Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Sane & Satisfied Health Plan

I hope you had a Sane & Satisfied Christmas. Like me you probably had your fill of goodies. My husband and I made Fondue for Christmas Eve and I won't hide the fact that I stuffed my happy face.

As with every other year, the days after the holidays and the start of the new year bring all kinds of resolutions, mostly centering around eating healthy, dieting and exercising. Sane & Satisfied people should cringe at the word diet, by the way. It brings to mind starving oneself. It's also interesting how the word diet was originally a noun used like "a Mediterranean diet" or "a low sugar diet". Now it's a verb. "I'm dieting" or "I'm going on a diet". Often times people forget to define what sort of diet they are going on.

But I digress...

Whatever your health goals are this year, please don't fall into the same trend as last year and the year before and the year before. Which is to say don't listen to the hype, marketing and propaganda from "health gurus" who bank on the fact that thoughts of dieting and exercise are flooding the minds of Americans right now.

These "health gurus" will make you think their health plan is the "only one" of the season. That it's the "fastest way to lose weight". Some may even claim that you don't have to lift a finger and the pounds will somehow just fall off.

Don't believe a word of it!!!

The foundation of being Sane & Satisfied is to line up your expectations with your efforts. On one hand this means to make sure you aren't putting out more energy than necessary. It also means that you aren't putting out a little energy and expecting grand results.

What health gurus don't tell you is that your bad eating and exercise habits took many years to cultivate. The reason why we are getting more and more unhealthy stems from many, many sources. The only way to get healthy is to recognize what sources are causing you to not be as healthy as you would like. You are the only one who can create a solution.

Making a true change in your life, no matter what that change is, is difficult and requires time and patience. If those health gurus told their customers that do you think they would sell anything? No, I doubt they would either. But it's the truth.

So the next time you hear a "new diet and exercise plan that rids you of all fat in only 5 minutes a day and you can do it from the comfort of your favorite chair" think twice about buying into it.

Instead, follow the Sane & Satisfied Health Plan. It focuses on the key areas of a successful health plan. They are Movement, Motivation, Balanced Diet, Cooking Your Own Food, and Consistency.

Here are the steps:
1. Movement: Just get up and move. Do the first thing that comes to your mind. Bike riding? Swimming? Yoga? Just do it for at least 10 minutes. Right now. Don't wait.

2. Motivation: Now that you have started moving reflect on how it made you feel. Hopefully you feel more awake and limber. Focus on that feeling. Remember that feeling whenever you think about exercising.

3. Balanced Diet: Now write down your favorite foods in each food group. You know them...grains, fruit, veggies, meat, diary. If you find that one group is pretty short, write down a food that you would like to try. Also list your all time favorite treats. Don't put down the candy bar you buy on a whim at the check line. I'm talking mouth watering, feeling content treats. Grandma's cookies, that cinnamon roll front the corner bakery. One of mine is rice krispie treats. These are the treats you should be eating. Stop wasting your taste buds on crap treats just because they are there. Save your sweet indulgences for food you really, really enjoy eating.

4. Cook Your Own Meals: Make dinner from scratch tonight including your all time favorite treat! Search online for a recipe, write down the ingredients and stop by the store tonight on your way home. Surprise your family with a home-cooked meal, feel the accomplishment of making food with your own hands, and relish in the yummy taste of a made from scratch meal.

5. Consistancy: This is where most people get tripped up. It's easy to start something with gusto but a lot harder to keep it going. The first step is to remember your motivation and understand clearly what you want and what you are going to have to do to get there. And then you must make it a priority. I think the best way to stay consistent is start with one change and consistently ask yourself, "What's next?" Drinking more water is a great way to start living healthy. It doesn't require much work, every restaurant has water and you don't need any special equipment. Plus water makes you feel full and if you are drinking water you aren't drinking sugary sodas.

Don't stop here! Keep asking yourself, "What's next?" "What can I do today to make my body healthy and happy?" "What new food can I try to replace a not so healthy food?" "What new meal can I make today?" My favorite foods to make are foods that I've liked at an expensive restaurant or at a restuarant I can't find where I live. My version is just as good as theirs plus I know what ingredients are going into it and I'm saving money!

I think the real reason why so many people fall off the healthy band wagon is because we are taught that being healthy is a lot easier and faster than it really is. So we start a diet and exercise plan thinking that we will just float through it and when it starts getting hard we give up or think that we must be doing something wrong.

Staying healthy doesn't happen in the space of 30 minutes a day. It may start there but it's much more fun and satisfying to work healthy moments into every area of your life. Not to mention you will be more successful at losing weight and staying healthy.

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