Everywhere you look these days, people are talking about fitness, healthy eating, and staying in shape. We’re bombarded with information and news about food quality, GMOs, the war on obesity, and Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Program geared toward kids. It’s even crept into reality TV with hit shows like The Biggest Loser. In some respects, it’s like a craze gone wild!
All this focus on health and fitness is definitely a good thing. According to the World Health Organization, worldwide obesity has nearly doubled since 1980, with more than 40 million children under the age of five overweight in 2011. Additionally, according to the Centers for Disease Control, in the United States only about 25% of adults and adolescents eat the recommended five or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day. More than 50% of American adults do not get the recommended amount of physical activity to provide health benefits. And more than a third of young people in grades 9 through 12 do not regularly engage in vigorous physical activity. Clearly we need help.
With all the medical and scientific research about the effects of being overweight, it’s clear that pursuing a healthy lifestyle of eating the right foods and engaging in exercise is not an option anymore; it’s mandatory. Failing to do so will likely result in frequent visits to the doctor’s office, daily medications, and lethargy.
So does this mean you have to give up everything you love, eat nothing but grapefruit every day, and spend every waking moment engaged in exercise? Of course not! Being fit and healthy doesn’t have to be difficult … and you don’t even have to step foot in a gym. Here are some realistic ways to make fitness part of your everyday routine.
I admit that I’m very into health and fitness. As such, I eat a diet that is rich is all my essential vitamins and minerals because that allows me to live a full life as a mother, wife, CEO, spiritual teacher, daughter, friend, and world traveler. However, I don’t spend hours at the gym or live on three grains of rice per day. Rather, I’ve found that keeping a balance of mind, body, and spirit is the key. The more in balance I am in all aspect of the self, the easier it is to commit to my health goals.
Therefore, if you’ve always approached health by focusing on your weight, you’re missing a big piece of the picture. Weight, nutrition, mental conditioning, and spiritual awareness are all vital to creating the healthy lifestyle you desire. If you only focus on one aspect and ignore the others, you won’t be as healthy as you’d like.
· Make exercise easy and fun.
I stay fit by starting my morning with 20 minutes on the treadmill doing intervals that consist of running for 30 seconds, jogging for 1 minute, and then walking for 2 minutes. Research shows that interval training is great for cardio, muscles, and bone strength. It’s also easy since you’re not running for long stretches of time. I also practice yoga 3 times a week for an hour to get grounded and to stay flexible. And for a variation, I hike the canyons in L.A. for fresh air and to be in nature, which I believe is essential for your well-being. When I reach the top I do my visioning exercises for the day, month, and year.
This is the routine that works for me and that I find enjoyable. It makes exercise feel like fun and not like a chore. So try different things and discover what feels enjoyable for you. Perhaps power walking is your thing … or playing basketball … or swimming. Whatever you choose, if you love it, you’ll keep doing it.
For me, meditation, setting a daily intention and prayer are essential for staying focused and keeping my mind in balance. By doing all three at the start and the end of each day, I remind myself to stay in gratitude and to not sweat the small stuff. If doing this twice a day seems too much for you, then try doing it once per day. After you get in the habit and see the benefits of it, you’ll want to add that second session each day.
· Upgrade your diet.
For breakfast, I drink an Upgraded Coffee because it has the lowest toxin content with no chemicals added. This means you get the caffeine high and the delicious taste of the coffee without the jitters and crashing later in the day. I mix this morning Joe with high-quality grass-fed butter that helps keep me full and focused all day. It is surprisingly healthy and delicious. Throughout the day I snack on spouted almonds, sunflower seeds, and greens, and I drink 32 ounces of water. For dinner I have a green vegetarian meal. When I’m out, I may stray from my daily routine by having a few bites of a desert, bread, or a half glass of red wine.
Of course, this diet works for me and my metabolism. You may need more or less food during the day depending on your lifestyle and unique needs. The key is to get in touch with what foods work for you. Once you find a combination that works—that keeps you full and healthy—repeat it daily. Yes, it’s okay to eat the same foods every day. In fact, your digestive system prefers it. Just make sure you’re getting all the nutrients you need to be at your peak.
My biggest secret to health and happiness is my daughter’s laughter. Every morning after we wake up, we dance and laugh for at least 30 minutes. We sing with different accents and see who can be the most outrageous. This is our time to connect and have fun. By starting the day with laughter, we’re both able to take on any challenges that come our way, because laughter and love keep depression and fear far away. And without fear and depression lurking around the corner, anything is possible.
Healthy and Fit for Life
No matter what your current health and fitness level is now, you can make improvements. Think small. Try one new thing each day. For example, instead of saying I’ll do twenty push-ups, start with three push-ups and each day add a few more. One of the biggest mistakes is making big, unattainable goals. Anyone can achieve a small goal and then your self-esteem will rise and your discipline muscles will be activated. Listen to your body, your mind, and your spirit. Give them what they need to thrive, and they in turn will help you stay strong and vital for years to come. Remember, of all the things money can buy, good health isn’t one of them. Staying healthy and fit is a gift you give yourself. Enjoy your gifts!