Another gloomy and overcast day in Johannesburg and still no sight of rain. It’s been threatening to pour by the bucket load for days now and yet zilch…well at least where I am.
Nonetheless, that has never stopped me from keeping fit and active. Just yesterday, at half-past nine in the morning, I was already out the door and on the road for my morning run – in the cruel cold wind that kept nipping at my finger tips and my nose, I still was out there. And every time, when my run or workout is over, I never have a shred of regret as to why I had woken up so early, out in the cold, and decided to go running.
Throughout the entire autumn/winter months, I was out there…running, working out, woke early to go to gym. And of course there were some who just looked at me like I was some kind of foreign species that did not understand autumn/winter meant snuggle in, eat comfort food and just do nothing. That it was much too cold to do anything. I did it anyway. And now that spring is here (well…despite the gloomy weather) and summer is just around the corner, they are now all jumping about, scurrying to the gym, trying to get back into the rhythm of a ‘healthy’ diet and exercise routine and stressing about the winter weight, the imminent December holidays and trying to get into shape so they can at least look good at the beach.
Pshshst! Look, the way I see it, Active Living and living a healthy lifestyle can’t be done in seasons or at certain points of the year. It’s something you do every day. It’s about consistency, dedication, determination and motivation. And above all, it certainly is not just about looking your best for summer or for a special occasion (a wedding, a big birthday celebration etc.). It’s about feeling your best all the time. You do this on a daily basis, you won’t ever have to worry about that upcoming high school reunion because feeling good, looking good, living healthy, feeling confident in your own skin and feeling confident about your body is something you work on every day. It’s like second nature to you. It’s not something you stress about because it is already an integrated part of your life. It’s how you live.
That for me is the goal. I want to do things the healthy way. That is where dedication plays a role. The healthy way may take some time…sometimes the results your are looking for take a very long time to show up. This is where determination plays a role. But you keep at it anyway (this is where consistency plays its role) because you got your eye on the prize…on the end goal that is worth every effort and every drop of sweat you produce – this is where motivation takes its place. If you can keep that cycle going in every aspect of Active and Healthy living (exercise, eating, nurturing etc.), you are well on your way.
It’s no news that the beginning is most probably the hardest part. Where do you find that motivation to keep going? In my own personal experience, starting small and slow is key. If you wan to change something that will affect the rest of your life (and we talking BIG changes here), you are going to have to wean yourself off your bad habits while learning to adopt new healthier habits to replace the old ones. For example, one of the first things I did to help me get into the groove of a healthy and balanced diet was to change the way I prepared my food. I still ate the same foods I had always eaten, I just cooked them differently. I cut out all frying and instead I chose to grill my foods. I went from frying my eggs to either boiling or poaching them. I eliminated salt and instead chose to use herbs and spices such as turmeric. I cut down on sugar dramatically. I now get most of my sugar from the fruits I eat. I now take no sugar I my tea.
These changes happened over a period of time and I soon began to make bigger changes – absolutely no white bread or refined carbs alike. I prefer not to eat anything fried although there are much healthier options (coconut oil for example) that you may choose to utilise. I am always looking at food labels, particularly for sugars, fats and carbohydrate information. I have also familiarised myself with the different names that are used for certain foods – for example, sugars take on names such as glucose, fructose and galactose (simple sugars); sucrose, maltose and lactose (compound sugars) – with all the hidden sugars in products sold these days, I felt it important to know these kind of things.
These are changes that I know I will be able to sustain for a very long time. Most probably for the rest of my life as long as God and my health allow. Changes that have now become such a part of what I do every day, they don’t even feel like I’m doing anything different. And it’s because I do them every day that they have become my way of life. It’s always difficult when you start something, you get it off the ground and somewhere along the line you quit for whatever reason. And then you find that, again for whatever reason, you need to get back on track and pick up where you had left off when you had quit. It’s hard. And then you quit again because now it’s winter and the weather just doesn’t permit for that kind of lifestyle. Come mid-August, you realise spring is nearly here…and you want to pick up on the exercise and healthy eating again because soon it’ll be beach weather. It’s like yo-yo dieting but with exercise. How demotivating is that…!
It would drive me crazy. Maybe it takes a certain type of person to be able to pursue this lifestyle? I don’t think so. I have seen so many people who have successfully been able to lead a healthy and active lifestyle…and seeing where they had started, their journey and how much they have achieved, it makes me believe that anyone who is truly consistent, dedicated, determined and motivated can achieve this goal and any of the goals they have set for themselves. It takes a certain amount of obsession. And I have people thinking I am crazy. I don’t care. I am happy and I am fit and I am healthy and I love it.
Well…now that the rant is over :-)…very much enjoyed writing this post.
Until the next post…take care 🙂