Hi! Welcome to Part IV of this series. If you’re looking to get leaner and fitter, OR–You want to quit obsessing about your workouts and diet…(Or both of those things!?) This is the place for you.
I am passionate about this topic of living healthy, loving your body, and enjoying life–all without obsessing over…anything.
I call them “Lifestyle Hacks.” You can call them whatever you like. What I do know is that they are the real deal. They are the simple, common sense tools that the diet companies hope you’ll never ever try. In fact, I’d be willing to bet that the people you would most want to be like, do not follow diets, but are already following these life hacks! (read Part I, II, and III.)
Hold on tight though, because I tend to get really excited about today’s topic! I happen to think it is the biggest KEY to achieving your health and fitness goals. I also think this hack can be applied to just about every area of life, and deliver awesomeness to whatever you apply it to. If that doesn’t get you excited, then we have a problem. Maybe you just need some coffee.
(Go get some, I’ll wait.)
(are we all ready!?)
Before I dive in, I have to admit that this one is a little challenging to communicate in writing, because it is very much an INTERNAL hack. I’m not giving you a list of rules to follow or behaviors to model. Instead, today I’m challenging you to make changes in the Mother Board of your behaviors–Your MIND!
Today I challenge you to develop a mental vision for the person you want to become, and then live like that person until you become him or her.
(It’s even Biblical. Proverbs 23:7.)
You can go back and watch a little Vlog where I share my experience with this new way of thinking and living, HERE. It was a challenge to squeeze a my life experience into a short video, but I also promised that I would go further into things in an ebook…**If what I share today resonates with you, let me know and maybe I’ll find motivation to finish that ebook!
Let’s talk about the TWO-PART PROCESS of developing your vision and then bringing that vision to life! (I will be applying all of this to our physical goals today, but keep in mind you can apply these same principles to pretty much every area of life!)
1. Develop a Vision for Your Body.
Start by asking yourself what your ideal body would be, given your genetic makeup. There is a lot we can do with our bodies, given time and hard work. But we also have to be realistic: No amount of diet or exercise will make us grow six inches or change our general body shape.
If you have a photograph of yourself at your favorite size and shape, pull it out and hang it up! Maybe you see someone in a magazine that has your similar build but is leaner or in better shape than you are currently in; Use that as inspiration! When I first applied this new thinking, I didn’t even have an actual photo, but instead created a mental image of what I imagined my body could look like.
Dream big…You only have one lifetime with this body of yours, and it’s a lot more fun when you can enjoy life in it!
But first you also need to consider:
2. Consider The Lifestyle.
This is an important part of choosing your health and fitness goals because you have to be realistic about what it will take to get there.
This is where you ask:
What is reasonable for a consistent workout plan?
What am I willing to eat like consistently over the next years, given all of the circumstances of my life?
Back when my workouts ruled my life, and my body fat was next to zero, I lived with anxiety over a missed workout. Planning a vacation brought me stress because I knew it might interrupt my workouts and throw me for a loop.
So, when I changed my thinking, I chose to workout in a way that was realistic for pretty much the rest of my life. My thinking was like this: If I was relying on a stringent diet and exercise plan to control my weight, then I would be setting myself up to undo all I had worked for if my lifestyle had to change one day. (Obviously, there will be exceptions: Like last year when I randomly (and insanely) decided to train for a marathon in seven weeks.)
I knew that I would be having more kids, and a busy life, so planning to workout 7 days a week was not gonna fly. I decided that exercising three or four times a week would take commitment, but be doable. 12 years later I continue to workout three to four days a week. And yes, at this busy season it requires commitment, but it is doable.
When I made these lifestyle changes, developing a vision for what I wanted to look like, and how I wanted to live, I considered people I aspired to be more like. Did I want to be the girl that always passed up dessert (admirable, but boring.) or the one pigging out shamelessly? (No.) Did I want to be a fun mom who would occasionally have ice cream with her kids? (Yes!) Did I want to enjoy all kinds of foods, or have a specific diet that I followed every day? (for me it was all kinds of foods…) This will look different for everyone, depending on your goals and desires.
So I suggest investing some thought into the lifestyle that you hope to have before committing to the body you want to have. Though a few genetically blessed people can eat freely and not workout at all, and still keep super lean and fit, most of us aren’t so lucky. Most of us have to accept a little more cushion to go with a little more indulgences. So then you decide if you can be happy with those “last five pounds” on you if it means that you can have some cheese, or dessert, (or whatever your thing is,) and workout moderately but not obsessively.
Obviously if your goal is being in body competitions, or being an underwear model, you might decide that swearing off sugar and fat is a reasonable lifestyle. Figure out what suits you best!
As for me, I feel like accepting a couple extra pounds has become a symbol of my freedom and fun life! (The day I could say that, I knew I was really growing up! ;))
APPLYING YOUR VISION:
Once you’ve developed a vision for who it is you want to become, you get to enter the fun part of living it out. You might see this as hard work, but for me it became like a game.
When I first started this, I would run everything through my “future me” filter. Would this girl I am becoming stress out over one missed workout? (no!) Would this girl eat half of her son’s fries, just because they are left on his plate? (no!) Would this girl enjoy a steak on a date night? (yes!) Would this girl snack on cookies late at night because she is feeling restless? (no!)
You don’t want to overthink things, but you do want to really commit to living as if you were the person in your vision.
THE LONG TERM:
When you first start this, it might seem really exciting. But after a few days or weeks it might get hard. You could be used to following a diet plan that makes you feel secure by telling you exactly what and how much to eat every day. you might be accustomed to stepping on a scale twice a day, hoping for some indication that you are succeeding, or failing.
This is where endurance and patience must become your very best friends. Consider the “future you” in the bigger picture. How will you look next spring? What will you feel like next summer? Try not to look for immediate changes (though there may be some,) but instead really stay focused on the long-term results of this new way of thinking.
During these months it will really help if you are busy doing something you love. If you have struggled with food or exercise obsession, then you’ll need to replace that focus with something positive. Pick up an old hobby, or find a new one. Become a book worm, or take a class! If your mind has too much freedom it will naturally draw back to negative mindsets and unhealthy patterns. I spent a lot of time in prayer over the first few months of changing my thinking because it sometimes really felt like my drug was being taken away from me! Keep in mind that our thoughts–as unhealthy/unproductive as some of them are–can be very comforting to us. The more prepared you are for that, the less you will be caught off guard. (I may write a follow-up post about how to best deal with those thoughts. That is also touched on in the VLOG that I mentioned.)
Oh yes, there is much more to say on this topic, but it is my prayer that this information is helpful to someone out there! I believe with all of my heart that this same approach to diet and exercise can transform anyone’s life if they are willing. Let me know what you think in comments, below!
And as always: Please Pin and Share on your favorite social media so your friends can read this too! 🙂 Mahalo!
Have a great week enjoying a healthy life with the ones you love…
(From last weekend hiking Waimea Valley…)