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Now that I’m getting into my healthy theme for the year, I’ve been learning some things that some of you will think are downright basic. You must be wondering how I got this far in life without learning them.

But I did. And the amazing truth?

I have learned why losing weight is so difficult. I have figured out why people start working on it, but give up long before they reach their goals…beside the fact that they can’t eat their favorite foods.

Developing healthy means many new habits + saying “no” to myself!

Here is the reason. In order to lose weight in a way that it will stay off, you need to develop a host of new habits. Think about it. If you start off out of shape, overweight and not in the habit of eating good food and exercising, the habits you need to develop include the following:

  • Develop the habit of regular exercise to develop a higher % of muscle vs. fat…preferably having the fat down to 30% of your body weight.  (the more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism will be.)
  • In terms of health, you need a balance of cardio and strength training. (I know I’m oversimplifying. For the professionals, correct me if I’m giving wrong info.)
  • Your daily activity probably needs to increase so you can burn more calories. something that can be helpful for giving you accurate information on that is one of the many items you can clip onto your sleeve or wear on your wrist. The one I have is $50, but I got it for $25 out of pocket + a found apple gift certificate from my sorting! It doesn’t have as many bells and whistles as the $100 ones, but it links to an app on my phone. It is made by a company called Jawbone and the app is called UP. It tracks my steps, how much I sleep at night, how sound it is (?), and how active I am during the day. If I’m not careful, I have days when my steps are in the 100’s…they should be in the 1000’s, preferably 10,000. I’m trying to get to 5,000. Awful isn’t it? Now, I make a point of moving around at intervals during the day even if it is only running in place.
  • Food intake:  Soon, I will start working on the food part…eating the right foods in the right amounts. Basically, I need to take in less calories and more of the right kinds of foods…less carbohydrates, more protein probably.
  • Water intake: developing the habit of drinking plenty of water. I have been drinking more water lately including drinking water with my meals. I must say, I feel much better when I do it.

This looks like only five habits, but tucked into those 5 areas are many tiny habits that include saying “no” to yourself on many occasion all during the day!

Who wants to be involved in a change of lifestyle that involves that? It takes a lot of commitment and a realization that the downside of the problem you are dealing with (overweight, unhealthy lifestyle, overloaded house, self-focused lifestyle, life of fear, etc.) is much bigger than the problem of saying “no” to yourself.

Find ways to make the change enjoyable or it won’t last

In the process, you will also have to find some areas of pleasure and enjoyment of the new lifestyle or it will NOT work out. It just won’t. The people you do it with, the time alone, the music you listen to…whatever it is during the exercise or new activity…you will have to find some pleasure there. The same goes for each part of the process. (The joy in getting rid of all the stuff, of giving to others, of learning to trust GOD to care for those things that could happen instead of being fearful, etc.)

If you can’t find foods you enjoy and love on the particular diet, you won’t stick with it. So finding the diet that is right for you, the exercise plan that works for you, etc. is all part of finding healthy for you.

Developing an enjoyment of exercise may mean you need the help of a professional for a period. It may take some creativity to do it in an affordable way, but it will be worthwhile working out a plan that works for you.

Right now, I am doing some exercises that are both fun and helpful to some sore spots, so that helps make the exercise a positive time. I’m also listening to a mix of music on Pandora that I enjoy. It takes me away from where I am while I work on exercising my body and ministers to my soul and spirit. (Find your example in the area of healthy you are working on. Realize there is also difficulty along the way, but find ways to make it enjoyable as well.)

Soon I’ll start doing the really hard work on my diet. That includes a huge package of habits and changes and counting and numbers and can tend to numb my brain…and overwhelm it rapidly! But by then, I’ll be in the habit of exercising

I’m trying to sneak up on it slowly, but I know I can’t ignore the diet if I plan to actually LOSE a decent amount of weight! So I’m plugging away, exercising for another week or two, drinking water and sorting and tossing stuff around the house.

I’m trying to get a little more equilibrium here before I start on the food part of the journey. But it is coming soon.

Meanwhile, I’m very slowly getting more and more space in this apartment. It just doesn’t show when you walk in yet because I have stuff by the door that needs to be moved out.  I’m getting there. I’m getting there…

I don’t know if you remember my commenting earlier that when I see someone who is way overweight, I think of that as a symptom of a problem, not THE problem.

The journey toward healthy is a personal journey. It starts internally.

The same goes for healthy. Dealing with a lot of the underlying issues of the apartment, time management (which I’m not totally dealing with right now), attitudes (that keep popping up as I have to say “no” to myself in new areas that turn out to be the same old problems I’ve dealt with in my life) all have a part of what GOD is doing in bringing health to this poor, sick soul.

Healthy is coming, it really is. I feel it more. I’m not sure you can see it. But you will. The early parts of healthy are often done at home, are more private. The results won’t be seen until there is more health. I’m at the stage where I’m seeing how sick I was!

How are you doing healthy-wise? It isn’t something that shows to others all the time. It is often more obvious to you than to them.

If you aren’t doing well in terms of healthy, start working one healthy goal into your lifestyle. Change is difficult. Be realistic. Take it slow and small at first.

But one lasting change at a time each month over a year, will result in 12 healthier changes over a year that will help you and those around you.

May GOD’s grace enable you to grow in grace over this year as you learn to say “no” to yourself.

graphic: tracimichelle