5 Things You Need To Start Doing—Today
• Consume complex carbohydrates throughout the day. Our bodies are extremely efficient at metabolizing carbohydrates for energy. Thus, it makes sense to consume complex carbohydrates (fiber and starches) throughout the day so that we have the energy we need to perform optimally as opposed to at night when we are most sedentary.
• Plan, plan, plan. Whether it’s planning and preparing meals ahead of time or planning workouts, planning is KEY to achieving our health goals. When we don’t plan, we set ourselves up to fail. Heidi Grant Halvorson, Ph.D. associate director for the Motivation Science Center at the Columbia University Business School and author of Nine Things Successful People Do Differently emphasizes focusing on what you will do rather than what you will not. Rather than focusing on what behavior needs to change, create a plan to replace that behavior.
• Choose whole foods. Avoid consuming processed foods whenever possible. Processed foods are packed with manmade chemicals and preservatives that are not natural to our body’s digestive and metabolic systems. Many digestive disorders, such as Irritable Bowl Syndromes, can be treated simply by consuming a whole foods diet.
• Avoid labeling foods as good or bad. Are you really going to never eat a slice of pizza again or be the person who refuses to eat their own birthday cake? Rather than putting foods off limit, consider what they do for your body. If they don’t do much aside from pleasuring the taste buds, limit them. Moderation is key. In fact, restrictive dieters are more at risk to develop binging habits.
• Reward yourself (but not with food, you aren’t a dog). Rewarding yourself for your accomplishments, big or small, helps to reinforce positive behavior. However, those rewards should not involve food which can counteract hard work. Treat yourself to a new workout shirt, a pair of dope kicks, a magazine subscription, etc.
We are told over and over gain how important it is to become a person comfortable in our own skin. The reality is however, that we live in a society that makes this extremely difficult. Social media facilitates feelings of inadequacy and lowered self-esteem. i.e. If Tom can afford to take his family to an all inclusive in the Caribbean, then I am not making enough. I’m not a good husband. I’m failing as a Dad. I’m not enough. These are real thoughts that cross our minds as we click through our friends most recent posts. But what if Tom and his wife sleep in separate rooms and barely speak? What if Tom is away on business more than he is home? In that case, are their children really happier?
Similarly, clients are constantly telling me they want to lose weight but when I ask them why-superficial reasons aside- they can’t always tell me. They’re going to a high school reunion or a wedding and so and so will be there. Who says there is something wrong with the way we look now? Side note: Americans are sick, and they are often sick because they are overweight. I wouldn’t be in the career I was if this was not the case. However, most of our concerns have very little to do with health until our health is compromised. We are consumed by this need to be enough. We constantly compare ourselves to others and guess what, people who appear to “have it all” usually do not.
Instead of focusing on looking like someone else, working a job you hate, or staying in a toxic relationship, get to know your body (what nourishes it, what doesn’t), take a painting class (if you like to paint), and if someone isn’t a contemporary mirror of yourself, let them go.
How well do you know YOU? Even more importantly, how well do you DO you? I work at this every single day. My career is not typical, neither are my priorities. This means that my life is going to look A LOT different from most of my generation’s. I have to constantly remind myself of this. However…over the last few years, I have gotten to know myself enough to know what my ambitions are and that if I am not pursuing them, I’m not truly happy. Stop looking to other people to make you feel whole and look within.