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10 Reasons Why ‘Thinking Healthy’ Isn’t Enough To ‘Be Healthy’

10 Reasons Why ‘Thinking Healthy’ Isn’t Enough To ‘Be Healthy’

It’s no secret that the world in general is in fairly bad shape. Now, I’m not talking about wars, economic turmoil and shady politics, I’m focusing my attention on easily preventable health issues that have taken over the world. There’s a pandemic of obesity, heart disease and joint pains raging out there, and every single one of us should strive to be that brave soldier holding the front line. It’s easy to point at the government and ask them what they are going to do about these issues, but we all need to take control of our own lives and make some serious lifestyle changes if we want to improve our health.

Unfortunately, having a healthy mindset and obsessing about healthy living is not enough to actually make you healthier and stronger. Too many people these days manage to get the theoretical part right, but hardly ever get to apply what they have learned. Here are a few reasons why you need to do a bit more than just think healthy.

1. The best workout program won’t do you any good if you don’t stick to it

Sleeping in the gym

    Everyone knows that you need a good workout program to get the best results from your training. You need to plan out specific exercises, give the body enough time to recover, work in different types of training so that they don’t clash and cause other aspects of your fitness to stall – e.g. being too tired from running to lift weights afterwards – and work in a steady progression. This is all true, but sometimes we get caught up with choosing exercises and activities that we end up with an excellent plan, albeit for an advanced professional athlete.

    The thing is, a mediocre program that is written with your fitness level in mind and that you stick to religiously, will trump the best and most scientific programs that have too much workload for you to handle. In the same vein, if you keep skipping training sessions, and even go for a week or two without training, it doesn’t matter how well-rounded your routine is. Intensity and consistency are the things that will get you results. Keep training 2-4 days a week, get some light physical activity on your off days and you will see great results.

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    2. By contemplating the best daily and weekly schedule, you keep yourself from actually making consistent progress

    Making a schedule

      So, say you have a decent training program and you stick to it. However, you still want to get all the possible health benefits, and this requires several different types of training. So you try to squeeze in 3 trips to the gym into your weekly schedule, on top of the 3-4 distance running days. Now you hear that all this hard impact isn’t good for the joints, so you turn two of your running days into swimming days. Maybe on Fridays you could go dancing instead of doing more boring forms of cardio. Yeah and maybe next week you can do exercises in the lower rep range for strength and some sprinting, or maybe you could sign up for MMA classes.

      You see where this is going. Instead of sticking to 1-3 activities – e.g. lifting weights on a good full body program, hopping on a stationary bike 2 times a week and going to dance class 2 times a week – you want to do 5-6 activities, and end up making incredibly slow progress in every area, feeling fatigued and possibly giving up on everything altogether. If you want to avoid injury and make steady progress, pick a couple of things and work on them as much as you can.

      3. Sleeping in and sitting around the house for 3 straight days is not “effective recovery”

      Man on couch underwater sculpture

        “Well, I’ve heard that the body needs time to recover, which means plenty of rest between training sessions”, you say to yourself and then you sit on the couch for the entire weekend eating takeout. Your body needs some rest, sure, but as long as you get 7-9 hours of sleep, stretch and eat enough healthy food, you can train every other day. Once you get good it can even be 5-6 days a week. Light activities like running or cycling at a slow steady pace or even some brisk walking can be done virtually every day.

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        In fact, light activities such as these can be beneficial for recovery and help reduce muscle soreness. Don’t reward yourself with 3 days of lying around the house every time you do some moderately difficult physical activity, but do try to get more quality sleep, stretch and eat more protein, as well as fruit and vegetables.

        4. Blending some juice a couple of times a month to “cleanse” does not constitute a healthy diet

        Blender making a mess

          It might seem like a very healthy thing to do for people who don’t know much about nutrition or how the body works, but “cleanses” are not healthy at all. There’s nothing healthy about severely restricting your calories and only taking in certain micro and macronutrients at the detriment of others. Instead of eating an unhealthy diet and “making up for it” with a few days on nothing but magic [insert exotic geographical location] something berries in juice form, try to make better dietary choices on a daily basis. Limit junk food, sugary drinks and snacks, and go for more lean protein, fish, whole grains, fruit, vegetables and olive oil.

