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Have you ever wondered how you can actually have long-term success at changing your diet and fitness routine? The answer is your goals.
Make it a way of life, not just a diet or quick fix to solve a problem.
It’s great to do a one-week fitness camp that’s really hard and kicks your butt, but as great as it is in the moment, it will not create lasting success. Success in anything lies in persistence. I started my plant-based healing and cleansing journey 20 years ago, and I had my ups and downs over the years. Even with the few small setbacks of eating food that didn’t serve me or getting lazy about exercise, I persisted in keeping it alive in my life by surrounding myself with like minded people and continuing to read and research things that support health and longevity.
I’ve noticed that the people who stay healthy and succeed long-term have made health and fitness the thing they do every day. Sure there are days for splurging and “going off the wagon,” but the biggest key is to stick to your plan 95% of the time. Humans need to fully immerse themselves into a new habit for at least 30 days to make a lasting change. In fact, that is just the beginning. After that, having ongoing SMART goals is the way to keep and stay motivated, fit and healthy.
Where do you start with getting healthy and feeling great? Here is a list of things you can start with. If you’ve already succeeded at all of these, congratulations! See list 2 below that.
List #1 For Beginners
- Go off sugar: This includes white sugar, brown sugar, agave and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).
- Give up the gluten: No, it’s not a trend…it’s real! Breads, tortillas, waffles, muffins, soy sauce, licorice and so many more things contain gluten. After 1 week off gluten your mind will be clearer and you will have more energy! Not convinced? Read or listen to Grain Brain.
- Go 95-100% Plant-Based: You don’t necessarily need to go all or nothing, but by significantly lowering the amount of animal products you consume, you will notice better skin, better liver function, and improved heart related conditions to name a few. An article published in Food Technology in October 2012 explained that plant-based diets either minimize or completely eliminate people’s genetic propensity to developing chronic diseases, such as diabetes type 2, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.
- Make your own food: Who knows what is actually going into the food at restaurants? Is the chef and he or she’s assistants happy? Is there any love in that food? Most places use the cheapest ingredients and oils in order to turn a profit. When you make food at home, you know exactly what you are getting plus, you can fill both you and your families bellies with loving goodness.
- Eat the right oils, if at all: Oils have their place in moderation, but it’s better to use whole fats from nuts, seeds, olives and avocados. If you need oil from time to time, use extra-virgin organic olive oil, coconut oil, MCT oil and cold-pressed hemp seed oils. Also, never heat your oils! Avoid corn, vegetable, cottonseed, safflower or any oil that is not cold pressed and in a dark bottle, as these oils are usually rancid and contain GMO’s.
- Stock your pantry with good stuff and get rid of the bad stuff: Go through and throw out old grains, packaged crackers and cookies and anything that may sabotage your health. This includes soy sauce! Replace it with gluten-free tamari or coconut aminos, healthy flax crackers and home-made healthy treats. Throw out all the Halloween candy too!
- Have a grateful attitude: What can you be grateful for every day? List 3 things every day that make you grateful for your life. It could be as small as a warm bed or the ability to drive to work. Every small thank you makes you happier and healthier.
- Do it Now! When you diverge from your plan, get back on track immediately (don’t procrastinate!): The major pitfall I’ve seen people fall into is the “Oh Well” trap. “I already had one cookie, I may as well eat some crackers, more cookies, and toast too!” What? Where is the logic in that? If you lost $10 in a bet would you then give them another $100 and say “oh well?’ No! Get back in your body, be smart, and get back on track ASAP.
List #2 -- Advanced
- Excersise for 30 minutes 5-6 days a week. Weights, walking, running, biking, rebounding, yoga, etc. It doesn’t matter, just move! Weight lifting is for everyone! Studies show that weight lifting is extremely good for bone health and having a strong, lean body.
- Drink 2-3 liters/quarts of water a day. Start your day with warm lemon water to cleanse your liver.
- Go low glycemic! In addition to processed sugars, start looking at lowering your consumption of dates, coconut sugar, maple syrup, most grains and anything that has a medium to high glycemic index. Low glycemic foods include all nuts, seeds and vegetables, plus berries, stevia and Lakanto sweetener.
- Do a 20 minute mindfulness practice daily. Studies show that meditation lowers stress, creates less reactiveness, reduces food cravings, and can ease depression.
Make smart goals
In his 2003 book, “Attitude Is Everything: If You Want to Succeed Above and Beyond,” Paul J. Meyer explains how to make something achievable. Below is a synopsis:
1. Be Specific
Pick one or two things you want to change and be clear about it . Examples: What exact weight do you want to acheive? Do you have a fitness goal? How about your skin? Is it as clear or ageless as you want it to be? Do you have a personal growth goal such as meditating 20 minutes a day or being more grateful?
Example -- Visualize your ideal body and how you want it to look and feel. How do you want to feel every day? Lots of energy, good sleep, clothes fit perfectly? What about your fitness levels? Perhaps being able to do a hard 3-mile hike/climb in 40 minutes? How much water do you drink everyday? Do you need to increase it? Is there something you want to eliminate from your diet such as sugar, wheat or gluten? Maybe if you have been eating well for a while it can be a new goal such as not complaining or gossiping for a whole week or month.
It’s important to have measurable goals, so that you can stay motivated. Writing down and tracking your progress helps you to stay focused and on on track, meet your deadlines, and get excited about achieving your goal.
A measurable goal should address questions such as:
- How much or many?
- How will I know when it is accomplished?
Example -- I will be at my ideal weight (fill in the blank) and fitness level (_____ miles, _____push ups, ____ minutes of planks) by this date _________.
Your health goals need to be realistic and do-able. Be willing to stretch yourself, but still remain within the attainable realm.
Example -- You might need to ask yourself if going off of gluten, sugar, alcohol and losing 20 pounds in 3 months is realistic. For example, did you give yourself enough time to complete the required training effectively? Are there too many things all at once? Are there any obstacles that might be seen or unseen that could discourage you such as a spouse, other family members or friends? If so you will want to get everyone on board before you start or find a friend who is supportive.
This step is about ensuring that your goal matters to you, and that it is in alignment with your other goals. You may need support and assistance in achieving your goals, and it’s also important to retain control over them. So, make sure that if you are asking for help and support from others, that you are still ultimately responsible for achieving your own goals (dont’ give your power away or blame someone else for not getting things done). Don’t let anyone else tell you it’s not possible either.
Example -- Does this goal fit into my lifes right now? Is this something doable now? If you are going on vacation, it might not be the best time to start a cleanse, but it’s a great time to add more water and get more exercise.
Set a specific date to be at your goal. Once you have achieved that goal at the set date, celebrate, then create a weekly or monthly check in to make sure you continue to stay fit and healthy.
A time-bound goal will usually answer these questions:
- What can I do six months from now?
- What can I do six weeks from now?
- What can I do today?
- How can I keep my new healthy body once I acheive my goal?
Example -- Set your weight and fitness goal for 1-month from now with something that is achievable and realistic. Once you have reached that goal, celebrate, then create a new date with the continued goal of staying fit and healthy.
Now get out your journal or calendar and start writing down your new, acheivable goals!
P.S. The holidays are coming, so instead of waiting until they are over, make the goal of losing instead of gaining weight this season. That way in January you will be ahead of the game and feeling great about yourself!
Article by Elaina Love, Faculty Member here at the BodyMind Institute
Elaina Love's Raw Chef Certification
Elaina's Live Classes: http://purejoyplanet.com/