We live in a fast paced, get- it-now society. But I am sure that is not news to you, as you race from one activity/meeting to the next while you pull through the drive thru, yet one more time this week. Then you rush to get home to see the kids or feed the kids or maybe the kids are falling asleep in the back of the car as you race home to put them to bed. Why do we feel the need to read magazines that offer us 5 new ways to lose weight or a 3 week diet plan to lose 20 lbs? Because we want it fast and we want it now and we don’t want to put in extra hours that we just don’t seem to have! Plus the thrill of the fast and furious keeps our adrenaline pumping! We think we thrive on stress!
But I ask you, are the basics boring? Maybe to some! Why do we dismiss the tried and true and proven strategies that work, for the “next best thing” that is on the market? Learning and applying the basics is pretty much at the root of everything we do. Would you attempt to make a gourmet meal if you don’t even know how to turn on the stove or boil water? I think not!
So, I am going to give you both today, 5 (to appease the fast and furious crowd), simple/easy but not boring strategies for your health and fitness.
- Eat mostly real, minimally processed foods. This means eating lots of plant based foods (eg, vegetables, fruit, beans, legumes, nuts and seeds). Include lean poultry, meat, seafood, eggs (nature’s best whole protein) and dairy products.
- Strength train 2-4 days per week. Obviously this will be according to your time availability and preferences. This can be a great gym workout, a gym class or a workout in your home basement. Make sure that these workouts are weight bearing and use compound movements (eg. Exercises that use more than one joint at a time and more than one muscle group). Try to improve your performance a little bit every time you train.
- Move, move, move! This is such a hard one for so many of us, myself included. We spend far too much time sitting on our butts every day and do not move around like our ancestors did or even our parents or grandparents did. We do have technology on our side though with Fitbits and pedometers available to count our steps. Try to get 10,000 steps/day. Some ideas on how to attempt this;
park far away from your destination and walk, walk up the flights of stairs to your office instead of taking the elevator, get off the bus to and from work, a stop or 2 before your stop and walk the rest of the way, walk to the far bathroom at your work. Get creative with how you manage your steps! Do something every day that requires you to move more.
- Get enough sleep! We are a sleep deprived culture. Research shows that stress levels and the hormone cortisol goes up when we do not get adequate sleep. And if you are menopausal, this is worrisome because you already are not getting restful sleep, and if you don’t get enough sleep, its a double whammy! Both quality and quantity matter.
- Don’t beat yourself up! If you miss a workout, make a mistake on nutrition or fail completely, be compassionate with yourself. Health and fitness and certainly life are not meant to be perfect. Perfection is a concept that has ruined many a journey, life, relationship and a person. Show yourself some grace and move on. Do something positive for yourself. Take action and move forward. Do not let the past or your past mistakes rule over you.
These 5 strategies are about doing them to the best of your current ability and doing them most of the time for long period of time (can you say life style habits). Consistency is key in just about everything and these strategies are no different. They are simple but not necessarily easy to implement. They may take some work on your part and maybe you won’t be able to do all 5 at the same time; although they do work in conjunction with each other. If 5 still seems like a lot, try just one and see how you feel after 2 weeks….I bet you feel a whole lot better.
Once you have consistently practiced these strategies for a couple of months and have the “boring” basics down you won’t need to look for the next best thing, because you will feel so fantastic that you won’t need it.
In health and fitness,