NEVER MISS A MONDAY!!!
Lord, it’s Monday. Not today, Satan! (hits snooze and rolls back over)
WOOT WOOT! WORKOUT WEDNESDAY!!!
Hump Day can holla at me later!
IT’S FITNESS FRIDAY!!!
It’s Fried Catfish Friday!!!
These are the struggles that take place for a lot of us who are out here trying to get fit and live healthier lives. We try our hardest to get motivated and stay motivated, but there’s always something holding us back or getting in the way. When we WOULD do good, evil (AKA Fried Catfish Friday) is always present! Why, Lawd???
Why is working out on a consistent basis and making healthier food choices so difficult to do? Because sometimes we set ourselves up to fail without even knowing it, and we try to build on a faulty foundation. Everyone knows that a failure to plan is a plan to fail. So before embarking on your journey to a healthy lifestyle, you need a plan. I have a few very simple tips that you should consider when creating your plan. I think they will set you up for success and help you achieve consistency and possibly even lifestyle change.
When it comes to working out, sometimes we tend to bite off more than we can chew. What do I mean by that? We have a tendency to overcommit and underdeliver. We sign our bodies up for things that they are not (yet) capable of doing. Then, we get into the workout and our bodies underdeliver. We’re left feeling frustrated and incapable and end up quitting before we even get a good start. FAIL!
How do you prevent this from happening? Knowledge is key here. You’ve got to know your body well enough to find a workout plan that will work for you.
Know Your Strengths: What types of workouts come easier for you? Strength? Cardio? Agility? If you’re new to fitness and don’t know, research different types of workouts, try them out in the comfort of your own home, and go from there. These will be the workouts that you know you can hit hard and get through confidently.
Know Your Weaknesses: What types of workouts are more difficult for you? When you figure that out, don’t respond by avoiding those workouts. Just approach them differently. Ease yourself into them with the understanding that you may need to modify the way you do them. You can gradually adjust as you begin to improve in these areas. Before you know it, you will be successfully doing the workouts with no modifications.
Know Your Limits: Do not overwork your body. If you get tired and need a break, take it! If you’re starting to get thirsty, drink some water. Is a certain move or stretch causing you pain? Pull back a little bit. When we push our bodies too hard, we can possibly do more damage than good. Of course, you want to push yourself, but you also have to listen to your body at the same time.
If you plan ahead and ensure that your workout is doable, it will in turn be sustainable. But what about your diet? A healthy lifestyle also consists of healthy eating. This is another area where we sometimes suffer from self-sabotage. Here’s the best way to avoid that:
Divorce Diets: Diets are simply fads, and we all know that fads are short-lived and eventually die out. If you are looking to adopt a healthy LIFESTYLE, stay away from diets. I’m sure you’ve heard someone in your lifetime say, “I can’t have that. I’m on a diet.” Well, anything that you get ON, you will also get right back OFF of. And that is the exact mindset of people who diet. It’s a temporary, quick-fix that brings about no permanent change. Instead of dieting, the focus should be on adopting healthier eating habits. That’s it, that’s all.
Find Balance: When attempting to incorporate healthy eating into our healthy lifestyle, some of us tend to go to the extreme. This is a recipe for failure. Ma’am…how long do you think you will be able to keep up with eating a boiled egg for breakfast, a banana for lunch, and a salad for dinner? And you jumped straight from burgers, fries, and pizza to this? YOU KNOW YOU HUNGRY! STOP PLAYING!
Sustainable, healthy eating habits are all about balance. Balance means a little bit of this and a little bit of that, and it does not require 0% or 100% of any one thing. For example: eating all burgers and no salads can lead to failure in your health (high blood pressure, obesity, etc.) while eating all salads and no burgers can lead to failure in your attempts to be maintain a healthy lifestyle (you eventually give up because of frustration). The answer is somewhere in the middle.
Finding the right balance requires that you know yourself. If sugar is a huge weakness for you, quitting it cold turkey may cause you to lose it one day and fall completely off the wagon. Try keeping some fruit around instead. That way, when those sugar cravings kick in, you can eat a few strawberries instead of the usual Mrs. Baird’s honey bun (those things are amazing, by the way). Maybe even consider treating yourself with a sweet treat at the end of a good week. It will give you something to look forward to and keep you motivated to make good choices during the week.
This tip is very important because I feel that there is a big misconception pertaining to this. Some people feel like if they’re not spending 1-2 hours in the gym, they’re not accomplishing anything. WRONG! Then, some of those people find it hard to consistently work out because life happens and other things get in the way of their designated work out time. Next thing you know, it’s been three months since they’ve worked out. FAIL!
According to the American Heart Association, the recommended weekly amount of exercise for an adult is 150 minutes. That’s only 30 minutes a day, five days a week. Again, as busy women, it can sometimes be hard to find the time to focus on our fitness. But we have to MAKE the time instead of trying to FIND the time. In the words of Mommi Chaunte, sometimes you’ve just got to pencil yourself in. Finding 30 minutes to work out is a lot easier than finding 1-2 hours. Those who set larger timeframes for their workouts are awesome! More power to you! But as for me and MY schedule…I just don’t have that much time to spare. But when I do my 30 to 40-minute workout, I grind, I work hard, I push myself, I sweat, and I enjoy it! And THAT is a healthy lifestyle success!
You’re doing great if you can incorporate a workout into your busy schedule that is doable and sustainable. But the icing on the cake is if you also enjoy your workout! In a world full of full-time jobs, business ownership, bills, kids, spouses, and all of the other stressors we may have, fun and enjoyment sometimes get pushed down to the bottom of our priority list. So why not sprinkle a little into your health and fitness routine?! Some people thrive on pumping iron and sweating (not my testimony) or getting outdoors and running to their heart’s content (that’s me). Others prefer yoga, Zumba, or a workout class of some sort (also me). Find your cup of tea. My goal and desire is to look forward to my workout, not dread it. Doing something that you enjoy adds an extra incentive for you to remain active and stay consistent.
According to an article in Popular Science, there is a direct connection between socioeconomic status and physical activity. Families with low income are less active physically than families with higher income. And we are all aware of the connection between income and race. So what does this all mean? Our people (Black folks) are less active and (as a consequence) less healthy than some of our brothers and sisters of the lighter complexion. I bring this to our attention because as women, we have the power to ignite change within our family units. We hold a great amount of influence with our children and spouses, and we can be the example.
We can break the bad habits of unhealthy living in our homes and our communities. So, let’s do it! Let’s be the change, Ladies!
Happy Healthy Living!