2 February 2018

Feature: Healthy Living

Fit to Fail

So we’ve just hit February, the wonderful month of romance and pancakes. But for some, it’s the dreaded month of “fitness failure”.  Yes, I appreciate that 99% of statistics are made up, but I’m still going to throw a few at you:

   After the first month, only 64% of you new found fitness fanatics are still at it (thank you Journal of Clinical Psychology) 6 months later this drops to 50% But the most staggering drop is after 12 months, only 8% have turned their fitness resolution into a habit.

So if you’re teetering on the edge of the precipice that sends you back into a dark world of lethargy and demotivation, please read on. For some unknown reason, the vigor and excitement with which you leapt into the New Year, full of hope and promise of a new, healthy, energetic life, has vanished.

If you’d allow me, I’m going to make a few assumptions as to why people fail and what you can do about it.

Before we go on, let’s get something out in the open; there’s no wrong or right, good or bad, or in fact judgment from my side. I’m simply going to assume that we all want to be ‘healthy’. And healthy comes in a real variety of shapes and sizes, but there is a point past which we shouldn’t really go, if we still want to be healthy. By healthy, I mean enjoying life, living it how you want to live it, doing everything you want to do and doing this with energy and happiness, without serious illness and disease. Are we all good with that? So let’s get stuck in to our list of fitness fails.

Barriers: let’s turn this on its head a little. We’re all so focused on goals and how to achieve them, but what about the barriers? You’re a single mum. Your husband works away from home all week. You have a 6 month old to look after 24/7. Much as you may want to go to the gym 4 times a week, is that really going to work? So think of the barriers and get creative with smashing them to pieces. yoga workouts at home, interval training in the park with the buggy, get your friend to come around and you do some boxing training, find a Mummy fitness class where babies are welcome.

Preparation and planning: this is one of the biggest barriers I see. When you’re a really busy mum, whether you “work” full time at home or in an office, time is a very precious commodity. Do weekly shops, not haphazard daily shops. Get a calendar and pop in your workout slots. Stock your cupboards with the equivalent of a capsule wardrobe – lots of yummy food items you can throw together in various combinations to make a meal.

Goals and rewards: and yes absolutely set some goals. But be really specific about what you want to achieve, how and by when (this is called SMART goal planning). What the heck, why not throw in a little reward to help keep you on track. Even better if someone else can buy it for you!

Last but not least, please take some time to look at your relationship with food. Food and eating is very emotional. Sure there are some foods that enhance your health and some that detract from it, but there is no such thing as a bad or good food. I’m starting to see how this is such an important topic for us ladies and probably even more so Mums. We spend so much time feeling awful and guilty about so many things already, whereas food could and should be something we get a lot of pleasure and nourishment from. These negative, anxious thoughts have such a huge impact on our emotions and how we actually process the food we eat. I will continue to learn more about this, and if you’d like to do the same, may I recommend you take a look at the principles of Intuitive Eating and an expert in this field, Laura Thomas, PhD.

Try not to be so hard on yourself. We don’t have to stick to a perfect, rigid routine, every single week; guess what, we’re human! Make it fun. If you hate running, don’t run. Find a way to move that you love. If plain yoghurt does nothing for you, spice it up with some berries and cinnamon or you know what, don’t eat it. That is probably the best way to make sure you don’t fail – if you enjoy it, you will love it and keep doing it.

Written by Alex @aj_naturalfit 


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