Sunday, July 3, 2011

Attaining and Maintaining Good Health is a 3-Legged Stool

Attaining and maintaining good health is a 3-legged stool. The 3 legs are Balanced Diet, Regular Exercise and a Success Mindset. 

Before you say, "Yeah, yeah, I've heard it all", hear me out.

Good Health isn't about a diet you go on for six months (and then go off), it isn't depriving yourself of everything you like, it isn't torturing yourself with an exercise program that you hate because someone laid it out for you, and it isn't getting yourself geared up mentally to give up everything you love and follow some strange eating program for six weeks.

I regularly have people ask me how I lost 65 pounds. They are looking for the quick fix, the pill, the drink; something that they can go purchase that will magically make them lose weight. When I say "I ate less and moved more", they express disappointment and tell me that's not what they were hoping for. That seems like 'work' and no one wants to work for something that is so worthwhile (note sarcasm)!

Leg 1 - Balanced Diet means eating what your body needs and enjoying treats in moderation. It means finding healthier ways to prepare your favorite foods. In 2011 the USDA released a revised food pyramid. It is now a plate, divided into sections of food types and portions making up a balanced diet. 
Make half your plate fruits and vegetables. Fill up on these foods first, so when you get full you will have eaten the lowest calorie, highest nutrition foods first.
Make at least half your grains whole grains. Flour is not whole grain. If it is a whole grain food you can see the grain.
Don’t drink your calories! Drink water instead of sugary drinks. Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk for calcium and protein.
Avoid oversized portions. ENJOY YOUR FOOD BUT EAT LESS!! 

Leg 2 - Regular Exercise means MOVE more. You don't need to belong to a gym. I lost 65 pounds by walking. Walk inside on a treadmill or outside; doesn't matter where, just walk. Swim if you have a pool. If you are not a strong swimmer, walk in the pool. If you have joint or back issues, this is a great option. You will be surprised how much of a workout you can get by walking or running in the pool.

You can play tag with the kids, or get your friends together for a game of touch football. Get on your bike and ride, by yourself or with a friend or your family. If it's too hot or cold to ride to ride outdoors, purchase a "trainer" from a bike shop or sporting goods store which will allow you to ride your bike inside. Or use an exercise bike or elliptical machine. Put in a DVD of an exercise routine or dance exercise and let the kids ‘exercise’ along with you.

The choice of exercise is yours. What matters is that you DO SOMETHING to get you moving more! 

Leg 3 - Success Mindset: This is likely the most difficult, but without a doubt most important, factor in your quest to attain good health. Whatever you want to accomplish, it all starts in your mind.

So what is a success mindset? A mind-set is your predominant state of mind day to day. It is the things you think about; it is what you focus on, and what you expect from your daily experiences. For example, if you think negatively, expect the worst to happen, or feel pessimistic about your options, that is exactly what you will draw into your life. On the other hand, if you think positively, expect the best and focus on a successful outcome, you will draw that into your life.

You are creating YOUR reality all the time, whether you are conscious of it or not. The thoughts that you emit, the emotions that you feel, the attitudes you hold, and the beliefs you have are directly responsible for what you will bring into your life.

Too often we let our emotions and thoughts dictate our actions, rather than our actions dictating our emotions and thoughts.

The success mindset is simply the knowledge that YOU are creating your own reality all the time. It’s becoming aware of yourself so much that you are ALWAYS emitting the kind of thoughts, feelings, and beliefs that WILL attract success into your life.

It is our mind-set that ultimately determines whether we fail or succeed.

Decide what you want
Formulate a plan
Think optimistically
Ask for help
Learn all you can
Acknowledge your successes each day
Believe that you have what it takes
Begin each day reviewing your plan for success
Do your very best
Expect the best
Recognize that each day is a fresh start; be willing to get back up and try again.

We can all use new ideas to motivate and inspire us. What do YOU do that helps you eat less, exercise more or keep a success mindset? 

Frequently after I post, I receive personal messages from many of you through email and Facebook. While I really appreciate your comments, I'm the only one who benefits from those thoughts and opinions. I know everyone who reads this would appreciate hearing your opinions, struggles and ideas as well. Please do share your thoughts, ideas and opinions with a comment below!

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