The aim of this chapter is to get you thinking about your reasons for living in peak health. Some of the most widely used words in the health and fitness industry are “motivation” and “accountability”. Accountability pretty much means that you know what you should be doing and you’re just not doing it. I like to distinguish between “motivation” and “inspiration”. Motivation is when you have a goal, and like a wind-up toy you need to constantly talk to yourself and fire yourself up to drive yourself towards an outcome. It’s like grabbing a goal and ragging it over hot coals until you get to where you want to be. That can be ok, but it sounds like hard work. Inspiration is different. Inspiration is when the goal drags you. It’s when the outcome is such an intrinsic part of who you are that you cannot live without attainment of your desire. This is a much better headspace to be in.
But what if exercise and healthy eating doesn’t come naturally to you? What if it isn’t one of your top five core values as a person?
Why would you get fit and healthy, and if exercise doesn’t come normally to you (which outs you in the majority of the population) why would you do it? What could make you do it? A heart attack often helps. We all know we should exercise and eat healthy foods, so why would someone treat exercise like it’s optional? Why would an intelligent person who would prefer to be in good shape rather than have a spare tyre around their midsection consciously purchase a block of chocolate, take it home, open it up, and eat it? And then not exercise for three months?
If health isn’t one of your top values as a human being can you link it to one of your top values? For example you might not love exercise and eating salad, but if you’re a mother and your kids are the most important thing in your world, and they are dependent on you, does it make sense to be the fittest, most positive mother you can be? Are you a role model to your kids where you make time to exercise, take time for yourself, and make healthy food choices, or are you showing your kids that it is ok to be 15kg overweight and be cranky on a regular basis? Do you want to have a great relationship with your grandchildren well into their 30’s and 40’s? Do the maths. And it’s not all about the number of years in your life, it’s about the life in those years. You could be a decrepit 40-year old, or an energetic 85-year old with a wicked sense of humour! I meet people in their 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and 60’s who live in pain and are so immobile they can’t get their shoes on. This stuff doesn’t fix itself – you gotta do something about it! If you won’t do it for yourself can you do it for your kids, or grandkids? Are you setting a good example for your kids with your health, your food choices, your relationship choices, and your career choices? What do you do for work? Is it leaving a legacy you will be proud of? Or are you going to tell me that you don’t have the luxury of choice?
If your career is the most important part of your life do you think you would do better at work if you have mental clarity and you are jumping out of your skin with energy? Did you know that your brain functions much better after you exercise, and you’re much sharper mentally when you undertake Intermittent Fasting?
If you don’t have great reasons to live in your best physical shape it’s hard to be inspired to do so for the long term.
“Wellness” and “Wellbeing” are broad terms, and it’s worth thinking about what they mean to you. What does optimal wellbeing mean to you? Can you relate to any of the following?
Living at your ideal weight
Being fit, healthy and energetic
Being surrounded by people who love and care for you, and who you love and care for in return
Having a great social life
Travelling the world
Doing work you love
Having a purpose greater than yourself
Having hobbies, pursuits, passions and interests in your life
Having things to look forward to
Being optimistic and having a positive attitude
Living with a sense of fulfilment
A high degree of self confidence
Having a great intimate relationship
Liking the home you live in
Enjoying your work
Receiving praise and recognition
Having an element of creativity and adventure in your life
Having a sense of spirituality
Feeling like your life balance is in order
Feeling like you are growing, learning, developing and progressing in some way as a person on a constant basis
Being happy with the way you look
Feeling like you have autonomy and control in your life
Being in a good financial position
Having a sense of community and connection in your life
It could be argued that most of these points have something to do with wellbeing, and living your best life, however everyone looks at the world differently and some of these areas will inevitable be more or less important to each person.
If you want to get a snapshot of your overall life balance go to www.inshapeinloveinspired.com and take the Life Wheel quiz.
(Insert Life Wheel diagram here).
Lots of people say “I can’t help it, in the office there’s always a jar of lollies”, or “I was at a work conference and I had to eat the croissants”. Like someone had a gun to your head. Or people say “Well I can’t cook one meal for myself and another for the rest of the family”. Actually, you can. The best results come when you take ownership of everything. People often say “Send me a food plan”. I grew disillusioned a long time ago spending time writing food plans for people I knew weren’t going to follow them. It’s not that they are lazy or undisciplined, it’s just not feasible to follow a food plan long term, and inevitably we go off the plan, or are out, or aren’t prepared. Nobody follows a diet long term. And it is not about being on a diet, it’s about principles that we can stick to that work, that are simple, flexible, personal, and result in peak health.
Learn to cook and prepare food, even if it’s a few key meals. Write your own food plan. But the food and prepare it. Learn how to make chia pudding, Brussels sprouts and bacon, green smoothies and lamb cutlets with broccoli and corn. Drink 2 litres of water per day. Don’t blame your partner or the kids because the food in your home isn’t perfect for you.
Most of us “want” to look great and live with optimal health, but don’t always do what needs to be done to get there. I have worked with lots of people in a health coaching capacity who did not achieve any significant results for a long period of time until they developed a more compelling goal. Here are some examples:
Louise didn’t lose any weight for 2 years. She felt it was a hormonal issue. Then she became engaged to her boyfriend. The wedding date was booked for 10 months after. Louise lost 12kg between her engagement and the wedding.
Tim was 26 years old and 115kg and was always “the big man”. It became his identity, although you could see it didn’t sit comfortably with him. Tim’s job became redundant and he wanted to enter the Fire Brigade. He had to pass the fitness test and lost 15kg. He lost 22kg and has now enjoyed a fruitful career as a Fireman for the last 9 years.
51-year old Tony always fit and strong and exercised regularly, although his weight was always over 130kg. His best friend suffered a serious health issue and passed away. Tony’s mindset shifted and he stopped drinking alcohol, took up intermittent fasting, had a comprehensive series of health tests, and lost 35kg.
In a perfect world what would your optimal wellbeing regime look like? Use your imagination and for a moment just have some fun with it and forget limitations such as time, money, and who will look after the kids. Would you walk 4 times per week, do yoga, do 5 classes at your local gym each week, have a monthly massage, and see a Chiropractor every quarter for optimal spine health? Would you do a flexibility class once per week, or do a morning fast 3 days per week? Would you do a juice detox, have a colonic, or book yourself into a health retreat once each year with a friend? Would you have organic food home delivered once a week? Would you take up Pilates, meditation, strength training, or swimming? The best exercise plans are the ones you enjoy, so make sure you include things you will look forward to.
And most importantly, be clear on your reason for doing it all. Ideally you would do it for YOU! Not to impress anyone else. Exercise does not always have to be about weight loss and getting fitter. It is often an outlet, or the only time you cab get an hour to yourself. Exercise is a time when you are not at home and you are not at work, and you get to do something that is just for you, and this time is sacred. Do you have to be selfish sometimes to get your exercise in? Hell yes! And that is nothing to be ashamed of.