3 Mental Shifts You Need for a Healthy Lifestyle

Losing weight and crafting the body you desire is as much a mental exercise as it is a physical one.  You know the recommendations: 30 minutes of moderate to intense physical activity everyday with a balanced diet heavy in fruits and vegetables.  But if you're just finishing up the your third donut for the morning as you read this blog, and haven't seen the inside of a gym since you were doing the boot-scoot-boogie during PE in the 3rd grade, how do you even prepare yourself to have a disciplined approach to diet and exercise?  

As someone who holds down a full time job while rarely missing a workout, and also is a self professed sugar addict who still manages to eat a balanced diet, I will give you some tips on how I manage to remain disciplined.  Hopefully, you will find a nugget or two of wisdom that you can adopt for your life.

1. Eat for Fuel, Not for Pleasure

In the realm of statements that are easier said than done, this one ranks towards the top.  As impractical as it is, it can also be the most powerful tool you have to make you a better you.  You have got to shift your mind from thinking that eating a meal is a delicious experience meant to stimulate your tastebuds and transform eating into an activity you do to sustain your body and mind.  Once the food gets past your mouth, it all ends up in the same place, and as the same few compounds, be it fat, energy (glucose), protein, vitamins and minerals, or potentially harmful waste.  Eat to make sure you're putting the right fuel into your body, not necessarily for great tastes or experiences.  I know this is a very difficult concept. After all, from where else will you get such pleasure 3+ times a day?  But if you can successfully make this transition, not only will you be far healthier, you will also save yourself a ton of money.  Or as a friend of mine once put it "Don't eat for pleasure... have sex for pleasure, eat so that you can have better sex".  

2. Treat Your Workout Like Work

Most people don't seek out personal trainers because they don't know how to work out, they seek them out because they lack motivation.  The reason I've been able to work out consistently for the last 13 years while rarely missing a day is simple: I treat my workouts like work (or school).  Similar to school or work, there are plenty of days (and I do mean plenty!) that I don't feel like going, but I don't view it as a hobby.  I view it as an obligation.  I even go a step further, and use my dinner as my reward for having worked out for that day.  If you're having trouble with motivation, there are several apps and tools out there to help, including my personal favorite that motivates you by monetary penalty if you miss a workout.  You can find it at www.fitaccapp.com.

3. Do it For the Vanity

Look I get it, vanity = bad.  But I will tell you, the reason I started doing 25 push ups and 25 sit ups before bed time back in the 7th grade wasn't to lower my bad cholesterol or to improve my blood pressure; it was for girls.  The great motivator for most of our actions in life can be boiled down to their appeal to the opposite sex.  There's no need to fight it or find other alternative motivators.  Embrace it!  We all want to look better naked for our spouses, our significant others, or for our next hot dates, so think about that the next time you're faced with a choice between hitting the gym or skipping your workout.