          5. Investing in tons of home gym equipment will not burn calories – you have to use it

          Rusty weights

            When we decide to change our lives there is no better way to cement our resolve and show the world our commitment than to immediately invest time and money into our health and fitness. However, many people will go out and buy all sorts of gym equipment – most notably stationary bikes, dumbbells, ab wheels, jump ropes and decline benches for sit-ups – only to use them once and leave them as overpriced dust collectors. Fitness equipment is not home décor. It is great to have a few items like these at home for those times when you can’t make it to the gym or if you don’t have a good gym near you, but you have to remind yourself to use the equipment regularly.

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            6. Buying expensive juicers and stocking up on vegetables and buckwheat flour won’t do you any good if you can’t keep your urges under control

            Junk food and veggies on scale

              The same as fitness equipment, people buy quality kitchen appliances and stockpile healthy food, only to later order pizza because they don’t feel like going through the trouble of making a meal for themself. I find juicers in particular to be a waste of money for most people, as it can be much less of a hassle to just eat a bit of fruit and go on with your life than to prepare juice and clean up after. You can also drink much more juice than you would be able to eat fruit, so there’s the issue of calorie control to think about as well. The bottom line is, find relatively healthy fast food restaurant alternatives, but also learn a bit about cooking and prepare some food in advance, because you will sometimes need a quick meal.

              7. Focusing on a few “superfoods” needlessly restricts your micro nutrient intake

              Superfood

                We’ve touched on this briefly before with “cleanses”. Once people hear about the best 3-4 foods for health or weight loss, they jump on the bandwagon and start eating nothing but those a few select foods. As much as it is healthier and better for weight control to eat broccoli, brown rice, kale, a bunch of berries, chicken breast, some nuts and bananas, it’s not going to give your body all the micronutrients it needs and you may very well be overloading on some, which is not healthy at all. This is why you should focus on a diverse diet where you eat different kinds of food throughout the week – everything from leafy green vegetables, legumes and chicken, to potatoes, fish and tomatoes.

                8. No matter how healthy your meal choices are, you’ll gain weight if you don’t control your appetite

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                Huge veggetables

                  Another big point about healthy food is that it will pack pound on you and even get you obese if you eat a lot of it. Gorillas and elephants are strict vegetarians, who feast mostly on leaves, and yet they are enormous. There were also plenty of fat people in Greece last time I checked, and they eat an incredibly healthy Mediterranean diet. This should tell you more about nutrition than any slick healthy food marketing ploy. So, try to make healthy diet choices, but keep your appetite in check as being overweight carries a whole host of health risks, regardless of what foods got you to that point.

                  9. Doing only 1-2 minutes of warm up and stretching is a sure-fire way to get injured during training

                  Weird baseball pitcher pose

                    Someone with a healthy mindset will preach about the importance of all aspects of fitness, particularly dynamic and static stretching, warming up before training and exercises geared toward improving mobility and posture. Yet when you look at even some fitness trainers at the gym, they will do a few jumping jacks and a minute or two of twisting and turning before jumping into a workout, and then another minute of stretching afterwards. This is not a good thing, as it will lead to cumulative injuries and issues with mobility and proper posture down the line. Do 5 minutes of light cardio and 5 minutes of dynamic stretching before your workout, and then 5 minutes of light cardio as a cool down followed by 12-15 minutes of static stretching after you’ve completed the workout.

                    10. When you set incredibly idealistic goals you are setting yourself up for failure

                    Reality sign

                      Someone with a healthy and goal-oriented mindset might look at what’s possible to achieve in terms of fitness and overall health in a certain period of time, and then set a bunch of idealistic goals. However, while striving to achieve as much as you possibly can is great, once you start failing to reach unrealistic goals you will begin to lose motivation and even get depressed about the situation. This is bad for both your mental and physical health. Instead, try looking at what is possible to achieve for an average person and set your initial goals a bit lower. This way you will feel great if you exceed these average goals, and won’t miss your target even if you don’t do everything right.

                      Being healthy takes a lot of work and patience, and while a healthy mindset is definitely good for staying motivated and focused, it is not enough to reach your fitness goals. This is one of those cases where it is better to be a doer instead of a thinker.

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                      Ivan Dimitrijevic

                      Ivan is the CEO and founder of a digital marketing company. He has years of experiences in team management, entrepreneurship and productivity.

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                      Last Updated on September 15, 2020

                      4 Ways to Deal With Big Life Changes in a Positive Way

                      4 Ways to Deal With Big Life Changes in a Positive Way

                      Life changes are constant. Whether it’s in the workplace or our relationships, nothing in life ever remains the same for long.

