With the start of a New Year, if you are like me, you’re inspired to take a fresh look at your life. What do I want to do more of, less of or differently? When you ask yourself these questions, I bet one thing you want to do in 2015 is “live healthier”. You know you need to exercise more, eat differently, drink less…. whatever it takes to get healthier.
I want to help you on this journey. From my 30 years in the fitness industry, I’ve seen some successes, but, unfortunately, I’ve seen way more failed attempts. If you want to finish this year healthier than you started it, here’s my list.
Top 10 Healthy Changes
1. ReThink Health: If you want to make lasting, healthy changes it begins by changing the way you think. Our desire to change has to be motivated by our desire to steward our body. We know the importance of stewarding our time, talent and treasure, but we often forget we are called to steward our temple. Exercise and eating healthy shouldn’t be all about looking a certain way, it should be about getting your body fit and ready to respond to anything God calls you to.
2. Eat Fresh: Fresh, whole foods are always better than packaged goods. Eat organic, fresh fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, dairy, wild caught fish, grass-fed, hormone-free meat and chicken.
God created you
God created food
Eat the foods God created in their most natural state
3. Don’t Fall for Marketing Ploys – The main purpose of food packaging is to get you to buy the product. (I know, I worked for Nestle Foods in the 80’s). “Lite”, “All Natural”, “Low-fat”, “Fewer Calories” are stamped all over the packages to make you believe you will get healthier if you eat the product. Don’t fall for this. When looking at the package the first, and most important place to start, is the ingredients list. Unhealthy ingredients can’t make a healthy product. If you don’t recognize what most of the ingredients are, don’t buy it. Only purchase packaged foods that have healthy ingredients. Better yet, eat fresh, whole foods.
4. Total Body Workouts: If you include Total Body Workouts into your weekly routine you greatly reduce your risk of injury. Total Body Workouts include cardio, strength, core, balance and flexibility. A safe, effective exercise routine should include all of these components.
5. Cut Out Added Sugar: The #1 reason over 65% of Americans are overweight is because of added sugar. I’m not talking about the sugar that is naturally in fruit, vegetables and dairy, I’m talking added sugar. Sugar turns into fat faster then anything else we eat. I know this is a tough one to give up. The reason so many struggle to give it up is because we are addicted. We truly crave it.
6. Consistency: Too often we start out overzealous and decide to make huge changes over night. We exercise for an hour 7 days a week and eliminate all sugar, carbs and dairy. A few weeks into it we feel deprived and depressed so we throw in the towel and go back to our old ways. When designing an exercise and nutrition plan it has to be something you can see yourself doing long term. Start with obtainable goals and over time continue to challenge yourself to make additional changes.
7. Drink Water: About 70% of our body is water, so when we are dehydrated our body can’t function properly. We should drink approximately 50% of our body weight in ounces of water per day. If you weigh 180 pounds you should drink around 90 oz. of water. If you exercise you should add 12 oz for every 30 minutes of exercise.
8. Trust God: Stress is now called the “deadly emotion” because it is believed to be the underlying cause of many of our illnesses. It’s estimated that about 70% of all doctor visits could be prevented if we reduced our stress levels. We need to replace stress with peace if we want to reach optimal health. Proverbs 14:30, “A relaxed attitude lengthens life.” We can only experience peace in all situations when we trust God. When we fully understand that He is in control and that His ways are always better than ours, we can be at peace no matter what is going on around us.
9. Forgive: Our ability to forgive ourselves and others greatly effects our health. Listen to the findings of a Mayo Clinic study: When we remove or reduce unforgiveness we have: healthier relationships, greater spiritual and psychological well-being, less anxiety, stress and hostility, lower blood pressure, fewer symptoms of depression, lower risk of alcohol and substance abuse.
10. “You Need a Plan”: One evening, I was out to dinner with my 16 year old son, Quinn. I brought up a topic that every 16 year-old boy loves to talk about with their mom: “sex”. I told him if you truly don’t want to have sex until you’re married, “You Need a Plan”. This goes for you, too. If you don’t want to give into temptations, “You Need a Plan”. Having a daily menu plan and knowing how to safely and effectively exercise will help you reach your goals. If you need help with a plan, join Faithful Workouts’ f3 Plan. Menu plans, exercise videos, inspirational and informative articles will keep you on track AND it’s all free.
The Halftime Institute seeks to serve you in a very unique way because we know on this journey toward second half significance it is tough to go it alone. Let us help you. To learn more, call us at 855-2ND-HALF or visit www.halftimeinstitute.org.