I’ve got to be honest with you: getting in shape is horribly exhausting. I started working out last Monday (after taking a few months off and putting back on all the weight I lost last year) and I am terribly sore all over. Even those muscles I haven’t really worked yet are pretty sore. I’m eating better, but my body is revolting as it tries to fight back against these new found “good” foods. I’m tired and sluggish and have no energy.
The experts will tell you that if you exercise then you will have more energy and feel better. I don’t doubt this to be true. But what they don’t tell you is that, at least in the beginning of a health & fitness regimen, life might actually suck. It’s no wonder that a lot of people who start exercising or eating right quit so soon after starting. It’s hard. You will sweat. You won’t like what you have to eat. Or you’ll be hungry because you’re not eating enough. You’re tired, light headed sometimes, and sore all over. It’s kind of like having the flu without the throwing up part (that is, unless you’re working out REALLY hard – in which case, you might experience that as well).
So how do you beat the “beginning to get healthy and fit” blues? You beat it by starting slowly.
You wouldn’t start a marathon by sprinting, would you? No, you’d pace yourself to make sure that you could finish the entire race. The same principal holds true for getting in shape. You didn’t gain all of that weight overnight, and no matter what the commercials or ads in the magazines tell you, you won’t lose it overnight either. It’s going to take time. Losing weight, or even just getting in shape doesn’t have to be a “Biggest Loser” competition where you workout for hours and hours every day. Start slowly, maybe only exercising three times a week for 30 minutes each time and then slowly build up from there. You’ll minimize the soreness and damage to your muscles just starting out, and you’ll give your body lots of time to recover (which is when it does its restoration and healing). It’ll need it after being shocked into doing things it doesn’t normally do.
It works the same way with your nutrition. No one says that you have to cut out all of your bad foods on Day One. In fact, although I’m not a nutritionist or dietician, I would recommend against it. Just from my experience, it rarely goes well when you try to cut out all the bad stuff and only give your body good stuff right away. Make small changes it your diet over time and you’ll be less likely to fail. Start with just cutting out one soda a day. Maybe eat a healthy breakfast instead of driving through whatever place you drive through on the way to work. Or drink straight black coffee instead of the double whip, triple shot espresso. Then make another change on top of that first change next week. One step at a time. Before you know it, you’re body will want the “good” foods and revolt at the “bad” ones. It’s worked that way for me before, and it will again. So I know it will work that way for you too. Also, if you follow Heather’s phases, you can bring your family along for the health ride too. And they won’t revolt either. :)
And most importantly, please remember that no diet or exercise routine is perfect. Life happens. In the past, if I happened to miss a workout, or eat a bad meal, I’d blow my diet and eat like crap for the whole day. Maybe the whole rest of the week. That’s not the way to do it my friends. One bad meal or missed workout does not a failure make. We all fail. What’s important is getting back up and going again. You missed today’s workout? Don’t miss tomorrow’s. You ate cake and ice cream and two plates full of pasta at your friend’s birthday dinner at that awesome Italian restaurant? Just make sure your next meal is healthy. You’ll be right back where you left off and you didn’t miss a beat. Congratulations! You just looked life in the face and showed it who was boss. You’re winning!
Start slowly, and you will stick with it for the long haul.
Note: Heather and I are on a mission to intentionally take back the health of families. As Americans we claim we are too busy or don’t have enough money to exercise or eat well. We’re killing our kids and ourselves in the process, and it’s not okay. We want to show families that they can be healthy and fit, eat well and exercise…even on a tight schedule and budget.
If you’re a family that needs a change, we’d love for you to contact us and let us know how we could best help you create an intentional plan for bringing health and fitness back to your family. It won’t cost you a dime. Just maybe a little pride. But we could all do with a little less pride, don’t you think? Email Heather at “heather at intentionallyfit dot com” and we will work with you to get you and your family back on the road to a long and healthy life.
If you and you’re family already are healthy and fit, we need your help. There are too many hurting families that need what you can offer them. If you’d like to team up with us, or make a donation to help us further the reach of Intentionally Fit, let us know in the comments or send us an email at the same address as above. Thank you!