Stop Cheating Yourself

16 04 2012

Liz GilchristRecently, I read an article regarding health and fitness I found not only to be very helpful, but focused on getting back to the basics of making the most of your exercise time and sensible nutritional decisions.

For example, the article by Sandra Gordon discusses ways that we can cheat our way out of exercise. Exercise should be time that you spend focusing on YOU! It is hard to concentrate on exertion when you are fiddling with the pages of a magazine, book or an electronic reader. Another distraction can be your phone. If you have people to chat with, do so before hopping on the machine. Not only can it be distracting for those around you, you are less likely to get your heart rate up when you are talking and avoiding heavy breathing.

A quick fix to take your mind off of the time is to get lost in music. A study in the UK revealed that cyclists who listened to fast music “pedaled faster and farther and enjoyed their workouts more than those who listened to slower music.” There are many inexpensive options for portable music players on the market. In fact, while writing this blog, I found MP3 players for LESS THAN $10! So, take some time, load music you love and get to work. Not willing to make the purchase just yet? Most fitness centers continuously play music and can be receptive to station suggestions.

Another trap is the “I can just work those extra calories off at the gym.” The truth is that most people don’t have the extra time and wouldn’t put it in, even if they did. A more realistic approach would be to consistently pay attention to your nutritional intake. An easy way to do this is through logging your food. We say this all the time, but so few really take advantage of the many options available. There is always the trusty pen and paper, which can increase your awareness tremendously. In addition, there are numerous FREE logging tools available online. If you think that now is the time for you to check them out, there are direct links in the “For Participants” tab of this website.

Another reasonable answer to the birthday cake or desert dilemma is to plan ahead through eating a light breakfast or lunch and making room for the extra calories in your intake for the day. We all know that depriving ourselves does not work, so rather than feeling guilty, feel empowered instead through planning ahead.

It is through small steps that we grow to stop cheating ourselves and make the most of the time we have. Healthy living and change is progressive and a priceless gift we can offer ourselves. Sometimes, all that is needed is a little additional planning and exertion to lead to BIG results.

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