The hardest part about making changes in your lifestyle with a goal of weight loss or improved health is that it often seems like the results you achieve are not equal to the effort you are putting forth.
I have often written and spoken about how important it is to train for your goal, and highlighted the importance of choosing the correct exercises for your goal as well as learning how to eat properly. Eating a diet with a focus on high quality whole foods is vital, forget all of the powders, shakes and bars the supplement companies sell. Kettlebell and bodyweight training is one of, if not the single most effective way, to shed unwanted pounds, gain muscle, improve posture and strength.
However, my intention in this article is not to express the importance of making the correct choices. I am speaking right now to the person that has already decided to work with kettlebells and has chosen a Paleo/Primal diet and/or understands the importance of quality and the source of their food. If you would like to participate in our New Year’s Challenge, Primal Resolution where we will be promoting and supporting you in this lifestyle, click here to join.
Even after you have started making the right choices, there is still a mental game involved. Just like anything, your healthy eating and your new lifestyle will have to gain momentum, and the first push to get things going can be tough. Make the decision to make the changes and then implement them in a way that you know works the best with your personality type. For some people, slowly removing one thing after another is the easiest way to make the changes in their lives they need to make in order to see long term changes. Personally, I find it easier to simply remove everything from my diet that doesn’t belong there all at once and detox for a few days.
The real mental game doesn’t start until you’ve already made it a few days and your cravings make one last ditch effort to sabotage you. If you haven’t seen any real changes yet, and you’ve been struggling for three WHOLE days of torture, you may think to yourself “Maybe one (Enter favorite cheat food here) won’t hurt.” Now you’re back to step one, except you feel defeated and in order to succeed next time, you’ll have to have even more resolve.
You will see changes immediately, don’t get me wrong, a little less bloating, better digestion and sleep, but you have to make this a lifestyle in order to have a real impact on your health.
Everyone will have a different experience and journey. Your body is very unique and the things that provide it with vitality will depend on a great number of things. I have found that as far as my diet is concerned, I must be extremely strict and eat very few carbohydrates in order to maintain a low body fat, good digestion, sleep and overall health. Conversely, I have personally known many people that were very healthy with a vegetarian diet.
As far as weight loss is concerned, exercise will contribute about 15%, which isn’t much. This is how important a good diet is. With that said, kettlebell and bodyweight training will act as a counter, a way to mitigate the effects of a sedentary lifestyle. Proper training will also help you to use your body more effectively, by teaching you to use the proper muscles to pick things up in your every day life. This will lessen stress on your joints, your posture will improve and you will feel less physically exhausted by the end of the day. I also have a sincere belief in the dozens of hidden benefits of proper exercise such as detoxification and movement of energetic pathways.
As you reach for your goals in the new year, don’t look for any quick fixes. Instead, learn from your body. Push yourself to avoid mindless eating and the giving in to temptation. Implement a good diet and push yourself to exercise often and with enthusiasm. Most importantly, be patient and process oriented. When you are making changes to your diet, your digestion will have to optimize while your blood sugar stabilizes, after that you will see consistent fat loss.
I believe it is imperative to make a healthy lifestyle as simple as possible and remove any potential obstacles to better health from your daily life. Here are some of the ways I integrate healthy habits with little to no effort, making it sustainable and giving me consistent results.
Wake up everyday with time to spare before any commitments. You should have ample time to physically and mentally prepare for your day, otherwise you are setting yourself up for failure.
Learn how to shop and cook, unless you have a very close and reliable family member or personal chef that is willing to take this responsibility on for you. I have met countless people that tell me that they can’t or won’t prepare their own food and yet they want to be healthy. It’s kind of like asking someone to swing the kettlebells for you, just not quite so far fetched.
Prioritize your health! This will mean different things to different people, depending on your lifestyle and the obstacles you encounter. In extreme circumstances, this will mean either a career, job or position change as some jobs come with types of stress that would make healthy living all but impossible. As an example, I have trained many nurses that were highly educated and gave their time and their lives away to help others while working in an environment most of us couldn’t handle for a second. Working in twelve hour shifts as many nurses do makes a healthy lifestyle extremely difficult which is truly unfortunate.
Stay on top of things and don’t get overwhelmed in every aspect of your life. How many really healthy people do you know that live in a pig-sty and drive a broken down car? If you don’t do your dishes, you can’t cook. If you don’t cook, you will eat junk food or not eat at all, either way you won’t feel up to workout. If you don’t do your laundry, you’ll have nothing to wear to the gym and because your car sounds like a tin can full of rocks, it’s best you don’t drive anyway. When you get bogged down with personal chores, how is it possible to prioritize those that will make you a healthier person? Much like your body, your lifestyle is a system of systems that are all interdependent. Remove clutter from your mind, your relationships, your environment and your physical being together. Maintain organization of your possessions, your thoughts and your habits, make your decisions intentional and not unconsciously or emotionally.
When you begin training for the first time in a while, it is vital that you progress appropriately. Follow the level system in the Kettlebell Gym at your own pace to ensure you are doing this. At first, you will be dealing with much more muscle soreness from exercise so pace yourself for a couple of weeks. Try not to put too much stress on yourself and enjoy the process and the results that follow!