Right now, it’s more important than ever to take care of our health. So often, when we think of our health, we focus on diet and exercise. And of course, these components are paramount to our overall health. But a couple of often overlooked aspects that we neglect are the mental and emotional components. And both of these are essential to our success with following a healthy diet and exercise routine.
Eating a healthy diet and getting plenty of physical activity need to be a priority in all of our lives, more so now than ever before. The American Heart Association recommends that we get 150 minutes of exercise each week and eat a balanced diet in order to live a healthy lifestyle. But what happens when we just don’t feel like it?
Now more than ever, many are finding it difficult to get the right amount of exercise and proper nutrition. But it’s not just because we are living busy lives. It is because of the current situation of the pandemic and its effects on us mentally that we are struggling. As if exercise and good nutrition weren’t challenging enough in normal times. Right? Being that our routines have been disrupted by having children at home full-time or having to work from home, finding time and motivation to take care of ourselves properly can be challenging, to say the least.
Being socially isolated and unable to live what we consider a normal life has caused an increase in depression and anxiety amongst Americans and can often cause us to lack the desire and motivation to take care of ourselves. According to the American Psychological Association, exercise not only boosts your mood but helps to lower anxiety levels. You can often receive these mood-boosting effects within five minutes of finishing a moderate workout.
> So, what can we do to help us stay motivated?
Establish Your Why
First, establish your why. Sit down and ask yourself why you want to exercise and eat a healthy diet. What are your reasons? Is it to set yourself up for a long, healthy life?
Could it be that you want to be able to run and play with your kids or your grandkids? Each time you come up with an answer to your question, ask yourself again. Try to get deep into the real reasons. When we have established a true why it gives us the ability to refer back to our base motivation during tough times.
Second, having compassion for ourselves and our current situation can do wonders for our mental health. Trying to find a way to navigate life and understand that we may not be able to do “life” the way we have in the past is essential. Holding ourselves to the same standards that we did in 2019 and before is unrealistic. More often than not, we give compassion and understanding to others but fail to offer the same to ourselves. What would it look like if you offered that same grace to yourself that you do to your friends and family?
Window of Leniency
Third, having a window of leniency for ourselves frees us to realize that, while we may fail to eat properly one day or get a 30-minute walk in today, it doesn’t mean we can’t or shouldn’t pick up and continue on tomorrow. I often tell clients to live by the 80/20 rule. Try and eat healthy and exercise 80% of the time. Then allow yourself some grace the other 20%.
Set Realistic Goals
Set a realistic goal for yourself. If you have not been exercising, ease into it. When we change our habits at a manageable pace, we are oftentimes more apt to stick with a plan rather than jumping in headfirst and not being able to live up to our expectations.
The mental game is so essential to our exercise and nutrition goals. When we hold ourselves to unrealistic standards and don’t understand the why’s of what we are doing, we are often doomed before we even begin. Knowing that we will fall and that it is normal and human at best creates an environment where we don’t judge ourselves so harshly and are less likely to quit. Seeking perfection only sets us up for failure. So, when you hit a bump in the road, ask yourself. “What would I tell my best friend?” Then be sure and take to your advice. The standards you set for your friends and family are the same you should set for yourself.
If you’d like to know more, please or visit at www.theheightsfitness.com