ATTA GIRL BY LORI ATTA
In a world bombarded by reality TV, late night infomercials and internet, our heads are filled with delusional ideas of what health really looks like. NBC’s The Biggest Loser makes for great television, but it doesn’t depict real life. The infamous “Last Chance Workout” is great for TV ratings but it doesn’t exactly show people how to incorporate exercise into their daily lives.
The diet industry is out of control as well; and it’s no wonder with their multi-billion dollar profits. Everywhere you look there is always a new fad; what happened to just eating real food? Unless it comes in the form of a shake or juice these days we don’t seem interested. No carb, low carb, no fat, low fat, more and more protein; we are all so confused! What is right? What is wrong? Who knows anymore?
STOP! It’s time to shut out all those external influences that we listen to and get back to basics. Remember when we were young and exercise came naturally to us? Running, jumping, skipping, biking, swimming; those fundamental skills tend to get cast aside as we get older. We forget how much fun these activities really were; we start to look at them as a lot of effort and hard work. Insert excuses here.
Food used to be simple as well. We ate what we wanted as a child and didn’t obsess about calories or whether it was good or bad. We ate until we were full and we ate real food. We didn’t live in a world where cereal had its very own aisle. Fast food was a rare treat, not an everyday occurrence. We cooked meals, we sat at tables, and families had conversations. We’ve become too busy as a society and we’ve lost touch with how to have a healthy relationship with food.
Life does not have to be so complicated. If we all slowed down a bit and started to take a closer look at our lives, we would come to realize that despite our hectic schedules, we are all creatures of habit. Regardless of whether the habit is good or bad; we don’t tend to stray far from our daily routines. The human species is pretty predictable. Routine can be your best or worst friend. So it’s important to incorporate things into your daily lives that support your goals. Make your routine work for you rather than against you.
There’s no need to completely overhaul your life in order to get healthier. Nor do you need to spend hundreds of dollars on gimmicks that promise to make you fit. It’s time to start ignoring the excuses that keep you away from physical activity and healthy eating and start looking towards simple solutions. Becoming healthy is not a quick fix, it takes time and it certainly does not have to come in one clean sweep. This is why so many people fail at their attempts of health; they try doing everything at once.
If you’re not exercising at the moment, set a realistic goal of going for a walk two to three times a week. Saying that you’re going to go seven days a week may be too lofty a goal. Start small and be proud of your achievements, then add more as you become more confident. If your diet needs an adjustment, start with breakfast. Make a commitment to eat a well-balanced breakfast daily and as you become comfortable with that, progress onto lunch and supper. Tackle one meal at a time. We all want results yesterday but ask anyone who has made or sustained a healthy lifestyle change and they will tell you that slow and steady wins the race. It’s about being consistent, not perfect. No jumping on and off the wagon, just a nice steady ride.
We can all find health; it just takes time, patience and a daily effort. Take a look at your daily routine and find the areas that can be adjusted. Discover where you can fit in new healthier habits. Before long, healthy will be your new norm and excuses will be a part of the past.
Lori Atta is a fitness trainer with the Pictou County YMCA and a monthly columnist with The News.