Living a Healthy Lifestyle: Find Your Reasons Why
When we make decisions in our lives to get healthy, there is usually a reason or several reasons why. Sometimes those reasons are helpful and more long-term. Often times, those reasons are short-term and once we’ve accomplished or completed whatever we had set out to do – our healthy lifestyle gets forgotten or we “fall off the wagon”. I want to share with you my reasons for getting healthy and trying to stay that way so maybe you’ll find some inspiration and motivation you can apply to your life.
Your Reasons Why Should be Personal
If someone else is the reason you are attempting a lifestyle change – it’s not going to work. If your doctor, significant other, well-meaning friend, or other outsider is your motivating factor – that motivation is going to die out eventually and you’ll be back to square one. You need to be the source of your own motivation and your own reasons for wanting to make a healthy lifestyle change. Making your reasons why personal will help keep you motivated and on track long-term.
Your Reasons Why Need to be Flexible
Your reasons may need change and adapt to your life. You may initially plan to lose weight to look good in your wedding dress/bathing suit/or at your 10 year high school reunion. However, none of those things are permanent motivators. So every time your motivator ends you’ll need to find a new one. Consider reasons outside of the short-term such as: being present for when your children graduate high school, being physically able to teach a grandchild how to throw a ball, being healthy enough to travel with your significant other on your 30th or 40th wedding anniversary. Whatever you find self-motivating. There are no right or wrong reasons here!
Look for Value in Your Reasons Why
Looking good in a bathing suit isn’t ultimately that valuable to us unless its our job. If you’re a model – then that could be a long-term value to you. If you’re not; you’re going to need a more personally valuable reason. What does being healthy mean for your life? What will you be able to do more of? How might your life be negatively effected if you don’t make the necessary changes? How does the decision to be healthy affect the future you desire for yourself and those you love? Look for things that will bring value to your life long-term.
Let Go of Negative Body Images as Motivators
Being healthy just to “look good” doesn’t work. You’ll never be satisfied and you’ll end up defeated. Being “skinny” or “fit” or “a size 6” are all superficial reasons why someone would want to be healthy and may even contradict your real motivators. For example, if someone is trying to “be skinny” and they skip weights at them gym so they don’t “bulk up” that may have long-term consequences of not being strong enough to complete certain tasks, increase risk of falling and breaking bones later in life, and avoiding healthy foods solely based on calorie counts. Search for reasons within your soul that have nothing to do with your outward appearance. Being physically able to put on your shoes or play your favorite instrument is more valuable long-term than what size pants you wear to do them in!
My Reasons Why
I decided to go into the health, fitness, and nutrition field upon entering college. I knew I loved sports, wanted to spread that love to others, and I didn’t want to be old, overweight, and unhealthy like my parents (sorry mom and dad! Also, thanks!). I also wanted to help others – but that wasn’t enough. I wanted to help other learn to help themselves. You see, I realized people were becoming overweight and unhealthy due to decisions they were making in their own lives – many times because they just didn’t know better. I didn’t know better either – but I wanted to learn and then share that knowledge with others. So I initially decided on a degree in Kinesiology and became a personal trainer and weight loss coach out of college.
However, I realized about 6 months after graduating that I didn’t know enough about nutrition to do my job well. I was just regurgitating information when it came to nutrition and I wanted to learn more on the subject. Which funny enough, I chose kinesiology as my bachelors degree so I wouldn’t have to go back for my masters to work in the field I loved. Oh was I naive. So then another 3 years later I was really equipped to do what I wanted – help others help themselves – in a whole lifestyle approach that included exercise and nutrition.
My Healthy Eating and Exercise Beginnings
My first year of college I had a snickers bar and 20oz soda every morning for breakfast. I am not kidding. I also ate daily at the restaurant where I worked. Because I was young I was able to fight those calories with my high level of physical activity. I played volleyball 3-5 days per week, worked out occasionally at the gym, and overall led a very active lifestyle. I eventually learned more about healthy eating and made better choices prior to graduating. Once I started my job as a weight loss coach I actually tried to follow the advice I was giving clients because I felt like I needed to “walk the talk”. That’s still the philosophy I live by today with my food and nutrition choices.
