Learning To Be Healthy

During my personal training sessions, I have the Biggest Loser playing on TV for a little extra motivation. One thing the contestants always talk about is “their journey.” But what does that mean? To some that means coming full circle and gaining back what they’d lost. To others it’s learning what it means to be healthy and how to live a healthy life.

My personal journey was the latter. Prior to January 2004, my understanding of living a healthy life was distorted. Then, like the Biggest Loser contestants, I reached a low point in my health and self-esteem and needed to make a life change. So I joined a gym but didn’t know what to do there. So I started training with Dave. The better and stronger I felt, the more I wanted to learn. So I read books and magazines. Then discovered blogs. Then I started meeting like-minded people. I was a sponge trying to absorb as much information as I could.

My biggest takeaways were that being physically healthy covers 3 areas:

- Diet - Exercise - Sleep

Since then I have really tried to focus on each of these areas. It takes hard work, and a lot of discipline. It’s an ongoing process. You learn as you go and eventually some of the things you learn become habits. Or as Jess calls them, “learned behaviors.”

In my own family, there are a lot of unhealthy people, some dealing with diseases beyond their control, while others have health issues that can be managed, with diet and exercise. Yet, not all of them try to do that. And it frustrates me because I can’t understand why you wouldn’t do everything in your power to preserve your health; i.e., your life.

But then I have to remind myself to take a step back and stop the judgments, because some of them do not know how to be healthy. And between watching my family, and watching the Biggest Loser, I imagine that there are many others out there who don’t know as well either. Heck, that was I just a few years ago too.

But knowing what I know now, I want to tell all of them that they don’t have to suffer. They can make a few life changes that will make a world of difference and help them to feel so much better!

• If you’re not active, start! You don’t need to have an intense “last chance workout.” Start small, like simply walking. Eventually you’ll work up to the point of doing more if you want to, but the point is, to start moving!

• Eat fresh foods. Eat less of the processed stuff and more whole grains, fruits and vegetables. And carbs are okay; just make sure you have enough protein and fats (the good kind) in your diet too! Also, stop the diet soda, please.

• Get enough sleep! DVR those TV shows, turn off the TV and the computer, and get at least 7 hours of sleep a night.

I know it sounds so simple, especially to those of us who already try to be healthy, but we have to remember that these are learned behaviors – we weren’t born with any of this good knowledge.

There are so many other resources out there that it can be overwhelming. But the best advice I can give is to start slowly, and simply, so you don’t get overwhelmed and want to quit. Just don’t ever quit because your health is so worth it!

Today’s Workout:

AM: I decided to sleep in and got 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. This is probably my biggest challenge area because I am not a good sleeper. I hadn’t gotten 8 hours (unmedicated) since I was sick a few weeks ago. It felt so good and it definitely helped me get through a tough day.

PM: 6 miles in the rain with a set of 20 push-ups after each mile.

PS I loved all the questions I got from my last post. I haven't answered some of them because they have given me great ideas for future blog posts....stay tuned!