In a world of instant gratification, it is very easy to choose fast and convenient foods over healthy, nutritious ones that nourish your body from the inside out. It is easy to sit and watch your favorite TV show instead of taking that same half hour of time and sweating it out for a good workout.
The secret to leading a long, healthy life? Make small, smart decisions about the food you put into your body and how much activity you get each day that will, over time, turn into a habit.
Get the Slight Edge on Your Health
What I’m going to talk about is inspired by a book I just finished called The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson. I happened to enjoy what I read very much, from which I’m borrowing the following ideas. I will delve into a more in-depth review of the book later if you’re interested in a book that could literally transform your life, but for now, I really want concentrate on the health transformation portion.
I first want to begin by letting you know that my website is not just here to help you lose weight quickly – while that’s always a goal I want to help people attain, it’s more about long-term success for me. How long will your results last – the rest of your life? Or, will your previous unhealthy habits just be something you fall back into within a few months?
My goal, and the purpose of my website, is to help you live a long and healthy life free from aches, pains, and other ailments that accompany old age by just from making the right dietary and exercise choices each and every day. I want you to live a long, healthy life for your family and friends. Whether you begin doing this with one of the terrific workout programs I’ve reviewed or not is up to you.
Change Doesn’t Happen Overnight
This is something important to remember that I can’t stress enough when people freak out a little if they don’t look any different after following a workout program for a week. They wonder if it’s worth their time and effort to continue. Of course, my answer is always yes, and here is why:
Real change doesn’t come quickly – it is impossible to develop healthy habits overnight unless you are the only person on earth with fail proof willpower. The good news is that there are small, easy-to-make decisions you can make that will turn into habits over time, but it’s entirely unrealistic to expect a lifetime worth of bad choices to disappear entirely after two weeks of working out, which is why so many people get frustrated when they don’t see results quickly – and then they quit, which is heartbreaking.
Think about it this way: how long did it take you to gain the weight or turn into a couch potato? Then why on earth do we expect it to go away in two weeks?! It’s just not possible.
Real, life altering habits take time – they say it takes eight weeks to turn something into a habit, but I really feel like it’s a longer, more conscious effort. You don’t have to drop everything unhealthy cold turkey and go from eating junk food to eating only whole foods, because the little changes and simple, wise food choices you make day to day, continuously over time are the ones that will last and have an affect on your future.
After all, who won the race in the end – the tortoise or the hare?
Finish the Winner
Finish your own health and fitness journey as the winner long-term, for the rest of your life. The greatest gift we’ll ever receive is life, and one of the easiest controls we have over our lives is our health. So, treat your body as the temple it is and embark on a healthy for life journey today.
I know this is a step off from my normal articles, but I’m sharing this with you, so you can continue to reap the benefit of the healthy decisions you make long after your exercise program is finished. It should never just be about losing weight alone, it should be about transforming you health and living a long, prosperous life. I’m not saying to not begin by wanting to better your physical image or feel better about how you look, but also consider your health in the future. Not just three months from now, but ten, twenty, thirty years ahead.
Changing Your Health is Easy?
I know this definitely does not seem like an easy concept to grasp if for your entire life, you’ve cracked open a bag of chips when you’re hungry instead of looking in the fridge for something healthy, if you’ve ever try to go on a fad diet, or if you’ve ever tried to eat healthy.
Trust me, I’ve been there and done that. You know those little Cadbury eggs they sell at Easter time? Well, in the past if I was hungry, I would eat at least half a bag and then not eat dinner. I probably ate at least three bags during that time of year. Well, it didn’t have an affect on me then, so why worry? Now, I might still buy a bag for the entire Easter season, but I only eat a small handful – the recommended serving size cut in half.
