Let’s face it; after 40 especially, everything about your body starts to slow down, pile up and drift south. And there’s absolutely nothing out there that’s going to magically transform your overall health and fitness levels from lumpy-and-lethargic into firm-and-feel-good fitness. You’ve tried the latest fad diets, the new miracle exercise ball, and maybe even practiced positive visualization. And you’re living proof that none of it works.
So what’s it going to take to achieve your best body? Because the sooner you get started, the faster you’ll get where you’re going. People you admire are already doing it, in fact, more so than ever these days, and you’re probably wondering how they made it happen just like that. What do they know that we don’t, and how do they make it look so goddamn easy? Why them and not you too?
It’s All About Discipline
Well, there’s no magic and it’s not easy. If it were, everyone would be doing it already. You do have what it takes to make it happen however, we all do. It’s just that some of us truly want it more than others. And when you want to look and feel great more than anything else, you will do what you need to do to get the results you want.
I’ve said it before and I’m going to say it again: it’s all about DISCIPLINE. You’re going to have to work hard at it and make real sacrifices, to actually show up for yourself and put in the time and effort. And when you change the way you go about your everyday life, your everyday life will change the way it goes about you.
I mean, at this point, what have you got to lose? Your muffin tops and recurring indigestion? Your poor self-esteem and mid-morning slump? C’mon, let’s change the script here! If you want to bring positive change to your life and the way you feel about yourself, here’s where you need to start:
21 Essential Tactics For Optimal Health
- If you’re a smoker –a major challenge to the health seeker– you’ll need to trade in your addiction to smoking for a new addiction to clean eating (read: fresh whole foods) and rigorous daily workouts.
- Change your mindset about food and exercise. Food is your body’s fuel, and exercise keeps your engine running smooth. That is it. Both are irrefutable and non-negotiable.
- Understand clearly that you must first get healthy to lose weight and be fit, not lose weight to get fit and be healthy.
- Don’t diet. Dieting is a temporary fix and you’ll inevitably end up back where you began at some point anyway.
- Change your eating habits and sustain the changes. A plant-based diet is absolutely crucial to optimal health. You can still consume moderate portions of meat, chicken and seafood, but at least 50% of each meal should consist of plant-based foods. Start eating to live, not living to eat.
- Drink lots of water, starting with a minimum of 16 ounces first thing in the morning. Eight glasses a day might not strictly be necessary, but it’s a pretty good idea–especially as a substitute for the sweetened beverages, coffee or alcohol you’d be drinking otherwise.
- Eat a solid breakfast every morning. This should include a serving of fresh fruits and/or raw vegetables.
- 3 small meals a day is fine; eating more often isn’t necessarily the best idea. Limit your snacks and choose them wisely (12 almonds is a snack). NO JUNK FOOD!
- Exercise some serious portion control. Each meal should typically consist of 1/6th starch, 2/6ths protein, and 3/6ths vegetables. Eat moderate amounts overall; no stuffing your gut.
- Don’t overdo it but also don’t skimp on the protein. Or you’ll still feel hungry soon after you’ve eaten.
- Eat a heaping of raw vegetables every day. This item right here may sound super-boring but it’s actually super-important (a non-negotiable). You can even start having your raw quota with breakfast (like salad and boiled eggs, or onion and tomato atop a veggie burger).
- Don’t consume sugar. Period. Ok, ok, you can still have the occasional little nugget of dark chocolate or pinch of pineapple cake. But learn to forgo dessert, drink tea without sugar, and pass on the fruit juice unless it’s pure and fresh and you’re not having more than a glass a day.
- Stay away from bread, pasta, processed foods, dairy, red meat and non-organic chicken. Now don’t panic; this doesn’t mean you can never have any of these ever again. But you should view them as treats only to be had in moderation.
- Ease up on the alcohol. Seriously. You may love your glass of red wine and a rum drink or two, but on the special occasions that you do indulge a bit, make sure to combine it with several glasses of water. Also, plan to regularly have at least two alcohol-free days per week. At least.
- Drink one cup or more of plain unsweetened green tea daily. Don’t ask, just do it. It’s good for you and your skin will look amazing for it.
- Exercise every single day. Even just for a little bit, especially on the days you least feel like it. Do what works for you so long as you work up a sweat. Make a firm schedule and stick to it, and if you do miss a day, just make up for it by putting in a little extra work next time.
- Try to get at least 7 hours of sleep every night. There’ll be occasions where you have to make do with less, so offset this by resting extra hours the following day (or night).
- Be realistic about your energy levels. You may have tread-milled for 45 minutes yesterday, but today if you start feeling faint after 20 minutes, stop. Don’t overdo it.
- Find an accountability partner to get started. Someone who will show up or call and hold you to account if you slip up or try a cop-out move. Be prepared to pay them if you have to.
- Set health and wellness goals, and work towards them every day. Be patient but firm with yourself. You won’t get there overnight, but if you apply consistency and discipline it will happen.
- If you become sick or stressed out, stop everything and do whatever you need to do to take care of those issues first. Because if you don’t, they can effectively ruin your life forever. Remember, nothing else matters if you don’t have good health.
Now go out there and get in gear. Remember you’re not alone; we’re in this together. May the force be with us both.
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