This post is the first in a Simple Health and Fitness series. My goal is to guide you (and me) into creating a simple personal health and fitness plan. I will not be prescribing a particular eating or exercise regimen because I’m an insurance guy, not a certified anything.
That said, we all know what works for us and what doesn’t. These posts will be about helping you uncover what you know works for you and to help give you a method for sticking to that plan. I will toss out ideas from time to time, but mostly in the context of what works for me. Take it or leave it. And always talk to a doctor.
Enough intro… let’s get to it.
One of the most difficult thing for human Americans to do is to maintain a simple health and fitness plan.
Comfort food, sugary or alcoholic drinks, and lack of exercise (i.e. sitting around watching TV) are go-to responses for many of us when we’re stressed out, tired, or generally ill-at-ease.
Plus chocolate is awesome. And salty snacks are awesome.
The world is against our health and fitness goals!
Consequently, holding on to any long-term commitment is like running through an obstacle course of chocolate rivers, hurdles made out of pixie sticks and Twizzlers, climbing walls made of potato chips, and ball pits of popcorn. It feels nearly impossible.
My goal with this series of posts is to help you help yourself.
I’m not going to prescribe specific exercise or eating plans. I’ll share what works for me, but I expect that you know what works for you.
Your problem is that you don’t stick to the plan that works for you. We all remember that two-three month stretch where we adhered to a plan and saw results. We just always seem to fall off after that second or third month (or day).
We need to dig into our mental storage bin, pull out that plan, dust it off, and begin developing a lifelong commitment to health and fitness. This isn’t a 30 day challenge. It’s a challenge to start something that will stay in place (with variations, I’m sure) until you die at 107 years old.
(Some of you are experts, even professionals. Feel free to chime in in the comments below or on any relevant social media site).
Why a Simple Health and Fitness Plan is Important
First of all, a simple health plan is relevant to Simply in the Suburbs because without being intentional about your health, nearly every other effort will be thwarted.
The purpose of this website is to encourage you (and myself) to be intentional about living according to our top priorities. We simplify and get rid of junk (mental, physical, spiritual, and financial clutter) so that we can be freed up and energized to pour ourselves into our key relationships and other priorities.
Physical health is key to the energy required to do all of the rest. That’s why this topic is important.
Further, having a Simple plan is important because the more complex things are, the less likely we are to follow through.
For example, last month, I committed to a mostly Whole30 eating plan and 10,000 steps a day. I lost nearly 4 pounds. Most of the time I would’ve wanted to lose like 15 pounds in a single month. But realistically, if I ditch 1-2 lbs a month over the course of the year, I’ll be extremely pleased come 12/31. Wouldn’t you?
Components of a Simple Health, Fitness, and Eating Plan
There are four main areas that I believe are important for a long-term simple plan.
- Food: A simple eating plan that you can stick to for the long-haul is vital. While you might want to stretch yourself (i.e. do a Whole30 or some other crazy plan), you want to have a sustainable approach to healthy eating. And you want to make sure you can maintain some semblance of your plan whether you eat at home, at a restaurant, on the road, on vacation, etc. And only you know if it’s wise for you to build in cheat events and days. I, for one, will splurge on Super Bowl Sunday.
- Cardio/Movement: Go ahead and sign up for a marathon if you think that’s what you want to do. As for me, I’m going to slowly build on my 10,000 steps a day routine, adding some short sprint bursts and stairs and other elements. It’s wise to include some sort of movement into your daily routine.
- Weight/Strength Training: I will refer you to my disclaimer above. As for me, I’m going to implement body weight exercises for now and build up. For you? You know what you can or can’t do or what you will or won’t do.
- Sleep: Sleep is more important than we realize. According to my little Sleep Cycle app, I’m not getting enough. I need to work on that. It’s something we all need to be aware of. Our bodies need rest to recuperate, fight off buggies, and reduce stress.
Think through each of these areas. If you’re starting from scratch, you might want to focus on only one (I recommend getting the eating thing reeled in first – garbage in, garbage out and all that).
Do you have any initial thoughts on what a lifelong plan would look like in any of these areas?
The Ultimate Goal for the Simple Health and Fitness Plan Series
My goal is simply this: To help you create a workable, long-term, sustainable approach to your own fitness and health.
During this series, I’ll help guide you as you create your own plan (go see a health pro if needed). We’ll undergird this effort with some basic principles around simplicity, intentionality, delegation (i.e. get yourself a trainer if you can), creativity, habit creation, and a long-term goal orientation.
I’ll also offer up some tactical and strategic ideas and resources from folks who actually are experts.
If you’re with me, drop me a comment or sign up for the newsletter. I’ll be developing exclusive content, worksheets, and other fun items for those who are signed up. Look around my site – plenty of places to sign up.
I’ll post on this topic during the week throughout February (of 2016). I’ll leave weekends open in case I want to brag on my kids or something.
I look forward to this month’s long journey to getting started on a lifelong adventure!