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Ahhhh the end of summer. For some it brings welcome promises of relief from the heat (check), too many travels or even children having gone a bit squirrely from too few friends or too much home time (check). For others, it’s a more melancholic goodbye to slow mornings, special summer foods and activities (check), and reconnecting with far away loved ones (check). Regardless of which side of the fence you might sway (back and forth is perfectly fine), we can all embrace fall for the new opportunities it brings to reengage your fit lifestyle.

 

ABCs of your Fit Lifestyle

In a nutshell, a fit lifestyle is one where your Actions, Behaviors and Choices support a healthier life for you and your family. Repeatedly done, these ABC make up your habits. The power of your habits is what dictates your successes and misses because you get very good at what you repeatedly do. When you become a pro at dismissing exercise or at sitting on the sofa, changing those habits can seem and feel really hard. But being difficult is no reason not to do something. If it’s important to you, you will find the discipline to do it. Not so important? Excuses will come easily. You need to decide whether living a fitter lifestyle is important to you or not. Only YOU can make that call. If it is – then make your ABCs reflect it. Don’t whine about it, just do it.

All or Nothing?

I believe that your ABCs move you either towards or away from living fit & healthy. There is no Switzerland in fitness. Moving is better than not moving. Mindful practice beats mindless workouts. Eating clean whips bad food choices. Sufficient recovery trumps going hard all the time, anytime. But while it may seem helpful to evaluate each ABC in isolation, you should never forget the context of living. Living is where shades of grey come in. For example, sweets are not ‘healthful’. And yet, we feed our emotional health when we guiltlessly share cake on a child’s birthday. Conversely, our ‘indulgences’ need to be viewed in the context of fitness. When a fit lifestyle is important, then we need to tip the scales towards fit enhancing. Do this enough and you’ve created a fit habit so temptations on the other side have less hold on you. Rather than being a question of all or not healthy, it’s more a question of more fitness and less indulgences. Don’t delude yourself – these are your CHOICES.

5 Fit Lifestyle Tips

With September just around the corner, here are 5 tips to jumpstart your fit lifestyle:

  1. Drink more water. Sounds simple but it’s true. The amount of water in the adult human body ranges averages between 50% – 65%. Water feeds your body since it is essential for proper circulation of nutrients and is a medium for energy production. It boosts performance since dehydration can lead to weakness, fatigue, dizziness and electrolyte imbalance. It helps promote a healthy bodyweight by controlling your appetite and keeping you full. It helps flush out waste and toxins. It reduces fine lines and makes your skin glow. How much? Shoot for 2L per day as a general rule.
  2. Keep a food journal. Unwanted, unplanned and surprising. Extra calories creeping into our bodies that we didn’t even enjoy simply because we were not mindful of eating them. Keeping a food log or journal for seven days gives you two of the most effective tools for changing your eating ABCs – acknowledgment and accountability. You can’t change what you don’t know or acknowledge. Pain in the rear end – absolutely. But it works. You decide what’s worse…the inconvenience of keeping a journal for a week or a softer than desired middle.
  3. Eat more vegetables. Add some…everyone can improve on their rainbow. Every meal – yes even breakfast. How much? Half of your plate.
  4. Forget juice (not to mention soft drinks). This goes hand in hand with drinking more water. Juice has a lot of sugar with very little fibre. Soda is crap. Instead of a glass of apple juice, try this: alternate drinks of water with bites of an apple. Continue until it’s done. Real hydration, natural vitamins and phytonutrients, lovely fibre…all from real sources.
  5. Limit extra sugar. I’ll talk about this in a separate post but added sugar is not good. Make small changes: cut ¼ tsp sugar from your tea or coffee. Reduce sugar in your baking. Cut out highly processed & refined foods or at least reduce your consumption. Don’t believe packaging: question all marketing claims and judge for yourself.

Summary

A Fit Lifestyle is yours for the taking and starts with your daily ABCs – actions, behaviors and choices. Notice the word YOUR twice so far? It’s because it’s all about you. Not your job, nor your family, nor your sore knee, nor your medical history. If it’s important to you, you can CHOSE to make changes. Yes it might take time, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t worth it. Remember that small changes are what bigger changes are made up of so it’s not an all or nothing thing. Make your choices. Own them. And if you need help to get started, or for a kick in the pants, I’m here.

And because you’ve been so nice reading up to here, I’ve included a few extra bonus tips to consider.

BONUS Tips:

  1. Think. As you face ABCs think of the consequences of your actions. You have the power to make choices: either towards or away from your fit lifestyle. It’s ok to chose an indulgence once an a while…we’re just getting used to being mindful about them to diminish their power as less healthful habits.
  2. Plan ahead. Pull out your calendar and start to find opportunities for regular exercise and more active living. Set aside some time every week to prepare foods – cutting vegetables, preparing meats, portioning snacks.

PS: Today’s post has been about the general context of a fit lifestyle. I’ve purposefully not delved in the realm of working towards specific fitness goals, nor have I addressed the pursuit of physical excellence. For either, the scales are a stricter and in some cases, such as elite levels of performance, ABCs to achieve it often comes with a price. I’ll cover each of these in future posts.