Monday, May 24, 2010

Secrets of Success

The World Health Organization defines health as "a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity." That's what I'm trying to accomplish here.

In the past I have failed at fitness programs because my goal was merely physical fitness and avoiding disease, and more than anything, losing weight.  This resulted in a self-defeating mindset in which I would follow strict programs of various types.  I have tried salad diets, soup diets, calorie restriction diets, Adkins, and Fit For Life.  Something that all those diets have taught me is that dieting just doesn't work, at least not for me.  All those diets tell you what to eat and when, and the problem with that is that it's always a drastic change from what I was used to, and it's combined with exercising more than I'm used to exercising and eating much less than usual.  That all resulted in my body me, me hating my body, and being crabby and unpleasant.

Instead of weight loss, my goal is now achieving my ideal of total health.  It started at Lent with my desire to do something to amend my life and grow closer to God.  Forty days is the perfect amount of time to permanently establish a positive habit, and I used it to start a Couch to 5K training program.  When I've imagined a healthy person, I've always imagined someone who could run a 5K.  I felt like if I could run a 5K, I would say I was healthy, even if the scale said I was overweight.  So I made it my goal to slowly yet consistently work up to running 3.1 miles.

After a month of consistent running, I started changing my diet slowly as well, but that part was completely unintentional.  Okay, not completely unintentional.  Running made me realize that I have more willpower than I had ever given myself credit for.  I was just misapplying it in the past.  I began reading a great book called Eat, Drink, and Be Mindful, and the only thing I did was try to observe myself and pay better attention to my body and how I feel.  Running helped me notice things about my body.  When I ate I got full faster.  Rather, I noticed being full as I was getting full and not after the fact when I was miserable.  Eating right is something I'm still struggling with, but I feel like I have already come a long way, and I know that it's just small steps.  I'm taking off about a pound per week, which is really normal, healthy weight loss, something I'm experiencing for the first time.

And in a little over a month, I'll be experiencing something else for the first time: my first 5K, running through lavender in Mona, UT.  I definitely have seen that small things done consistently can have a huge impact on your life.  That kid who could barely finish the mile run in high school gym class will be voluntarily crossing the finish line of a foot race.  And I'll be happy to do it!

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