Health and Diet in the New Year
We are halfway through the month of January, which is the moment of truth for most people that made the New Year’s resolution to be kinder to their bodies this year. It may be to continue with a new diet they started (Kale smoothie, please!) or to continue going to the gym and killing themselves to make their bodies beach-ready by springtime. To those of you that are still at it, keep up the good work! But to those that have thrown in the towel…you gave it your best effort.
However, for those of you that haven’t eaten well or exercised in many years, “giving it your best effort” just doesn’t work well. This is the biggest reason why so many New Year’s resolutions fail — so many people go into these changes in diet and working out at warp speed. (I’m givin ya all she’s got Captain!) This is like expecting a car that hasn’t been driven in 30 years to be able to keep up with this year’s model. Much like that old car, we are either going to eventually have our engine stall trying to keep up with others, or we are going to breakdown and give up.
We need to not look at these changes as New Year’s resolutions but to instead look at them as New Life resolutions. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Change doesn’t happen overnight either. You must first be honest with yourself when it comes to your goals for improving your quality of life. Once you have done this, you can then formulate a plan that is not only realistic but one that you can stick to in the long run. (Run Forrest, Run!)
In regards to what you eat, there are many different diets out there to choose from and unfortunately, no one diet can work for everybody. Before embarking on a change in diet, we must first experiment and see what foods work and what foods don’t. We are all basically just walking chemistry sets and as such, certain things affect us differently.
It’s these many different factors that affect whether a diet will work for one and not another. My advice is to first get yourself a journal to write in. This will be a food diary of sorts. After you eat something, pay attention to how your body feels afterwards and write it down. For some it seems silly to do this but knowing how a food makes you feel is important. Did eating this food make you feel more energized after eating it? (WOO HOO!) Write it down. Did eating this other food make you feel lethargic or run down? (Zzzzzzz…) Write it down. After a while, you will be more informed as to what to shop for and what to leave off that shopping list. (Veggies yes, Twinkies no!)
As for your exercise program, I suggest you start out slow, especially if you haven’t worked out for a length of time. I would even suggest getting the assistance of a physical trainer (I’m going to Pump YOU UP!) if you’re just starting out. As inspiring as those workout montages in your favorite sports movies are… (Rocky, anyone?)… you have to remember you are not training just for the “big fight”. You are training for your life and health. When you first start out an exercise regimen, it’s best to start out with low reps and lower weight. After your workout, document how you feel and adjust accordingly. Work your way up slowly and most importantly, remember to be patient. It’s not a race. You have your whole life ahead of you. You’ll get there.
That’s the hardest part of this journey, really, to just be patient. When you have reached your goals, you will be so glad that you did and your body will be too. After some time, this will just be a part of your everyday life. Then, when New Year’s comes around again, you will be making a different kind of resolution — maybe to travel and see the world! By then, you will not only have the energy for it but also be strong enough and well enough to enjoy it.
Welcome to your new life! Make the best of it!
Written by Christopher Smyth
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