No plan is a plan to fail.
The last 2 years have exposed a significant weakness in society: We are not healthy. And unfortunately, it has been decades in the making. Our society has developed the mindset that we can live however we choose and drugs, medicine, vaccines, etc will make us and keep us healthy. Honestly, nothing could be further from the truth.
Each year we spend hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, maintaining our homes, automobiles, recreational equipment, lawns, flowers, shrubs. Yet when it comes to our most prized possession, our health, few take even the simplest steps to keep themselves well.
I will forever be an optimist, and the positive that I take away from this whole COVID challenge we have been facing is that NOW is the time to take action on building a healthier you. COVID wreaked havoc with the unwell. Hospitalizations and deaths were driven by what the medical industry calls “co-morbidities.” Have you been paying attention to that? How about the fact that most of those “co-morbidities” are lifestyle related? Pre-diabetes, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, liver disease. These are the top conditions that have put COVID positive people in the hospital and in the ground.
Lifestyle conditions such as these are also driving up the cost of medical care. Diabetes, for example, will drive up your yearly medical expenses by nearly $10,000…per year!. Obesity will cost you an extra $2500 per year in medical expenses. All that extra expense is the cost you pay for of how you live and the choices you make.
I want this year to be different for people. I want to see each and every one of us have a plan to improve our health. I’m not talking about a complete transformation, although that is always awesome to see. I’m talking about small, incremental changes in key areas of life. The smallest changes with the biggest impact. That’s what I’m after. All it truly takes is a little focus on the right things, a decision that now is the time and the discipline to follow through and be consistent. So let’s make a plan.
- Clean up your diet. Easier said than done as most people don’t even know what that means or where to start. So start here with the low hanging fruit:
- Reduce your sugar intake. Cut out the soda. Cut out the boxed snacks like granola bars, Little Debbie snacks, baked goods like cookies and the sneaky sugary healthy looking snacks like granola bars, boxed cereal and most yogurt.
- Avoid refined and processed food like chips, crackers, boxed meals like Hamburger Helper. Limit yourself to 1 pasta meal per week.
- Stop eating fried food. That might mean staying away from drive thrus and not using your air fryer for breaded foods and French fries. If it’s dropped in a fryer, don’t eat it.
- Add more protein like chicken, fish and turkey to your diet along with more green vegetables.
- Use nuts, hard boiled eggs, beef jerky and fruit for snack food.
- Drink more water. Ideally, half your body weight in ounces to begin with.
- Stop eating 3 hours before bedtime.
- I know you use apps on your phone everyday. Download the Pinterest app and start learning and researching healthy meal ideas. Add 1 new healthy meal per week. In 2 months time you will be able to make 5 or more different healthy meals each week.
- Get moving. It’s fine if you feel the need to join a gym. Go for it. But stick with it if you do. Go at least 3 times a week for 45 minutes and work the entire time. Include some weight training, either free weights like barbells, dumbbells or kettlebells, and some kind of cardio like treadmill, bike or elliptical. If the gym isn’t for you try these simple ideas:
- Walk. Start with 30 minutes every day. Walk at a pace that makes you breath harder than sitting in your recliner. After 4 weeks, increase to 45 minutes and pick up the pace a notch.
- Stream a workout at home. There are literally hundreds of workout programs on line. Pick one and commit to following it.
- Try this home body weight program. I know it seems too simple, but if done with consistency it can bring significant changes to your health and physique.
- Start with 1 Push up, 1 Sit Up and 1 squat. Repeat 3 times. I recommend doing push ups from your knees and squatting to a chair or stool to touch your bum and stand up. That’s it. When 1 rep gets easy, add 1 more and do 2. When 2 is easy, go to 3. And just keep adding. Doing this every day, with consistency will get you to a 30 minute workout in no time.
- Get to bed. Make sleep a priority. Focus on getting to bed around the same time and waking up at the same time. Your goal is 7 or more hours of sleep.
- Change your mental game. Start reading positive and uplifting books on becoming healthier, more fit or just a better person overall. If you use social media, start following people that can help you and motivate you to keep going, keep changing your habits and improving your life.
- Reduce the negative influences in your life. Clean up your friends list and the people you hang around. Find a community of people that moving in the same direction as you. Find a mentor or accountability partner to keep you on task.
I have the privilege of working with people motivated to change their health and life every day. The one thing they all have in common is that they “start”. Getting started, taking the first step is always the most difficult. You’re going to fail, it’s inevitable. Just restart. You can do this. You must do this.
If you don’t feel that you can do this on your own, I’m here for you. Whether you live around the block from me or 1000 miles away, I’m here for you. I can help and I will help. All you have to do is reach out and ask. If you’d like my help, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s start making a new plan for you in 22.