Despite our innate wiring to overeat, under-exercise, and grow heavier over time, we all yearn to be slender, fit, and attractive. Most cultures reward being slim and trim and as a result, we devour celebrity gossip and are mesmerized by their looks and energy.
So why is there a discrepancy between our aspirations and our reality? There are countless reasons, most of which are because life gets in the way.
You’d love to cut back on your food intake but then remember you have to attend all those work functions and have little control over what is served. Or, you might set a goal to get in shape but can’t find the time and can’t afford a personal trainer. You might be so busy that even getting time for personal care is a nightmare because you have to run from meeting to meeting.
Wouldn’t it be so wonderful to have loads of free time on your hands to do as you please? Time to plan your days, cook healthy meals, and to exercise without constraints. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to pamper yourself without the pressure of deadlines?
The Reality of Life
Unfortunately, our lives are too hectic for that to happen in the foreseeable future. So, we can either throw up our hands in frustration and do nothing or work out a personal plan that fits within our lifestyle. We must figure out what will take us where we want to go, even though the plan might take longer than we expect.
Your life, your time, the demands and responsibilities you face are unique to your situation. Find out what works for you, and what can fit or not fit in your current life.
Here are some ideas to consider:
Eating on the run or at your desk will wreaks havoc on your fitness and health even with the best-laid diet plans. If you weigh even a kilo more than you’d like, try to identify where you are going astray.
If fast food is your downfall, look at what you order. Most fast-food joints and all drive-through’s offer salads. Cut packaged dressings that are full of fat and you’ll be fine. You can also carry your container of low-calorie dressing or opt for (unsweetened) ice tea or black coffee.
If you eat lunch at your desk, figure out in advance what you’re going to eat to avoid any surprises. If it’s takeout such as a Burger then discard the bread and only eat the meat. Keep off French fries and sodas. They are full of calories, have very little nutrients and are so easy to overeat.
Is your office always filled with snacks and treats? When the snacks come by, find a reason to skip them either by keeping yourself busy or by leaving for a while. You’re not obligated to eat any food someone offers to you if you don’t want to.
If business lunches, dinners, or those meeting banquets are your obstacles, have a solid plan on how to handle them.
Lunch is easy to handle. Choose salads with lean meat or fish or cottage cheese and you’re good to go. For dinner, skip the appetizers and desserts to moderate your calorie intake.
Banquets are tricky because a plate is shoved in front of you, filled with food you would never order by choice. Cut whatever protein and vegetables there are into little pieces and chew slowly. Get a cup of black coffee and place it in front of you to stop an eager waiter from sliding a plate of pie onto your table.
Entertaining in the home creates a different set of problems. Usually, you know the hostess and want to avoid arousing any bad feelings. Pick one type of food and stick to that. Carry a bottle of mineral water with you at all times to create an impression that you are drinking and no one will notice.
Over some time, these little changes can have a significant impact on your weight. If you are hungry when you get home, make sure that you have some liquid protein or a health shake available to complete your daily nutritional needs.
With the best of intentions, millions of us buy gym memberships. If we all used them as we promise ourselves, we will, gyms would be busy all year round.
Health clubs can keep signing up more and more members because they know that the number of regulars will stay about the same. New members will show up in a burst of initial enthusiasm but within a few short weeks, they will fade away.
Unless you have a job with very regular hours, something few of us enjoys these days, it’s not easy to commit to a gym routine. We mean to go but then an important meeting comes up, or our significant other asks us to do something, or the kids pester us to drive them somewhere.
Our high demand lives coupled with the current situation in the world means we have no choice but figure out how we can get our exercise at home.
There are lots of home equipment that promises to flatten your abs, define your pecs, and sculpt your entire bodies. If you’ve ever bought such equipment, you quickly realized that it was relegated to the basement or the garage to gather dust after the initial excitement wore off. Buying such equipment is a waste of your precious time and money because you don’t need it. You can do a simple but effective home workout with the use of bands and dumbbells.
To slip exercise into your schedule, choose activities that don’t need any preparation time or specific clothes.
The old staples of push-ups, sit-ups, squats, yoga, and calisthenics have stood the test of time for a reason. You can do these at any moment during your day without the need for prior preparation except a short warm-up. Other programs such as Pilates and follow-along online video workouts also fit these requirements.
When you find a secret half-hour free, take a walk and, if you can, magnify its benefits with an occasional bout of quick short sprints.
Such a plan may not get you ripped abs. But it will keep you limber and semi-fit while avoiding that energy-draining guilt of setting goals then failing to follow through.
3. Taking care of yourself.
We have all read the accounts of Cleopatra bathing in milk to bleach and smooth her skin. But she was a Queen and didn’t have to get up at the crack of dawn to fight the traffic into the office. She didn’t have to take care of a husband, a house, or a child.
You’d have the time to leisurely bathe if it weren’t for the many things you need to do. Cleaning the house, finishing that report, helping kids with their homework, cooking dinner, the list is endless.
We know we need to take care of ourselves. We want to perform the routines that will stave off the signs of age that wait around the corner. Again, our lives get in the way.
Create a Simple Plan
Work out a minimal self-care routine then, by all means, stick to it. Identify one period a week when you can steal a couple of hours for yourself. Women, especially, are not good at his. They shortchange themselves because they are too busy taking care of everyone else and ignoring themselves. Stake out your claim to that two-hour window as if your life depended on it. Use it only for you.
Use it to take deep full-body treatments, practice relaxation, listen to music, or to go for long walks in nature. Pamper every part of your body and spirit. Think about yourself, your goals, and your dreams. Appreciate yourself and the good things life has brought you. And finally, use it to lay plans for future self-development.
Our lives are full of what we have to do that our wants and internal needs are often unmet. In even the busiest and most demanding schedule, there are moments we can carve out for ourselves, but only if we insist on it. Right now, is the time to become assertive about yourself. You too deserve a brief moment in the sun.