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Archive for Monday, September 24, 2012

Go!

As I See Fit: Change outlook on fitness with the season

September 24, 2012

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Fall is in the air. And as we’ve been talking about for the last two columns, the climate is ripe for change.

New seasons inspire us to try new things, and fall is no exception. Whether it be rearranging the furniture and cleaning from top to bottom, breaking out the Crock-Pot for new recipes, decorating with a harvest theme or hitting the stores for new fall clothing, we all have our favorite things to do once the cooler weather rolls around.

I don’t want to jinx us, but I’m going to go ahead and say it. I think that fall has arrived. Cross your fingers and hold your breath, but I think we are done with the 100-degree weather.

In the last few weeks, we’ve talked about stepping up your workouts and not being afraid to try new things. I’ve written about basic exercises that you can do on your own and with no equipment.

And let’s not forget about those Tabata sets, which can truly change your mind-set to get over that “I have no time” excuse.

All of this is fine and good, but it’s time to address the mental part of our health and well-being. You have probably heard the terms “mind/body” used in a variety of ways and to cover everything from Pilates classes to meditation. But what does it really mean and why is it so important for our overall health?

Numerous medical studies have indicated that the connection between the effect that the mind and spirit have on the body is nothing short of profound. Many of us start diet and exercise programs only to fizzle out and return to our negative habits after a few weeks.

It’s precisely for this reason that taking the time to really check in with ourselves is key. We have to be able to change our mindset and identify the things that are getting in our way. We have to dig deep within ourselves and ask the difficult question, “I want to do this. I want to lose weight and I want to be healthy. Why am I NOT DOING IT?”

We all have reasons that we think are valid. But only by spending some time in reflection and self-examination can we even begin to answer that question honestly. We have to identify the reasons in order to get those obstacles out of our way.

Research studies have shown that when overweight or physically inactive people begin a lifestyle change, there is usually some instigating factor, such as a health scare, personal epiphany or a group-led activity, such as a workplace wellness challenge.

These studies have also shown that when we think positive thoughts as we begin these changes, such as “I am a runner” or “I like eating well and I like being healthy,” we really are able to change our mindset and the road to wellness becomes that much easier.

If we identify ourselves as such, we can become the fit and healthy person that we want to be. We have to change our inside in order to change our outside.

How can you do this? Start with these easy steps:

  1. Identify the obstacles, mental and physical, that are in the way of your diet and exercise plan.

  2. Set small and ACHIEVABLE goals. Don’t set yourself up for failure with unrealistic expectations.

  3. Develop strategies to hold you accountable before you fall off the wagon. Whether it be telling a friend of your plan, writing it down, or simply getting back up when you fail, you must have some plan in place to keep you going. There are many free, online support groups if you prefer to be anonymous.

Understanding yourself and holding yourself accountable will make your journey to true health and wellness complete.

It’s a new season, and it’s a time of change. Let me know how you are doing. I know that you can make the changes you want to see!

— Jennifer Osborn can be reached at go@ljworld.com.

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