What is the most important machine in your life?
What do you consider to be the most important machine in your life: the car? Computer? Mobile phone? TV? Anything else? On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is it to you? Why? What are all the reasons that make it a 10 in your life?
If you think the car is at the top of your list, how much time and money do you spend taking care of it? Do you use any old fuel, consider checks to be a waste of time, ignore the car wash, etc.? You probably have your own special rules for whatever machine you choose.
Next question, do you treat and care for your own body with the same amount of effort? For instance:
What quality of fuel (food) do you give it? Does it give you an adequate supply of water? Skip boring routines like yearly checkups because there are other things you’d rather do? Are you still doing what you’ve always done (too many calories without exercise) and expecting different results? Do you expect your doctor to order a “magic” pill for you to take when you are sick, as long as you don’t require any changes in your usual activities? Do you avoid adopting new healthy habits because the old way is so comfortable?
We cannot exchange our old body for a new one; life doesn’t work that way. As Mickey Mantel once said, “If I had known I was going to live that long, I would have taken better care of myself.”
There has been a change in attitude in recent years. It’s rare to find magazine articles touting the newest diet that’s guaranteed to shed all the extra weight from holiday season indulgences or how to get ready to wear that new bikini to the beach.
We now recognize that diets, especially crash diets, are no longer acceptable. Lifestyle plans are the latest buzzword. Sometimes it sounds like one more variation on the one-size-fits-all idea. It is not so simple!
Sure, the same basic principles are necessary: more fruits and vegetables, whole grain products, legumes, nuts, lean protein, less sugar and fat, portion size control, exercise, exercise, and water instead of soda. Unfortunately, not enough attention is paid to the uniqueness of each person. We start from different bodies, jobs, family situations, personal and family backgrounds, likes and dislikes. Thank goodness there is more than one way to get your desired results.
The biggest challenge is deciding how important we consider a healthy lifestyle and what we are willing to do to achieve it. Honesty is the first step. Whether or not we like what we see in the mirror, it was our own past decisions that led us to this point. No one else can be blamed for force-feeding us junk food or tying us to a chair in front of the TV. And no one else can make the decisions every day that will lead to better health in our future!
Start by deciding how you want to look and feel. All the things that make life rich and pleasant – vigor, vitality, optimism, strength, absence of disease and disease – deserve the highest marks. It may seem trivial, but having deep and meaningful reasons is critical to your success.
You are the only person who can make lasting changes in your life. Recognize early on that it will take time. After all, no one goes from star athlete to lazy TV addict in a month or two, and it doesn’t work faster the other way around.
A sudden and drastic review of everything in your life just won’t work! More can be accomplished by making small changes, one small step at a time. Once the first few changes become habits that you are comfortable with, you can be sure to move on to your next goals. Trust yourself and your ability to change. Very soon, you will have concrete proof of progress.
What makes more sense: lose 15 pounds in a month but get them back before the end of the year? Or avoid feeling like some kind of martyr, losing 4-6 pounds a month and keeping it off for the rest of your life? Remember also that there is more than one way to exercise and find what you really like and enjoy doing.
Success lies in the joint effort of mind, body and emotions. You may find that keeping a personal journal that tells your before and after story is an excellent incentive to stay on track. Start your book with photos and common records of weight, measurements, health profile, and fitness. It will feel good to add new data as you go. Statistics are necessary, but probably more important is the part of the journal that records your feelings about changing results.
What you experience along the way becomes as interesting as where you think you are going. It records the pleasure you find in discovering new flexibility when you stretch, the pleasure of finding foods that taste as good as they are good for you, the freedom to live without those pesky aches and pains, and of course the new energy that lasts through all the time. The day. Every now and then, look back and enjoy the progress you’ve made one step at a time.
We can’t turn our bodies into shiny new models, but we can feel and look younger than the calendar suggests. The important thing is to start taking care of our most precious machine: our own body. Picasso said this: “Just leave for tomorrow what you are willing to die undone.”
Enjoy the journey towards a healthy and happy lifestyle!