Your Health: Coming Up With a Game Plan

It may seem a little late in the game for this post. After all, shouldn’t you have had a game plan before you even started? But when it comes to taking charge of your health — and determining ways to address your concerns — there is a lot of trial and error. It can be hard to determine in the beginning what will work for you. You may start with the best of intentions, and decide to stick with a strict diet and exercise routine, only to find that you’re constantly “cheating” and not sticking with it. What good does that do?

So by now you should have some idea as to your style: what will work for you and what won’t. It’s time to gather up all that knowledge and figure out where to go from here:

  • Are you working on getting a disease or disorder under control? Are there specific steps that must be taken?
  • Is there something your doctor has indicated you must do to get healthy? (i.e. cut out sweets to lower your chance of getting diabetes)
  • What are your ultimate goals? What steps must reasonably be taken to get there?
  • What kind of diet restrictions do you have? How healthy can you make your diet over the long-term?
  • What kind of fitness regimen works best for you? What will you be able to stick with over the long-term?

The key to this is longevity – both in game plan and in life! The reason so many diets fail is because they’re not sustainable. It’s not likely you’ll be able to give up all your favorite foods for the rest of your life. But finding a diet that works for your personality and lifestyle can help you make better choices and stay healthy in the long-term. And the same applies to most health choices: exercise, getting professional help, relieving stress, etc. Unless something is truly a matter of life and death, you have flexibility in determining what you’ll do to improve, and what lifestyle changes you’ll make.

So what works? Upon evaluating your trials and errors over the past several months (or years!), what have you found that works for you? Are there changes you can live with and stick with for the foreseeable future? Determine what these changes are and how you’ll incorporate them into your life.

Remember: nothing is set in stone. If you find something doesn’t work, or you want to try something different, you can make adjustments accordingly. Just keep in mind that if the ultimate goal here is to get healthy and live longer, you want to be able to tolerate the choices that you’ll be living with — because you’ll be living with them for a while!

Your Health: Get Moving

If you’re looking to lose weight or get in shape, your life changes have to consist of more than just eating well. You need to get moving! But there’s a reason so many people who sign up for a gym membership on January 1 forget they have it by February 1: going to the gym is not for everyone.

If you’re one of the lucky ones who is disciplined and motivated enough to go to the gym regularly, that’s great. Work with a personal trainer and design a regimen that’s geared toward your goals and workout style. Whether it’s bulking up or slimming down, your gym will have equipment to help you.

If you’re not so inclined, however, fear not. There are other ways to get your body moving that don’t require a gym membership. Here are some guidelines to help you get started:

  • If you like the equipment you find in a gym — but don’t have the motivation to drag yourself to the building itself — look into purchasing a piece or two of workout equipment, free weights, etc. to have in your home. Be sure to look for pieces geared toward your fitness goals.
  • If you walk into a gym and just aren’t sure what to do, look into workout classes or DVDs that offer a fitness regimen in line with your goals. The guidance and itinerary can help keep you on track with better results than floundering on your own.
  • If the idea of lifting weights or walking on a treadmill for hours at a time completely bores you, look into more engaging options. Try Zumba or dance workouts designed for video game systems. Trust me, you’ll still sweat!
  • If money is an issue, check out nature for some free ideas: walking, hiking, bike riding. You can also head to the local park for basketball, tennis, or swimming.
  • If you find it hard to stay motivated, try linking up with a workout buddy or a group of friends. That way, when you’re tempted to skip a session, you’ll have to disappoint others. The thought alone may keep you going. Along the same lines, you can also play sports with community organizations or with a group of friends — letting you socialize and get your exercise in at the same time.