I am really reluctant to equate healthy living with weight loss. Not that losing weight is not a good thing, if you have a few (or a lot) extra pounds. And not because it is a dreaded and depressing chore that one has to go through in order to become happy with their body image.
My personal road to reach my best shape turned out, unexpectedly, to be so much more than just a weight loss routine or diet. It was a huge learning curve. It made me completely reassess a lot of things in my life that I had been used to and had been taking for granted. I am happy with the end result and the changes I have made since the beginning of this journey.
This journey is a personal thing, as each of us is unique. What worked for me, and what I have discovered, may not apply to someone else. That, in fact, is one of the (many) lessons I learnt from the whole experience–everyone chooses their own road and how they want to travel it, which either gets them there or not.
A few fundamentals to consider when starting the journey to healthy(healthier) lifestyle:
- Define your bottom line: why do you want to lose weight?
As I mentioned here, my goal is not a specific number on the scale. What matters most is feeling strong, flexible, energized and healthy. It isn’t enough to be “thin without being toned” (name that movie:) ). Exercising and healthy eating are my way to reach the goal. They are the means to an end, not the end goal in themselves.
- It is a learning curve and it takes time to climb:
There is a lot of confusing and contradictory information out there. Some of it is valid, well-researched, and useful. Plenty is not. You will have to dig through and sift all of that to figure out the truth. Which brings me to the next point,
- Be a critical thinker, don’t follow anything blindly. Do your research keeping an open mind:
Super foods, anti-oxidants, artificial sweeteners, exotic ingredients, various types of diets, etc. have always been there and are not going anywhere. If you are interested in trying something, look into basic science behind it. The fact that a claim is being repeated in mass media, and everyone and their dog have tried it and “it worked” doesn’t necessarily mean it is true.
- Educate yourself:
This goes hand in hand with the previous point. You have to broaden your horizons and your knowledge of both external realities (nutrition, physiology, food industry, even economics, etc.) and internal (look closely at your habits, your body reactions to different things, what motivates you, what makes you productive, and vice versa). Being educated helps put things in perspective and make conscious decisions.
This is the mindset that determined my success in getting and staying fit and healthy, long term. It was very empowering and spread to other areas of my life.
Please share your thoughts/experience– I would love to hear them!
Here are some topics that I will be writing about in my next few posts on Healthy Living:
– Doable exercise routine
– Obstacles to fitting exercising in your daily schedule, and ways to overcome them
– Eating style: cutting calorie intake without dieting