                      Regardless of the gravity of change, it can always be a little scary. So scary, in fact, that some people are downright crippled by the idea of it, causing them to remain stagnant through anxiety.

                      Have you ever noticed how much of life’s transitional periods are riddled with anxious vibes? The quarter life crisis, the mid-life crisis, cold feet before getting married, retirement anxiety, and teenage angst are just a few examples of transitional periods when people tend to panic.

                      We can’t control every aspect of our lives, and we can’t stop change from happening. However, how we respond to change will greatly affect our overall life experience.

                      Here are 4 ways you can approach life changes in a positive way.

                      1. Don’t Fight It

                      I once heard one of my favorite yoga instructors say “Suffering is what occurs when we resist what is already happening.” The lesson has stuck with me ever since.

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                      Life changes are usually out of our control. Rather than trying to manipulate the situation and wishing things were different, try flowing with it instead.

                      Of course, some initial resistance is natural if we’re going into survival mode. Just make sure you are conscious of when this resistance is no longer serving you.

                      If you’re feeling anxious about impending life changes, it’s time to practice some techniques to address the anxiety directly. These can include meditation, exercise, talking with friends about how you’re feeling, or journaling.

                      If you’re worried about a big life change, such as starting a new job[1] or moving in with your partner, do your best to control your expectations. It may help you to talk with people you know about their experiences going through similar changes. This will help you form a realistic picture in your mind of what things will look like post-change.

                      2. Find Healthy Ways to Deal With Feelings

                      Whenever we’re in transitional periods, it can be easy to lose track of ourselves. Sometimes we feel like we’re being tossed about by life and like we’ve lost our footing, causing some very uncomfortable feelings to arise.

                      One way we can channel these feelings is by finding healthy ways to release them. For instance, whenever I find myself in a difficult transitional phase, I end up in a mixed martial arts studio.

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                      The physical activity helps me channel my emotions and release endorphins. It also helps me get in shape, which generally increases my mood and energy levels.

                      Exercise is important in cultivating positive emotions, but if you’re struggling with anxiety in particular, it’s important to cultivate a regular exercise routine as opposed to a one-off workout. One study found that “Aerobic exercise can promote increase in anxiety acutely and regular aerobic exercise promotes reduction in anxiety levels”[2].

                      If exercise isn’t your thing, there are other, less intense ways of cultivating positive emotions and reducing anxiety around life changes. You can try stretching, meditating, reading in nature, spending time with family and friends, or cooking a healthy meal.

                      Find what makes you feel good and helps you ground yourself in the present moment.

                      3. Reframe Your Perspective

                      Reframing perspectives is a very powerful tool used in life coaching. It helps clients take a situation they are struggling with, such as a major life change, and find some sort of empowerment in it.

                      Some examples of disempowered thinking during life changes include casting blame, focusing on negative details, or victimizing[3]. These perspectives can make awkward transitional phases much worse than they have to be.

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                      Meanwhile, if we utilize a more positive perspective, such as finding a lesson in the situation, realizing that there may be an opportunity for something, or that everything passes, we can come from a greater place of ease.

                      4. Find Time for Self-Reflection

                      Having time to reflect is important at any stage in your life, but it’s especially important during transitional periods. It’s quite simple really: we need our time to step back and get centered when things get a little crazy.

                      As a result, big life changes are perfect for doing some self-reflection. They are opportunities to check in with ourselves and practice getting grounded for a few minutes.

                      Take a look at this reflective cycle adapted from Glibb’s Self-reflection guide (1988):[4]

                      Use self-reflection when facing life changes.

                        Self-reflective exercises include meditating, yoga or journaling,[5] all of which require some quiet time to get yourself together.

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                        One study found that journal improves “self-efficacy, locus of control, and learning”[6]. A healthy sense of self-control can make the process of change easier to bear, so that in itself is a great reason to try self-reflection through journaling.

                        To learn how to start journaling, you can check out this article.

                        Final Thoughts

                        Big life changes may rock us for a little while, but they don’t have to be as bad as we initially perceive them. If handled in a positive manner, transitional periods can pave the way for some serious self-growth, reflection, and awareness.

                        Cultivate a sense of positivity and find ways to diminish the anxiety around life changes. Once you make it to the other side, you’ll be grateful that you made it through in the best way possible.

                        More Tips on Facing Life Changes

                        Featured photo credit: Alora Griffiths via unsplash.com

                        Reference

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