Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Priorities, Perspective, Perseverance

Some stories from the past few weeks of training:

1. Someone who has trained hard for the last five months is incredibly frustrated because their plans for running a marathon are being derailed by a calf muscle that won't cooperate.

2. Several people in the first few weeks of their program are frustrated because they're not losing at least a pound a week.

3. Someone is so needed at work that they can't find the time to get to the gym and workout, even though they paid a lot of money to be part of a program that will help them change their lifestyle.

Priorities, Perspective, and Perseverance. That's what it's ALL about.

Priorities: Here's the bottom line. If you don't have your health as a priority just as high as doing well at work, supporting your friends and family, relaxing on the couch, etc., then you are making the choice to lower your physical quality of life and increasing your chances of dying younger than you need to. Is that really worth it?

Perspective: Exercise needs to be looked at as a lifestyle choice, not a lose weight quick scheme. Your body doesn't necessarily want to lose weight, and if you're eating healthy food, will sometimes even gain weight if you're working out also. It's rare and can be unhealthy to lose more than a pound of weight a week. Your body just isn't built to change that fast. You most likely didn't gain all your weight at a rate of a pound a week, so why would you lose it that fast?

Perseverance: It's almost a guarantee that you will feel and live better if you exercise and eat right consistently for the rest of your life. It doesn't mean that you have to go without your favorite foods or kill yourself in the gym every day either. Whether you are achieving your goals or not, if you just keep on exercising and eating right, you are going to get and stay healthy.

Here's a way to help you set priorities, understand perseverance, and get some perspective:

Imagine yourself a year from now, having quit exercising and eating whatever unhealthy foods you wanted. Where would you be? Would you be running a marathon? Would you be more productive and happy at work? Would you have lost any weight at all? Would you have energy?

Now imagine yourself a year from now, having eaten healthy and exercising a little bit almost every day. Not working out like crazy, not restricting yourself to a 1000 calorie diet, just being sensible and active. Where would you be? Would you feel better? Might you have more friends who are also active? Would you be more productive and happy at work? Would you have lost weight?

The evidence is overwhelming that low level chronic stress (like worrying about things you can't control or beating yourself up for not being perfect) is very hazardous to your health.

The evidence is also overwhelming that sensible nutrition and regular exercise not only can save you a ton of money on doctors' bills, it can help you deal with stress and stay healthy, happy, and productive, including maximizing your chances for a long life.

It's got to be a priority! If it's not, do what you need to do to make it one. Your life depends on it!

Thanks for your time,