Thank you for clicking on this article as its title is everything but original. But, that does not make it less true. Actually, it is a huge deal!
Our life is truly a reflection of our habits at every level of our existence. We become what we think about because what we think about is what we will focus on and that will influence what action we take, which, ultimately, leads to a particular outcome (or outcomes for different areas of our life). Results, in one word.
Einstein’s famous definition of insanity is repeating the same actions over and over again and expecting different result. And, yet, that is exactly what majority of us do. We have around 60 000 thoughts every single day, take or add a few, and research suggests that 98% of those thoughts are exactly the same thoughts we have every single day. So, anyone wanting to change their life – what we need to change are habits and behaviours, which will influence our actions and the end result – our life.
Sounds simple, but we all know it is easier said that done. But at least we know that we got to change something. Because…
Change nothing – nothing changes.
Change a little – little changes.
Change a lot – a lot changes.
Habits come to mind as a logical one thing that we need to focus on changing. When it comes to health – habits are absolutely everything.
It is being said that it takes 21 days to change habits. But, science shows that this is a myth. Psychologists may agree that while it perhaps takes 21 days of consistent and conscientious effort to create a new habit, it takes far longer to break an existing habit. More recently, study of 96 people was published in The European Journal of Social Philosophy and it states that it took an average 66 days to form a habit, such as eating a healthy snack or exercising regularly. That is to reach the point of Automaticity. When we develop a new behaviour that we do automatically, like brushing teeth is. The point of unconscious competence.
They found that creating a new habit depends on type of behaviour we are trying to change, the person and the circumstances. It can also take anywhere from 18 days to 254 days for people to form a new habit, which is an average of 66 days, but this highlights why it takes longer for some to adopt new habits.
I always talk to my client that after weight loss comes maintenance and research shows that maintenance is actually harder. Why? Because they have not yet reached the state of automaticity. They lost weight with my support, but those that take it for granted and have not fully committed to living a healthy, active lifestyle for life are the ones that will struggle to keep the weight off.
Ever thought if it is possible to be very fit and yet to be very unhealthy at the same time? I think it is very common…
It is usually demonstrated in regular exercise and feeling strong and fit, however, having low energy levels, possibly suffering from an impaired digestion or skin problems or frequent colds or some other form of ailment or even disease, even having excess weight!
You might be that person yourself or you might know someone who you even admire for being an example when it comes to their dedication to fitness, however, you can see they might not be eating great and are “getting away with a murder” when it comes to eating.
Some people I know are exercising so they CAN “eat what they want”. Or can they, really? That is the question.
It is also a possibility to be very healthy with great energy levels and youthfulness because of an attention to a healthy diet, however, to struggle to run for three minutes or get up a few flights of stairs.
I used to be this person after I had children and know the feeling very well. Exercise does burn extra calories, however, its role in weight management is actually minimal compared to its extraordinary role in our overall health, ageing process and general strength and stamina.
So, I think many will agree when I say that our aim, ideally, might be to be both – healthy AND fit.
The question is – are You? And, if not, how do we achieve both?
I can tell you that there is a lot more to it than just diet and exercise, but they seem to be good places to start!
First pillar is Nutrition, of course. It is because, 80% of our health IS nutrition – what you eat and drink throughout the day because it does not matter how hard you work in the gym if you do not control what you put on your plate.
Your level of nutrition body gets will impact your mood as well as how your body functions. Ideally, we need to start seeing food as medicine. Because food CAN have that effect.
We ourselves are powerful beyond measure and it is equally incredible what our bodies can do when we give them the right nourishment and fuel that helps our cells thrive. Your nutrition is the first key to your healthy lifestyle and all the exercise in the world can not help you if you are not fuelling your cells right, in the right balance and frequency.
The latest research confirms that only 1 in 4 people, that is 25% of the population, across 15 European countries, considers nutrition when making their health choices.
Malnutrition (poor diet that results in micro-nutrient deficiencies that lead to disease) is estimated to cost £19.6 billion in the UK annually where malnourished adults account for about 30% of hospital admissions. No wonder we have such shocking figures if only a few consider nutrition in the first place.
I think there is a lot more to it and certainly education plays a huge part.
We are all different and different diets work for different people (where by diet I mean – a way of life, what works the best for you), however, at least 80% are absolute fundamentals that work for all of us because, simply put, we are all members of the human race and body is the engine that is pretty standard for everyone – same rules apply for majority of us:
To function optimally, body needs protein, fibre, healthy fats, micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, etc) and water delivered each day in the right balance and frequency!
On top of all that, we need to eliminate foods that drain our cells, lower immunity, cause inflammation, make us age faster and, ultimately, cause the disease.
Second pillar is EXERCISE. It might be only 20% of your weight management efforts, however, benefits of exercise far exceed its benefits just for managing weight.
