Sometimes in life it helps to go back to the basics. You know, the ABCs …
- A: Attitude is everything. I had an elementary school teacher who used to say: “I think I can, I think I can’t. Either way I’m right.” I repeat this to myself on a nearly daily basis. It’s true. Your attitude will determine how successful you’re going to be in life. If you think you can do something, you can do it. You may have to work and work … and work at it. But you can do it. Have a “can-do” attitude, and you can … well … do! And, if you can, do it with a smile. Cuz life’s more fun with a smile.
- B: Be a role model. By making these sorts of positive changes in your life, you will become a role model to someone. Someone along the way is going to tell you you’re inspiring. It’s uncomfortable. And, at times, hard to believe. But realize that you are being watched, and people see what you’re doing. They’re proud of you and may want to do it, too. But they’re nervous and scared — just like most of us were in the beginning. They need someone to look up to. So, instead of fighting it, embrace it. Tell your story. Share your successes. And, this is very important, share your “failures.” People need to know that it’s OK to make mistakes. That you can lose weight without being perfect. That you can get healthy without giving up life. Embrace the role of role model, and you’ll gain far more than you ever give.
- C: Celebrate your victories — especially the small ones. You’re not going to see the scale drop five pounds every week. You’re not going to drop a dress size every time you go to the store. Don’t let you get it down — there will be beautiful, wonderful, small victories along the way. And these can be even more important than the bigger, more noticeable ones. Lower blood pressure. Win! Fewer medications. Score! No more airplane seat belt extender. Thumbs up! You get the picture.
- D: Drop the hate. For yourself; for others. Accept yourself as you are at that point in your life, your journey. You may have more weight to lose and habits to change, but at that very second in life (and every second that follows), learn to love yourself. Try to forgive yourself for treating yourself poorly in the past. And, please, please, move on from something you may not like in the mirror. Embrace love. You’re going to have bad days. You’re going to have good days. You’re going to feel like hating the world, hating other people, hating yourself. Stop. Give love to the world, get love from the world.
- E: Enlist help. While you have to be the first priority for this journey to succeed, and you have to do this for you and no one else, it really does help to have a support system in place. If it’s just one person you can turn to when things are tough, that’s great. If it’s a whole team of people, even better. But you must have someone in your corner.
- Feet on the floor, butt out the door. The hardest part of this whole journey is that first step. Once you take it, it’s a lot easier to move forward. So, get up, put your feet on the floor, do a little dance and get your butt moving. You’re the only one stopping you.
- G: Give it all you got. You only get one chance at this life, you need to give it everything you have. Nothing less.
- H: Have a little faith. Some days it seems like nothing’s going your way. You’re not losing weight. You ate something you shouldn’t have. Your race time wasn’t what you thought it should be. Have a little faith that you are on the right path. A slip up (also known as “life”) here and there along the way will not undo the good you’ve done. Have faith in yourself and your efforts. At the end of the day, you know you’ve got this.
- I: Ignite your fire. Find something you’re passionate about. For me it’s running and experimenting in the kitchen — not at the same time, obviously. If you can find an activity or sport that really lights you up, it will make this trek easier and a heck of a lot more fun.
- J: Just get over yourself. You’re going to make mistakes. You’re going to not know how to do something. So what. You’re not perfect. No one is. Get over yourself and your fears. Do not be afraid to ask for help. Do not be afraid to look silly. There is always going to be someone out there with more experience than you. But, they may also have an answer for you. You just have to ask for it.
- K: Kick out the dead weight. You will have people in your life who won’t support you and, even worse, who may try to sabotage you. You don’t need ‘em. As much as it hurts, and as scary as it is, you may have to get them out of your life. Start by talking with them and helping them understand. Be up front with them. If they can’t understand, you may have to kick ‘em out of your life. You don’t need that right now.
- L: Live and let live. This is your journey. It has to be. You have to own it, and you have to do what’s right for you. Don’t let people try to talk you down, lead you astray or influence you negatively. At the same time, realize that we are all on our own journeys. Don’t make comparisons. Don’t judge. Live your life, let others live theirs. And try to support each other along the way.
- M: Make it a point to treat yourself. You’re going to be putting in a lot of hard work. Saying no when you want to scream “YES! YES! YES!” And you’re going to say yes when you want to say “Um. Are you kidding me?” You’re going to have to pass up on some great offers. And you’re going to look at the clock some mornings and wonder what the heck you’re thinking. That’s why it’s so important to take time to treat yourself along the way. Don’t forget that this is life, and it is meant to be lived. So, get that massage, eat the cheesecake, skip a run to snuggle up with a good book. You work hard, darn it, you deserve some peace, fun and relaxation. I promise, you’re running shoes will still be there in the morning. And the carrots aren’t going to get up and eat themselves.
