“If it were easy, everyone would do it.” – This mantra feels like a catch 22 that can be encouraging and discouraging at the same time.
I think we can all agree everyone wants to be healthy. But our busy work and family lives make it harder, or at least appear that way. At the very least, we can take comfort in knowing that being fit is supposed to be hard, but rewarding.
In my experience, committing to getting healthy is about changing your way of thinking, and making your health one of the most important things in your life.
Before, I usually gave up on being healthy because I’d hit a bump in the road, screw up, and forget about dieting or exercising. But the key is to keep trekking on, even when you feel like it’s impossible. Forgive your mistakes, and get back up again. These are some ways of thinking that held me back, which I have since started eliminating from my mental space.
1) “I’m way too busy to be healthy.”
With tough love, and without trying to make you feel too bad, I have to say that you’re probably not too busy to work out. Just put in simple math, an hour of exercise is only 5% of your day. Let’s say you sleep 8 hours, and work 8 hours. That’s still 8 hours left when you’re not committed to working or sleeping. Even with an hour commute from work both ways, you’ve got 6 hours left. You know what you can do in 6 hours? You can watch two director’s cut versions of Lord of the Rings back to back. Or go to the gym multiple times.
Now, let’s talk about prepared lunches. If you keep good food in your house, it should honestly take you half an hour at the most to make a good lunch for work the next day. Not only is making your own healthy meal to eat when you’re away from home good for your diet, but it’s good for your wallet. I used to pack extra salads with me that I would eat for dinner on my train ride home at my old job, and it deterred me from buying a burger before going home, and saved me some money in the mean time.
Grocery shopping a lot for a few things so you eat everything you buy is better than letting stuff go bad, right? So try to have good food in your fridge to make lunches you know you’ll eat, and it’ll save you money in the long run and probably be healthier for you.
All I’m saying is that your day is what you make of it. I know how easy it is to just go home after work and binge watch House of Cards on Netflix, but being fit isn’t about living an easy life, is it?
2) “I’m too tired to work out.”
I’m going to be real here and say a few things. When I work out in the morning, I feel so much more energetic than I do working out after I’ve gone through my day. But, the average person isn’t going to stick to a work out plan that involves running at 6 am every day, because even I don’t do that.
I know I’m talking a lot about how even half an hour isn’t that much of your day, but you just might not be able to fit a work out in practically before you go to work, and that’s OK. I know it’s not something I like to do if I have to start work at 8:30, because I’d probably have to be up at 5:30.You’re not any weaker for not being a seasoned enough athlete to work out at 6 am. Being fit is about managing your time effectively so you can still do it all and have time left over to unwind.
So the alternative is working out after a long work day, and that sounds like torture, I know. I used to do that while I was in school, and I found it hard to stick to. But don’t listen to school-me, listen to present-me. Give it two weeks, and your body will love you for exercising every day. You get stronger, and it’s a great feeling.
3) “There aren’t healthy options nearby.”
McDonalds just released a line of kale salads, so that argument isn’t valid anymore. No, but seriously. If you didn’t get time to pack your lunch, and there are food establishments nearby to get one, I have a hard time believing your options aren’t limited to just burgers and fries.
Sure, buying a salad might cost a bit more over the dollar menu, but considering one is going to give you valuable energy to get you through the work day, and the other is going to make you performance at work suck, the few more dollars are worth it.
4) “Being healthy is expensive.”
It can be if you don’t watch what you’re buying, but if there’s a will, there’s a way. You don’t have to be a coupon queen to eat even remotely decently.
To start eating better without relying on fresh salad for every single meal, keep cheap staples like brown rice, canned beans, and frozen veggies in your house. Also, grocery shop frequently, but for smaller amounts of foods so you eat it all without it going to waste.
If you’re clueless in the kitchen, with the exception of turning on the oven for chicken nuggets, this subreddit is a good start if you need cheap, healthy, and delicious meals.
In the winter time, learn to love crock pots. And in the summer, learn to love farmers markets. There is always a way.
And while it might feel better working out in a gym (I know I prefer it,) there is no limit to the kind of exercise you can do at home, or around your neighbourhood. Or make tiny changes that will amount to big changes later on. Walk to the train station, take the stairs, or get a bike for running errands.
5) “It’s too much effort for nothing.”
The one thing that I think anyone has a rough time eliminating is the idea that working out and eating rabbit food will actually be worth it. I know I struggled with making such huge changes with no apparent outcome. But if I had to tell you something to convince you to be healthier, it would be as simple as: It’s worth it. It’s so worth it.
In the beginning, it’s so hard. You’re hit with the sobering truth that your eating habits aren’t so great and your body isn’t ready to run every day if it had to. It feels like a low-key detox, draining you physically and emotionally. But this is a lifestyle change. Eventually, you will crave real food that helps your body operate properly. And eventually, you will feel weird if you take a day away from exercise. There’s no pill to make you lose weight alone. When you change your diet and get more active, your body takes care of the rest.
I am not going to pretend to know your life, or know what is happening in it that may stand between you and using your free time to its best extent. But I do know that, if you aren’t ill in one way, going for a run today will make you feel better.
We’re given hundreds of choices each day, and you get hundreds of chances to make a choice that will benefit you.