After graduating from college though, I realized I enjoyed the playing of sports much better than I did the exercise and fitness regimes that were meant to be paired with them. I was spending a lot of time at the gym as a trainer and lost motivation to spend more time there by working out. Eventually I left that job and quit going to the gym all together. At that point I took up running. I needed something to stay active, that was inexpensive, that I could do on my own time, and that I enjoyed. A few of my friends ran and so a new love for a different type of physical activity was born.
Running Helped Me Find Myself
I trained and ran my first half marathon to get over a break up. I needed to find my strength, determination, perseverance, and internal motivation that I had almost lost. Running gave me a break from graduate studies, space to not think about life if I wanted to or time I could devote to thinking about it for an hour or more, and running also gave me an outlet for stress. Running helped my spiritual health because it gave me time to pray, running improved my time management skills because I had to build in training runs around graduate school and work, and running improved my fitness levels in new ways. I love running because it’s a relatively inexpensive sport, I can compete against myself, and I can run almost any where. Running works for a multitude of reasons for me. I realize it might not work for other people in that same way – so this post isn’t to convince you to run. I just want you to see how much more living a healthy lifestyle can provide outside of “preventing chronic conditions and weight management”.
For the last 10 years I have realized that I’ve been extremely inconsistent with the strength training portion of my exercise plan. I’ve done my time at the gym, I’ve done home based workout videos, and I’ve done several 30 day squat challenges. But none of them have stuck with me. I am not sure why I haven’t been able to stick with a strength program but it is something I’ve wanted to explore in more detail. See below for some reasons why I’ve decided to add strength training back into my routine.
Eating Healthy: Necessity to Normalcy
Eating healthy has become natural and normal for my family. It’s something I strive for on a regular basis and something I am constantly conscious about because it is literally my job. Cooking at home became a necessity to save money a few years ago and I’ve since learned a love of cooking I never knew I had and continued with the practice. I also struggle with a digestive condition that has prompted me to make even more careful decisions about foods I eat and how they’re prepared. I actually enjoy eating healthy and how much better I feel when I’m following my balanced nutrition plan.
Looking Towards the Future
I’ve recently made two decisions about my health and lifestyle based on planning for the future. 1) I sought a more specific treatment approach to my digestive disorder because it was interfering with things I enjoyed and I wanted to rule out more serious issues because my status had gotten worse. 2) I’ve decided to focus more on strength training as an addition to my physical activity plans because we are building a house this year and I’ll need more strength and muscular endurance to help. Another reason I made both of these choices is because I want to prepare my body for pregnancy if we choose to have a baby in the next few years. I’ve always been a planner and I really enjoy planning ahead so why not plan for better health during a potentially very critical time period.
My Reasons Why I Run:
- I enjoy the alone time it gives me
- Helps me challenge myself physically
- It keeps me trim
- I can run any time or place
- No drive to the gym or membership costs
- It supports my spiritual health
- My self-confidence is higher with running
- It is easy to set goals and see progress
- A good reminder of who I am
My Reasons Why I Eat Healthy:
- It’s my personal philosophy to practice what I preach
- My personal health conditions are improved with mindful food choices
- I enjoy it
- It is fun to prove it can be done
- On a budget
- With limited cooking experience
- When time is scarce
- Iimportant to me to support my family’s health
- I want to avoid the chronic health conditions that run in my family
- To give my future self the best chance of a great quality of life
- I enjoy sharing my knowledge of food with others
- It keeps me focused on advances and opportunities in my career
- It helps me help others help themselves
My Reasons Why I Want to Add Strength Training:
- Increased strength and muscular endurance for building our house
- To physically be prepared as much as possible for pregnancy and child-birth
- I want to prevent the age-related decline in muscle strength/mass
- It’s important to me to stay fit
- I want to be able to play sports with my kids as they grow up
- To be able to complete projects around the house
I encourage you to ask yourself these questions and consider your reasons why you want to become healthier. Remember to make these personally valuable to you and your future goals. I encourage you to write them down and review/edit at least once a year. This will help you find some motivation you may have been lacking in the past.
If you would like more guidance on how to eat healthy, tips for successfully managing your weight without dieting, and suggestions for ways to incorporate physical activity into your lifestyle: Check out this information on my 12 week weight loss course – Click below to go straight to the registration page!