I’ve been fat, I’ve been in peak shape proudly wearing a bikini, and I’ve been everywhere in between. That’s where I am now, what I call the “Medium Me.” As a fitness professional, it’s not a place where I feel very comfortable because I know I’m not as healthy as I could be. In martial arts, we preach self-discipline, self-control and a healthy, active lifestyle. The Medium Me is about more than just number on a scale, it should also be called Mediocre Me since it transfers into my overall attitude, outlook, and performance. I’m doing okay, just not at my best. Sloppy self-discipline with diet and nutrition affects my ability to function at the highest level. I don’t sleep well, I don’t recover from workouts as fast, I feel bloated from processed food, and mentally, I feel sluggish, no doubt, from the highs and lows of sugar addiction.
Food has always been an issue for me as I am an emotional eater. Stressful events trigger massive ice cream binges and careless snacking and before you know it, my clothes don’t fit. I could also blame the extra pounds on getting older but that's just an excuse. I know I could easily slip into being full on obese again if I keep going on this path. Sound familiar?
The most disturbing thing is I am very well educated in fitness, proper diet and nutrition and I know the right things to do to maintain good health yet I have let myself slip up. As a teacher of the martial arts, it is humbling to fail and it definitely gives me empathy for what my students feel as they embark on a new fitness journey.
So, I am speaking here, not as an expert but as a fellow traveler on the journey to regain optimal health and peak performance. There are many different programs that will work, but the key is, WILL YOU STICK WITH IT? Here are some suggestions on how to maximize your chances of success.
1.) MAKE A PUBLIC DECLARATION FOR LEVERAGE SO THERE IS LESS CHANCE FOR BACKING OUT AND BE SPECIFIC. So here goes--- I will get started by surrounding myself with like-minded people in our upcoming MAX Fitness challenge in East Brunswick. http://www.10weekfitness.com/. I will lose 20 pounds before October 15. I will step up my training so I am in the best shape of my adult life by the end of 2012. No backing out now!
2.) PROPER PLANNING PREVENTS POOR PERFORMANCE. Clean out those cupboards (and in my case, the ice cream compartment in the freezer) of unhealthy, sugary and processed foods. Whatever nutrition program you choose, take the time to shop for healthy food and ingredients as close to the source as possible (not in a box, package, or can.) The majority of the items in your cart should be found along the perimeter of the supermarket in the produce, butcher, seafood and dairy departments. Stick to simple recipes that you can prepare ahead of time. Make healthy cooking a project and have fun with it!
3.) START A JOURNAL. Log your daily food and exercise and record your moods and observations each day. Try to identify triggers that cause you to make choices that are not in your best interest. Celebrate successes, and don’t beat yourself up over slip-ups. Acknowledge them, learn from them and move on. Get back on the wagon immediately.
4.) GET A FITNESS BUDDY. Keep each other on track and hold each other accountable. Whether it be kickboxing, Zumba, or brisk walking in the park, it’s a lot more fun with a friend. If you know your friend is going to show up, you’re also much less likely to put your alarm on snooze and skip your workout.
5.) SET LONG TERM GOALS but focus on creating daily habits that will get you there. Weight Watchers CEO David Kirchhoff puts it very well. "The difference between healthy habits and discipline is that a habit is something you don't have to think about doing. You do something enough, you're disciplined about it, and you put in the time. Eventually you don't have to think about it. It's routine." Here’s a neat little tracker to create a new habit in 21 days. http://www.habitforge.com/
So if you’ve been thinking about getting you and your family on a more healthy path, DECIDE today to do your homework, find a program that speaks to you, get clearance from your doctor and get started. Let us know what you’re doing by commenting here. And good luck!