Our perceptions matter a great deal when it comes to achieving our goals. Our perception of exercise, food, dieting and the change process, can hinder or help us to achieve a healthier lifestyle.
2009 is upon us and an opportunity for a new start. This is a good time to take a look at our perceptions before making our annual health and fitness resolutions.
Health and Fitness, first of all, is a broad category that covers our physical, mental and emotional well-being. Can we really consider any of these components separately as if they don't affect each other? Here are a few questions we can ask ourselves about our perceptions which might change our focus on how we view food, exercise and the change process in general:
n Do we use the “Anti-aging Magic of Exercise”? Exercise is one of the biggest anti-aging tools that we have. It contributes to our health, physical appearance, functional ability, mental ability and emotional well-being. It's natural too. Exercise is Magic.
• Do we use the “Disease Fighting Power of Foods”? All year we looked at Mother Nature's 'arsenal of drugs' found in fruits, vegetables and grains, known as vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and the many benefits of certain fats, the Omega 3's! Have we focused on the disease fighting aspect of foods? Did we try to eat more of these foods for our health more often? Did we focus on eating these foods for health and disease prevention versus our weight? Now, you can. Foods are powerful.
• Do we use “Food as Energizing Fuel”? How often do we choose foods for our meals and snacks to enhance our energy? How we function physically and mentally can be greatly affected by our choice of foods. Remember too, food affects our mood. High junk sugar foods and drinks such as soda can play havoc with our energy and mood versus the healthier choices we know we should take the time to make. If not, we can now and let's start with breakfast. High fiber cereal anyone? Food is Fuel.
• Do we practice using “Healthy Coping Tools” for stress management? Do we eat too much, drink too much or smoke too much as a way of coping with stressful situations? When we use healthy coping tools more often than not, we can feel physically better, cope better, feel emotionally better and be healthier. If not we can now. All a win-win situation…Manage the Healthy way.
• Do we have “Realistic Expectations for Change”? Do we expect too much too soon from ourselves when we try to make or break habits, or do we act on the view of “all or nothing”? Success starts with small changes. This is particularly true for making lifestyle change. It is time to be more realistic and start small.
• Do we view change as “What we are Giving up”? Do we view giving up something as “giving up” rather than gaining something? For example, do we see giving up our favorite fattening bagel and cream cheese as depriving ourselves rather than achieving a weight loss goal and a more nutritious choice for our health? This is the half empty glass versus the half full glass.
Our health and fitness goals are within our reach, we just may need to change our perspectives.
Margie Blatnik is with the Curry County Wellness Council.