Stop Making Excuses or Blaming Others
You are in total control of your own health – no one else is, so start making decisions for your future success whether it be your health and fitness or any other aspect of your life. If any of these common excuses sound like you, please take the advice to help better your health and fitness:
- I don’t have enough time to eat healthy or exercise: This used to be one of my favorites when I was working 10 hour days on top of a two hour commute. If this is you too, then I recommend planning your meals on Sundays, so that during the week when you’re crunched on time, you have plenty of healthy food and snacks to grab. And really…not enough time to exercise?! Even if you are working ten hour days, I bet you could find time (maybe even after the kids are in bed?) to get in at least one half hour. And I’m not saying it’s easy working and finding time to work out, but you can do it 0 you just need to MAKE the time. Even without pre-cooking , how long does it really take to clean celery and cut it up for quick snack? Five minutes? Maybe 10 if there’s a lot? But really, don’t ever blame the time it takes to chop up celery for a snack as a reason you’re not eating it instead of Doritos.
- I can’t afford to eat healthy: Really bad excuse. Eating healthy is actually less expensive than eating not-so-healthy. Let’s face it, how much is that frozen pizza now? Some are close to $10! That’s more than an organic pound of chicken breast or lean beef steak. Just think how many apples you could purchase for the price of a bag of Doritos. I like to watch for lean protein sales and buy in bulk…especially if you have a very tight budget. I also like large bags of carrots, celery and radishes to eat for snacks.
- I’m too tired at the end of a long day to exercise or make meals: Again, this part of this can be solved by making your meals ahead of time, but it is a very common excuse – used to be one of my favorites. The way to solve the other end of this dilemma – eat a protein bar on your drive home from work. It will give you enough energy to help fuel you through your workouts. You just have to schedule that workout time into your day.
The Secret is to Focus on Every Harmless Decision
Think that donut isn’t going to hurt you one day? It won’t right now, but years from now, it will have a detrimental affect on your health. Eating healthy and exercising is a very easy decision to make, but the bad thing is that it’s also very easy not to make the right choices.
The point is this: you need to think about the decisions you’re making every minute of every day. Will what you’re about to eat or the activity you’re about to take part in benefit your health? Then, by all means do it. Will it harm you maybe not today, but your future self? Then, try to stay away. It is just about making more conscious decisions when it comes to your health. Yes, popping open the bag of chips is easy, but so isn’t eating a healthy, nutritious snack that is full of vitamins and minerals like carrot sticks, celery sticks, or cubed pineapple.
Easy to Do…Easy Not to Do
One saying that is repeated throughout this book and that stuck with me is the phrase: Easy to do, but also easy not to do. It’s so ridiculously simply, yet so poignant. It’s the little things that don’t seem like a big deal now that will bite you in the butt later on in life.
For example, those five slices of bacon you atedismorning and then sat on the couch all day watching football won’t affect you short time – it won’t affect you today, tomorrow, or even in the next few years, but having that bacon repeatedly over a long period of time without any physical activity will wreak havoc on your blood sugar levels and your arterial walls, which will both lead to serious diseases of your heart.
Each smart decision you make is very easy to do, but is also easy not to do. Deciding not to cut up that celery and open that jar of natural peanut butter seems harmless right now, but when you’re at the age of retirement and on every beta-blocking, blood thinning, cholesterol lowering pill there is, you can reflect on those little choices that you made right now…today even…that were very easy to do, but they were also very easy not to do.
Like my earlier comments about change not happening overnight, you have to remember to take baby steps. When beginning exercising after a long period away, you may want to only do ten minutes of the workout video and work your way up week to week.
Or if you’re not interested in an exercise program, you can always begin with a ten minute walk each day, and then up your time by five minutes week to week until you’re feeling fit enough to go for a run or do one of the Beachbody programs. You don’t necessarily have to dive into something you know you’re never going to finish.
The same holds true for eating right. Don’t change overnight and restrict everything you’ve loved. Give it up little by little until you’re just enjoying a bacon cheeseburger once or twice a year.
You Hold Your Own Future
Change the way you think about the decisions you make in your life. Anybody can be successful when it comes to living a long, healthy life, but you have to want to make it happen. You are the keeper of your own destiny, and it is YOU who can do it. You CAN lose weight…you CAN live a healthy life…you CAN finish that exercise program. The truth is, you can do anything you want – you just have to put your conscious mind to it and chip away at it each and every day. After all, it’s those little decisions that will make all the difference. Maybe not today, but in the future. Good luck!
If you’re interested in purchasing the most recently updated version of The Slight Edge: Turning Simple Disciplines into Massive Success and Happiness for yourself and learning how you can apply these ideas to your entire life.