There’s no denying that a busy schedule, stress, peers, family obligations, lack-luster motivation, career, etcetera, etcetera, pose difficulties to living a healthy, active, well life day to day. Let’s face it, nutrition and fitness are often the first things to be disregarded as unattainable when they feel less than easily accessible.
But these challenges – call ’em what you will: obstacles, roadblocks – are not impassable barriers. They are not a reason to stop, or quit, or give up. In fact, an obstacle is a platform, a stepping stone to success.
Hell, if you can find a path without obstacles, it’s probably not leading anywhere worthwhile. Consider this: in the midst of every challenge, lies opportunity. Unlike the comfort of regular routine, it’s these make-it-work moments that define your dedication and solidify your success. That’s where the magic happens.
You say: “I don’t have time.”
You mean: “It’s not a priority.”
Al says: “It’s not a matter of time, it’s a matter of priorities.”
We all have the same 24 hours in the day, even Beyonce. It’s how we use those hours that makes all the difference. Seriously, try replacing “I don’t have time to [meal prep, exercise, meditate, stretch] with “[Meal prep, exercise, meditation, recovery] is not a priority to me.” How does that sit with ya?
The Solution: Have a plan, schedule time, and honor it. In the same way that you’d honor a deadline for your boss or a date with your husband. Not just any plan, but a realistic, attainable plan that works with you and creates productive flow, not constricting boundaries. Check out this blog all about creating time efficiencies!
Practical Tip: If you’re looking to maximize fitness time, HIIT it hard! Short, maximum effort workouts lasting even just 15-20 minutes are equally as effective as long, steady state exercise. Even better, they can often be done right in your home to eliminate travel time. Plus, with a little help from a properly stocked kitchen, you can create nutrient-dense and flavorful meals rapid-fire style in just 20 minutes or less. Check out this blog on freezer & pantry staples.
You say: “It’s too expensive.”
You mean: “I don’t see the value.”
Al says: “Invest now, or pay later.” Spoiler alert: hospital bills as a result of chronic disease are far more expensive than grocery receipts or gym memberships.
In the world of finance, and easily applied to wellness, expenses are costs which are incurred in a certain period and are not expected to generate future cashflows. Investments, on the other hand, are expected to generate future cashflows are are the result of a specific set of activities.
The Solution: Get on board with the priceless value of your optimal health, and invest in it. Check out this blog on ways to maximize your dollars on nutrition!
Practical Tip: Eat nutrient-rich food on a budget by purchasing pantry goods in bulk, shopping in-season, and by choosing frozen protein and produce. Did you know the average meal prepped dish costs just $5, where the average restaurant lunch rings up more than double at $12.75? Save major money by preparing your own meals, instead of dining out.
You say: “My peers [family, spouse, friends, coworkers] aren’t healthy.”
You mean: “I am uncomfortable with the possibility of inconveniencing others, and fearful of judgement.”
Al says: “Be a leader. Own your healthfulness.”
Repeat after me, self-care isn’t selfish. And your decision to make choices that benefit your mind, body, and soul do not require justification, explanation, or validation. Prioritize the things that are going to help you show up as your very best self, so that you can excel in all the roles you play – from partner, to friend, to colleague, etc. Promise me that you will never, ever allow others to make you feel that your preferences, lifestyle, or goals are a burden or inconvenience.
The Solution: Be confident, keep communication clear and open, express the importance of your goals, ask for respect, and don’t pass judgement. Check out this blog on socializing health & wellness!
Practical Tip: Get your social-sphere involved! Plan healthy meals together with your family, attend group fitness classes with your friends, or start a healthy potluck once a week with your coworkers.
You say: “I have zero willpower.”
You mean: “I struggle with consistency.”
Al says: “You don’t need willpower, you need self discipline.”
Where willpower is an impulsive reaction, self discipline is proactive action. Existing habits have deep roots. Just think of how long you’ve been living a certain way – likely, your entire life. So those new habits, the ones you’ve been working on for only a few weeks, are delicate. And frankly, needy. They need constant nurturing to become the norm. Until you have been consistently acting upon your habits for more than six months, you are not yet in the maintenance stage, and you can’t rely on instinct, you must rely on intent.
The Solution: Don’t rely on impulsive willpower, take the steps necessary to set yourself up for success in any scenario.
Practical Tip: Making sure you are properly fueled with satiating and satisfying meals will support you in sticking to your plan by managing the brain regions that control appetite awareness, cravings, and ultimately food intake.
You say: “I don’t like healthy food.” / “I hate exercise.”
You mean: “Change is uncomfortable.”
Al says: “Preferences are malleable.”
The more consistently you consume nutritious foods and move your body, the more you will enjoy, and even crave it. Often times, what we think we like and don’t like are dictated by a warped way of living that put nutrient-poor foods and inactivity on a pedestal. What we don’t like isn’t so much the nutrients or the movement, it’s the discomfort that comes with change. I mean, do you really not like brussels sprouts, or did you try them once, boiled by your great grandma who smelled like cat food? Do you really hate running, or do heavy legs and shortness of breath challenge your abilities?
The Solution: Try everything twice, experiment, identify enjoyment… and implement it! Check out this blog on keeping health & fitness fun.
Practical Tip: Start by creating better-for-you versions of familiar favorites, a few strategic swaps can increase the nutritional value of a meal – like baking almond-meal coated chicken tenderloin in place of deep-fried and highly processed nuggets! Check out my Spinach Artichoke Cauli-Chicken Casserole that tastes just as delicious as a two-for-twenty appetizer, only waaaay more nutritious.
You say: “I don’t see results.”
You mean: “I don’t see results… yet.”
Al (or the translation of a popular medieval French phrase) says: “Rome wasn’t built in a day.”
You don’t see results, or you don’t see instant results? This is not 2001 and you are not a Magic Grow Capsule. Let go of eating and exercise as a temporary means to an end – yup, bye 5-day detoxes, 7-day slowdowns, and 30-day challenges – and embrace nutrition and movement as a way of living. The only Magic Grow Capsule when it comes to results is Consistent. Habits. Repeated. Over. Time.
The Solution: Have patience and track consistency. If goals are not met, change the approach, not the goal. Check out this blog on measuring progress!
Practical Tip: Step off the scale! Calibrations for body fat percentage and lean muscle mass are much more accurate indicators of body composition than weight.
You say: “How do I know it’ll work this time?”
You mean: “I am afraid of failure.”
Al says: “It doesn’t work, you work.”
Even the best plans and programs don’t work unless you do.
The Solution: Anticipate roadblocks, challenges, and difficulties and plan to overcome them. Check out this blog about motivation!
Practical Tip: Before taking action towards a more healthful lifestyle, rate yourself on how Ready, Willing, and Able you are to implement change on a scale of 1-10. If you’re anything less than a nine, re-evaluate your priorities, values, and motivators!
You say: “It’s too overwhelming, I don’t know where to start.”
You mean: You say: “It’s too overwhelming, I don’t know where to start.”
Al says: “Use your resources.”
Valid point. There’s incessant of noise and chatter and captions when it comes to the best diet or most effective workout routine. And don’t even get me started on marketing. We’re not to blame for being confused, but we can get educated. But the truth of the matter is, the right approach is unique to everybody and every (space) body.
The Solution: Consult an expert! Partner with a Certified Nutritionist, Personal Trainer, or Health & Fitness Professional to establish a plan that is going to optimize your goals. Click here to work with me!
Practical Tip: Start by setting a SMART (Strategic, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely Goal). Then break that goal down into habits, and those habits into actions. The actions are where you start!