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“The less you do, the more you do”
~Kunu, Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Physical wellness is the heart of the upward spiral. It includes:
Nothing new, right? Here’s where I want to focus: building the habit of doing all three well.
The problem is that most people let two or three of those operate in automatic mode for some time. Until they feel the pain of not fitting into a pair of jeans. Or they don’t like that picture in the mirror.
Then, our natural (emotional) response is to call out the troops, and give everything we got to fighting that painful feeling.
We eat like rabbits, and exercise like Michael Phelps.
That’s a recipe for success. At least for a week or two. Maybe a month.
We see some progress, get comfortable, and settle back into the cushy leather couch.
It’s a cycle.
Focus instead on a slow, upward spiral. Intense bursts of effort land you where you started. Constant upward progress makes you a new person.
Sleep. Everyone is different, so I’ll stay away from prescribing sleep. Just get enough sleep for your body to recover from what you did the previous day. And keep it consistent! Going to bed at the same time every night will do your body good.
Here’s a short list of sleep benefits, according to Health magazine: lower weight, lower anxiety, less depression, better memory, more creative, more focused, better physical performance, and a longer life. What more do you need? Oh, and sleeping more will also mentally prepare you to exercise.
Play. When you’re fully rested, it’s a good idea to do some exercise. My method is a bit different than most, though. I know the thought of having a beach body in 30 days is sexy. But that is the kind of effort (and cycle) that makes most people give up.
If you’ve been on that roller coaster before, then I suggest you try the method of doing less. Here’s the catch, you need to do it every day. Do so little that you actually enjoy exercise. Once you enjoy it, then you can make changes to it, and get more intentional about it. The workout routine I followed for over a year (and took me from 23% body fat to under 17%) involved two workouts a week. Each one lasted 15 minutes. And both were done in my garage.
Stop convincing yourself that you need to spend two hours a day and four hours of salary to lose weight.
Eat. You will feel a natural surge of energy, motivation, and excitement after you exercise. Use that to continue your upward spiral by eating healthy. Don’t fall into the trap of giving yourself forgiveness treats. Set a diet and stick to it. Find out what works for you. For me, I don’t mind eating the same thing every day, but I hate cooking. My solution – cook large quantities of food, once a week, and eat the same meals over and over. It would drive most people insane, so I don’t recommend it.
But I do recommend you find what works for you, and doing that. Again, once the habits are in place, then you can make adjustments and changes.
Start now, and tweak later.