHY possibly positively impact them? Very likely. Give yourself permission to really identify what losing these pounds are about. Your WHY might benefit others but it's about you. There. No guilt necessary.
What you eat and put into your body must be a lifestyle, it must be something you can sustain. I am a huge fan of eating real food to return to health. After all, the way you have been eating got your body where it is. Naturally, working with your body to learn new food and the way your body likes to eat fresh food, is a perfect way to not only lose the weight but have healthy habits to maintain it once you have met your goal. During your food discovery journey, if you get a stomach ache or headaches when you eat dairy, gluten or anything else, cut it out and see if your body likes that. It's your body, do what makes it feel good. If you are going to do a popular diet to lose your weight, the whole time you are losing, you need to be planning your life after that plan. You need to be working with your trainer and mentor to learn what new sustainable lifestyle you will incorporate after your weight is lost so you can live forever healthy. This isn't a game. It's life and much more fun than a game because you write your own rules.
Now that you have your food fuel figured out, let’s move on to exercise. There are two main pieces to exercise, cardio and weight training. Cardio brings the heart-rate up, pumps the blood and is great for the heart, body and fat burn. If all you ever do is cardio, you will need to make sure to continue a cardio schedule always to get your calorie burn. Weight training builds muscle, which increases our caloric burn while we are resting, as well as builds bone density, which we all need to continue to be strong long into advanced years of life. Weight training is brilliant because on top of all the health benefits, once you've created a foundation of strength, muscle has been replacing your fat and your weight becomes a more stable factor. What I mean is that when you have an occasional event that might have made you gain five pounds and leave it on, now that you have muscle working for you, you may have your event, immediately go back to your new healthy lifestyle, and before long, your weight will re-stabilize to where it was before the event.
Now I am grossly oversimplifying the science here but let’s tie it together. I’ve been training with Jo at Jo’s Fitness Garage in Mankato, Minnesota for more than two years. She knows the human body, exercise and food psychology better than anyone I know. When I am with her twice a week for 30 minutes, two things are happening, I am building muscle AND getting in some serious cardio. You may be new to my story, I’ll catch you up. In May 2016 I broke eight vertebrae of my spine in a horse-riding accident. Before the accident I wasn’t in great shape or strong, but I was healthy. During the three-month healing time I lost much of the muscle that I had and was left feeling blessed to be alive, yet weak, very weak. That’s when I found Jo and vowed to become strong and stay strong for the rest of my life! Alas, my WHY was born and the motivation to stick with it. Did I know how to lift weights and what to do? Nope, but Jo did. No two workouts are alike and I guarantee you this, I would not push myself the way she does. I’m saying that if it were just me in the gym, I might quit when the repetitions get hard but with Jo there, she knows exactly what I can handle. I LOVE going to the gym because of her. Also, I know my body now and can create my own workouts when I'm on the road or want an extra workout.
Initially I was going to Jo to become strong. I didn’t realize that I was giving myself more than strength and elegant muscling. I was giving myself a better, more loving self-image. I am a confident, capable woman… who has had a negative body image and self-talk since I was a young girl. It doesn’t make sense, it can’t be rationalized but if losing weight is a goal for you, I bet you have or have had a negative self-image at some point. I'll tell you how I know this. People who love themselves feed themselves the food fuel that their bodies want and exercise and stay strong because they enjoy how it makes them feel because deep down, they know they deserve it. They know that these things come first, then beyond that they can fill their schedules as they wish. Our bodies are the temples that allow our lives to be lived.
My husband, Chris, has been wanting to become healthier. His WHY related to high blood pressure and wanting to be around for his family for many years to come. Jo (who also trains my gorgeous guy) started a two-month weight lose challenge at her gym to end December 17. During the two months Chris, on top of training with Jo twice a week, added in some cardio, kept up with his water consumption, cut out the crap including alcohol except occasionally and only gave his body what it wanted. He started exercising portion control. He had a goal to be healthy and decided he wasn’t going to make excuses anymore. During the two months, he had Thanksgiving, a trip to Ecuador and numerous Christmas parties. He almost didn’t begin because he looked ahead and didn’t think it would even be worth it. During the challenge lost 23 pounds, his blood pressure is now significantly lower AND he won the challenge! He had every excuse he needed to rationalize why he couldn’t. Instead he set a goal and decided he could. I'm proud of him. Most importantly though, Chris is proud of himself.
What lifestyle change will serve you this coming year? What goal have you been wanting to accomplish? Why not now?
What do you REALLY want? Set a goal and go get it, no matter what. You don’t know how? Go hire someone who does. Surround yourself with a supportive team and people who care about you. Start or continue your food fuel, weight lifting and cardio regime.
You can do it, and yes, you are worth it.
Here is my favorite book on health and food.
The author was not compensated in any way by Jo, Jo's Fitness Garage, nor Medical Medium.