We are wired to move our bodies and what exercise does is quite astonishing. Exercise gives us energy, it releases dopamine which makes us feel better, happier, stronger; it releases serotonin which helps us feel more relaxed and it relieves stress, it helps neurogenesis or body to grow more brain cells; it accelerates learning and processing of information, makes us more alert, have more will power, makes us more motivated…
We are wired to move, all we lack is a habit of doing so intentionally, so, building exercise into our DAILY routine is an absolute game changer.
Best time to do it is in the morning, very first thing! Why? Because of all of the above that I mentioned that happens almost instantly after exercise. Also, because if you don’t, you know it – the day takes over and you are less likely to find time for it later on. How difficult is it to make time for it by just getting up 30 minutes earlier. You are worth it!
If you can go out and exercise in the nature, in the fresh air, it is even more impactful as it can be almost as a form of meditation, but even if you exercise at home, you will be awake, feel strong and ready to face the day.
Also, when you build exercise into your routine and learn about nutrition and start making the right food choices – then you are setting yourself up for success.
Remember, you can be fit, but unhealthy… and you can be healthy, but unfit… The ultimate goal to a long-term overall health is being FIT & HEALTHY!
And we are not done, not yet.
Third pillar is REST.
Rest probably should have been first because it is after rest that we exercise and then feed our bodies. Body that is not rested is body that is not ready for anything. Good rest during the night regenerates our cells, repairs our muscle tissue, deep sleep rejuvenates our whole body.
If you have ever woken up not feeling rested enough, you know the feeling and can appreciate the importance of great rest.
If you have ever woken up feeling rested – you know that feeling too and how phenomenally it feels.
Sleep is a whole different topic, but best advice is to try to get 8 hours of sleep, avoid technology and LED lights 1-2 hours before bed time, as well as caffeine. Sleep in a dark and cool room.
All of those, and many more, help us rest during the night, however, there is another form of rest – relaxation during the day.
Allowing yourself time, even if it is 10-20 minutes to switch off, meditate, have a walk in the nature, clear your mind or even have a power nap that many successful people build into their daily schedule in order to freshen up and it helps them refocus.
There is a huge amount of evidence on the benefits of daily meditation on our well-being as well as productivity.
So, make sure you are not in your head and in all frenzy and activity all day long.
Forth pillar you might think is an unusual one, but it impacts our health massively – working on our HEALTH MINDSET. I am sure you have heard “80% nutrition, 20% exercise, 100% mindset!” Because we are creatures of habit and building healthy habits is built in the mind first!
Everything starts with a thought and healthy starts from making a CHOICE to be healthy, every single day. And this, in my opinion, is indeed the pillar worth mentioning because it is exactly with mindset itself that most struggle with before they can achieve health or reach their health, wellness, fitness goals.
Once we choose to be healthy, we need to start working on building habits that support our healthy, active lifestyle so we can continue taking action and feeding our bodies with the right nutrition, exercising our body daily and giving it rest and relaxation it needs.
To build those habits, we need to invest time in surrounding ourselves with people, influences, education, support that will help us achieve that.
We need to keep feeding our healthy mindset with healthy thoughts so our healthy active lifestyle continues to manifest itself.
So, how do YOU support your mindset?
Remember that if people around you are unhealthy, there is a nearly 50% chance you will be too. So, you must surround yourself also with positive examples. Find a coach, find a running buddy, enroll yourself on to a health programme that fits your lifestyle and gets you the support and education you need, etc.
So, think about this for a moment:
Who are the people around you?
What have they got you thinking? Reading? Doing?
Who are you following on social media? I am serious here. Who are your influencers?
What are you reading, listening to, watching?
Where is all that leading you?
If you want to be healthy, but are following, as an example – deep-fried pizza recipes on social media, or slogans how life is too short and should be enjoyed without limit so you can eat what you want and when you want it… you get the picture… Well, clearly none of that is really helpful.
If you have higher health goals, then you need to set clear goals, design a plan, surround yourself with the right support, positive affirmations and, ultimately, take action.
Most importantly, keep educating yourself what healthy is and what it is not because, life is a lot more fun when we are not sick and when we have energy to face the day.
Investment in our health is arguably the best investment you can make because life IS too short and it is worth and much easier living it in a healthy and fit body. Not because fit & healthy defines you and so does not the lack of it. But, because we are all worth living our best versions of ourselves – physically, mentally, spiritually.
I hope my four pillars gave you an insight into areas where you need to focus into making your health more balanced and health goals achievable. If you liked it, please share, because – sharing is caring. 🙂
I believe that health is our greatest wealth and state where happiness resides, so wishing you to be healthy and happy, always!
Yours in Health,
Free Wellness Evaluation
If you are not getting the weight management and health results that you are after, Wellness Evaluation can help analyse your diet and find areas where you may be falling short and recommend solutions.
It will help you understand what changes need to happen and why in order to take your health to the next level in a healthy and balanced way…
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I have been helping individuals lose weight for over a decade and a half now and, my belief through my experience is – even the best of the specialists in the world will not be able to help one lose weight and get them to their wellness goals if client is not mentally not ready for it, i.e. if they do not believe and see themselves there already with the burning desire to be at their goal weight or peak health. The best of specialists would work on psychology first before they can even attempt to help clients with their diet.
