Eat healthy, stay active and stop making excuses

Let Your Body WinFeeling refreshed after a wonderful two-week Colorado vacation with friends and family it’s time to get my body’s insides feeling as energized as my mind and spirit.

Here’s why my body needs help.

We spent a week with close family – three couples and four kids – in Durango, CO. Wonderful cooks in each family showcased their skills creating mouthwatering breakfasts, lunches and dinners. This continued with our Boulder friends, too. I ate heartily at every single meal (boof!) and consumed generous amounts of alcohol over evening card games, laughter sessions and football games.

Now that we’ve returned, we’ll do our annual post-holiday, two-day cleansing apple diet to rid ourselves of our excesses.

I have two additional healthy intentions:
· To switch to one or two meals weekly of beans and legumes, with little or no meat: since my husband is the cook, I must convince him this is a good idea. So, while in Boulder I purchased a bean cookbook. To make this happen I may have to cook these meals – I haven’t cooked for over 27 years.
· To return to my exercise regimen: weekly bicycling, kayaking and Nordic Track plus yoga multiple times a week. I slacked off last quarter due to a variety of reasons, one of which was the cold weather.

If I fail to accomplish these goals, I’ll stay attuned to my reasons – aka excuses, like it’s too cold to kayak today.

Best-selling author Bob Greene, Oprah’s former personal trainer said, “I’ve heard every excuse on the planet – except a good one. Having an excuse is an obstacle that you choose to place in front of yourself. … in general, we do it to justify not changing. When you are out of excuses is when you are ready to change.”

Which excuses justify you not changing? Do your knees hurt? Maybe your job exhausts you so much that you can do nothing when you get home but veg out. Whatever your excuses, bring them to your conscious mind and admit that you just don’t want to do whatever it is you’re considering. Keeping excuses conscious versus automatic (unconscious) gives you more power to change someday.

Also, strengthen your motivation for healthy change by using intrinsic reasons that benefit you rather than someone else. The day of each week I target for my Nordic Track session isn’t a day I say, “Yippee! I get to do the Nordic Track today.” I just do it because I’m committed to strength, energy, health, flexibility, etc., all intrinsic reasons to work out.

Greene encourages you to look for some form of activity that fits you. Distract yourself while doing it if that would help, like watch TV as you march in place. Make a t-shirt for yourself with “No excuses” printed on it. Eat modestly and healthfully five days a week leaving two days to eat whatever you like. Do whatever works for you.

As one reformed couch potato said, “There is no excuse good enough for poor health.”

Jacquelyn Ferguson, M. S., is an international speaker and a Stress and Wellness Coach. Check out her book, Let Your Body Win: Stress Management Plain & Simple.