- N: Never say never. Never, ever, ever. Did I think I’d ever be running a 5k, much less a marathon? Heck. No. But have I? Am I? You betcha and you got it. I’ve learned that there are a lot of things I don’t know my body can do. And there are a lot of things I didn’t know I wanted to do. So, enjoy new experiences. Try new things. Push yourself. You never know what you can do until you do it. (Yeah, I just said never. Sue me.)
- O: Own this. You are in charge of your successes and failures on this path. No one can exercise for you. No one can eat your food for you. No one can say “yes” or “no” for you. You have to empower yourself to make those decisions. And you have to own them — good, bad or neutral.
- P: Prepare to be amazed. You’re about to do things you never thought you’d be able to do: Run a 5k, run a marathon, jump over flaming walls, make a homemade pizza from scratch, say no to deep fried whatevers, walk up 14 flights of stairs without stopping. Once you start down this path, you are going to really see what an awesome thing the human body is. Trust me, you’ll be amazed at what your body and mind can and will do for you — if you treat it right.
- Q: Quit quitting. Enough excuses. I don’t buy them. And, if you really think about it, I don’t think you buy them either. Don’t quit on yourself. You’re worth every penny, every second, every drop of sweat this is going to take. You wouldn’t quit on your kids, your spouse, your passions, your life. Why would you quit on you?
- R: Relax! This is not a competition. This is not a race. This is about you, getting healthy the right way. So, calm down, relax and don’t forget to enjoy your life.
- S: Sweat it out. Get up and get moving. Exercise will cure what ails you, it will. A good sweat session can do wonders for your mind, body and soul. Of course exercise helps with weight loss and weight maintenance. But it also can help a lot with self-esteem, productivity and energy. Besides, it just feels darn good to walk out of the gym covered in sweat knowing that you left part of yourself on the gym floor, knowing that you’re a little better than you were when you went in the gym.
- T: Tune out the voices. You’ll hear voices at various points along the way. Some of them will be in your very own head. They’re going to tell you can’t do something. They’re going to tell you you’re not good enough. Nonsense! You can do this. You will do this. And you are more than good enough for whatever you want to accomplish in this life.
- U: Understand that your life will change. Losing weight, getting healthy and embracing a fit lifestyle changes so much more than your outer appearance. It changes everything. It’s psychological as much as it is physical, spiritual as much as it is mental, social as much as it is personal. This is about working on all of you, not just your body. If you’re like me, you may start to lose sight of who you truly are. Recognize that as quickly as you can and get ahead of it. Try to keep things in perspective and ask for help if you need it. There’s nothing more frustrating than looking in the mirror and seeing a skinnier version of the same scared, self-conscious, depressed person (wearing a smile) and not knowing how to get to the woman — or man — you know is underneath it all.
- V: Variety is the spice of life. It’s also the spice of losing weight and getting healthy. Eating the same thing every day: Boring! Doing the same exercises day in and day out: No good! Challenge your body. Excite your taste buds. Make. This. Fun! Trust me, it works. It’ll get you through rough patches. It’ll get you off plateaus. It’ll keep your mind, body and spirit refreshed and excited to be on this journey. Don’t be afraid to shake things up now and again.
- W: Write it down. Your food. Your exercise. Your thoughts. Your fears. Your victories. Your slipups. Your measurements. It’s nice to have something to look back on and see how far you’ve come.
- X: eXamine your priorities. To succeed, you have to make yourself a priority. If getting healthy is one of them, you’ll find the time, and you’ll make it work.
- Y: You are what you eat. OK, so clearly, you’re not going to turn into a carrot or a beef patty. But, most of this journey is in what you put in your mouth. Yes, you should get and stay active. But value your body and your life by honoring it with what you eat. Because that’s where you’re going to notice the most difference. Eighty percent food, 20 percent exercise.
- Z: ZZZZZZZZs — get some. You need to sleep. Eight hours. Studies and studies and studies show the value of getting a good night’s sleep. It helps with weight loss. It also helps with focus, energy and attitude — all things that are key in finding success on this journey.
“Success is that old ABC: ability, breaks and courage.”~Charles Luckman