I have observed many client’s behaviours over time and, in my experience, if you are one of those struggling to stay on track of your goals, here are just few simple solutions that may help you get on with your wellness plan:
Find your reason WHY
Sounds like a cliche, however, if your mindset is not geared up towards making healthy decisions, you will not be able to stick with any diet or exercise regime. No one can really force you to change anything, and no one should. This needs to be voluntary. Even your doctor may tell you that your health is at risk, but it is you who needs to make a decision to change. Good start, perhaps, is to think how your life would be different if things were different; what would you be able to do if you had more energy in a day, how would it feel if clothes fitted better. Figure out the way so that pain of staying the way you are is higher than the pleasure that certain foods give you. Think of your why until it makes you cry. Dig deep to find internal motivation that would be a daily reminder and keeping you on track. Then stay with that feeling and a healthy vision of you believing it is possible. See yourself as healthy and at your ideal shape. Then start making health choices as the person who already is healthy and at their ideal shape would. The rest will follow.
Set Realistic Goals
It is almost impossible to transform your diet in one day. It took years to develop bad habits and Rome was not built in one day. When you start with a smaller goal, like drinking more water or eating a healthy breakfast every day or exercising twice a week for a number of weeks, there is a better chance you will reach it. Having all or nothing attitude and wishing to change everything in one go is setting yourself to fail as you do not yet have habits to support all that needs to change. Not YET!
Celebrate Small Wins
Setting smaller, more realistic goals helps you to achieve them. Achieving small goals on a daily basis reinstate your self-belief that YOU CAN DO IT. Celebrate small achievements, raise the standards slowly, keep repeating the process and slowly but surely you will build many new habits that support your healthy, active lifestyle. You would have built them over time and there is more chance they will stick.
Become more Mindful
Many of us eat out of boredom, sometimes when we are stressed or when we are feeling down. Emotional eating is a reality of many of my clients. Next time you reach for a drink or a snack– get in a habit of taking first a moment to decide whether you are actually hungry or thirsty. If indeed thirsty – have water instead. When having a main meal, make sure your portion sizes are right and put as much on your plate as you should be consuming in balance. Think twice before putting extra on your plate. Remember that it takes 20 minutes for the signal to get to your brain to say that you are full. So, eat balanced meals slowly, savour your meal, it will help digestion too. Being mindful goes a long way.
Find Some Support
It is well know now that joining a community of people who share like-minded goals will work out to be more successful. Whether it is a group support or an accountability health and/ or fitness coach, you will stand a better chance reaching results rather than going it alone. University studies show that of those who embarked on a program of losing weight or getting fitter with friends & within community: 95% completed the program compared to 76% who went solo and, after 10 months, 66% of the group had maintained new physique compared to only 25% of those who were on their own. So, you are THREE times more likely to succeed with support!
Commit to learning
Knowledge has a huge power. At this time of Information Age, any piece of information we need to help us make the right choices, whilst conflicting at times when it comes to health issues and what works and what does not, is readily available for us to find it, research it, study it, see what agrees with us and apply it. I believe that education is the most important component and that is why it is such a huge part of my business and how I chose to work with clients. I have seen my retention be the highest with those valued clients that are also committed to the process of learning because they get the best results. Only with learning we develop awareness and awareness is the first step to sustainable change. Always remain a student!
Be Accountable to someone
I have personally seen over the last decade that those of my clients that keep coming to see me regularly either on a 1-2-1 basis or those that keep coming to the classes, like our CobraFIT HIIRT or past Weight Loss Challenge classes, will always get better results than those that come occasionally, then stop and then try to re-commit again and the cycle continues. All of my clients would have their meal plans & nutrition personalised, so they all have the same tools and mechanics, but regular accountability and support hold the magic key. I now have clients who have been with me for 10 years and they still see me at least once every one to two months, if not more often when they feel they dropped the ball. And they do. We ALL do. And that is OK. It is not about never dropping the ball, but how quickly we pick it up again.
Master Your Inner Game – Stop Negative Talk
While we all know now that 80% of your weight loss is nutrition and only 20% is exercise, I would totally agree that, on top of having the right mechanics and tools in place – your psychology is a whole other 100%. Work on your attitude and mindset daily. DAILY. Listen to the inspirational videos, audios or read books. Set aside at least 15 minutes a day on your personal growth, ideally first thing in the morning. Get up 30 minutes earlier to set yourself right for the day ahead. Set the right intention before the day takes over. Have a picture of yourself when you were at your best (or someone who inspires you) and let it be your daily reminder where you want to go and why making new healthy habits will be worth it in the end. That is what successful people in different areas of life do… work on their vision daily. Start as a winner, think as a winner, talk as a winner. Be impeccable with your word. No negative self talk! Only think in positives…
So, work on yourself more than you work on your weight loss, hence – Think your way to a slimmer, healthier You!
And please feel free to reach out if you would like advice or support! I hope this has been useful.