As many of you know I have committed to demonstrating my “map” to success by losing weight. Obviously it is important to eat the right types of fuel, but it is not always easy to make the right food choices. Successful people are careful to watch what they eat and take time each day to exercise because they understand that they must take care of their body.
The stress that can come along with living on this rock can be purged through the use of exercise. Plus, exercise and eating properly provides valuable energy needed throughout a very busy and productive day. With that said, is your health important to you?
I promised myself when I started writing this blog that I would be honest to my readers even when it would be hard to do so. Being honest with yourself regarding how you live your life and being overweight is not easy, but if you are overweight you must, must take action immediately! You owe it to yourself to do so. Eating healthy is very hard in the beginning and takes a lot of preparation and effort.
There are no fad “diets” or “plans” that will ever outperform a lifestyle change of eating healthy. Notice I said LIFESTYLE change. To succeed you must have desire and then change your habits, your mind, your thinking and your routines! I believe most people want to be in good physical shape and I would say most people want to lose weight.
Those that change their lifestyle succeed and those that don’t, don’t. Normally I would go into all of the facts of poor health and eating poorly and heart disease. We all know that too many calories, fat, fast food is bad. Here’s the truth: If you have tried and failed, tried and failed, tried and failed, DO NOT GIVE UP!! Keep trying until you succeed.
I will use my current food lifestyle changes as an example, after all, you are not trying to reinvent the wheel, just follow what others have done before you. My wife and I decided in November that I needed to slim down. We had friends using a good cookbook and website for lowfat, healthy, tasty cooking so we decided we would do the same (I will pass along the website if you email me). Relying on a healthy cookbook served multiple purposes: first, it ensured we were eating healthy food, second, it controlled what we were buying at the store and third, it provided us with great tasting food. I went online and found a free calorie log app to makesure that I was eating fewer calories than my target. And on the last day of November we went through our pantry and refrigerator and threw away everything that did not conform to our new lifestyle. YES I SAID THREW IT ALL IN THE TRASH! EMPTY, VOID, CLEAR, EVACUATED, BARREN! I stopped referring to my new eating regime as a diet and replaced it with the word “lifestyle.” You see eating properly is a lifestyle not a fad or a quick fix! It is difficult. It is hard. It takes time. It tests your will power. But my desire to see lower numbers on the scale surpasses my desire to stuff a donut in my mouth. If you don’t have a true desire to eat healthy as a means to being healthy, then you will fail. As I write this I can be honest and say that tonight I was tempted to grab a chocolate milkshake from a fast food joint, but I asked myself if doing so was helping me reach my goal or hindering?
If you stop and get the milkshake, then do so, but don’t beat yourself up over it. It is not the end of the world. Your mission at that point is to make your next food choice a good one. You are going to experience ups and downs. Sometimes you are going to resist and sometimes you will give in.
But when you give in and eat some cookies, it is not going to collapse the planet. Life is not going to end so don’t freak out and lose perspective. Jump back on the proverbial horse and try again.
Here are a few things I think are important in changing one’s lifestyle:
1. You must be resolute in your decision to change your lifestyle; to start making better food choices. The definition of resolute is to be admirably purposeful, determined and unwavering.
2. You must eliminate junk food calories from your daily habits. Don’t assume you know what junk food is! Hamburger Helper and frozen dinners are junk food just like Doritos! Educate yourself on how to eat.
3. You need to learn to shop on the exterior portion of the grocery store; buying fruits, vegetables, and natural foods. You must stop consuming processed foods. Easy rule: only buy food items that contain one ingredient! A frozen bag of green beans should have “green beans” listed as the only ingredient.
4. You must determine the number of calories that you need to consume each day and develop the habit of logging your caloric intake. There are numerous calculators online that will help you determine how many calories you must stay under to stabilize your weight.
5. You must assume that you do not know how to cook healthy, and find a cookbook through research that will help you learn to cook healthy meals. The best thing I did was to reach out to friends and find a healthy cookbook. It provided very different and tasty recipes that were also lowfat and had caloric info with serving size. …..Insert sarcasm…I discovered that fried chicken is not very healthy!
6. You need to get out of the habit of consuming fast food products. Do I really need to elaborate?
7. *******This is essential******Do not focus on weight loss as your primary motivator. Focus on developing the habit of eating healthy foods and let weight loss be a secondary result. From the beginning change your language and use the phrase “lifestyle change!” Eating healthy, properly portioned foods is diet in its truest sense, but “diet” has been so overused and associated with fads that the word must be eliminated from your vocabulary. I focus on eating healthy, properly portioned meals each day and only weigh once per week. Eventually I will not weigh at all.
8. You need to greatly reduce carbonated beverages from your life! When I was in the golf business we used Diet Coke to clean copper golf clubs and to apply to oil covered engines to clean them. If it can clean oil off of a tractor engine, it does not make sense to put that in your body! Drink tons of water!
9. You must incorporate some type of physical activity into your daily routine. I can only walk about .10 of a mile, but I make myself do it a couple times per day. DO SOMETHING, ANYTHING.
10. You must get in the habit of prepping your meals for the week. Eating better foods and eating healthy takes preparation so you need to make a plan to cook your food.
11. You need to practice portion control.
12. Make sure you develop a plan for healthy, low-calorie snacks!!!! Snacking is a necessity, but grabbing a bag of chips is not! It will be critical to buy the right types of snacks like: fruits, almonds, rice cakes with natural peanut butter, lowfat cottage cheese, etc. Take time to research snacks you will enjoy.
13. The day before your new lifestyle begins you must go through your cupboards and throw out all junk and unhealthy food. Then fill your cupboards with all the foods necessary to prepare 2-3 recipes from your cookbook. At this point you should have educated yourself so you understand what foods you need for your new lifestyle and what foods have to go. I recommend making large batches of 3 recipes and rotating leftovers throughout the week.
14. Determine in your mind that this way of eating is forever!! Your lifestyle change must be in your mind at all times, forever and ever and ever!
These 14 points are how I have experienced developing a healthy eating lifestyle.
Remember, don’t give up, don’t ever give up. The struggle is real, but I promise the results are worth it.
Change your thinking, change your life!