Look, I was never that girl who rolled out of bed super lean and cut without any effort — promise! I have had to work for my strength and power, and it’s so worth it.
I grew up in a household where food wasn’t just a pastime — it was THE pastime. Our family structured our social time around food, and we had a lot of fun, too. I didn’t want to cut out my enjoyment of such experiences, but I did need to find a way to counterbalance the effects of indulging.
So I took up fitness. As I got more and more committed to it, I saw all the positive results it had on my life. Apart from the effects it had on my body image, it gave me a sense of intense confidence and self-esteem, and built discipline in every realm of my being. Through setting and achieving my fitness goals, I began to believe that I could do the same in both the professional and personal aspects of my life!
Drawing from my book STRONG IS THE NEW SKINNY: How to Eat, Live and Move to Maximize Your Power, here are my top five tips for setting yourself up to succeed and becoming the best version of yourself.
1. Create an environment that sets you up for success.
Would you suggest a fun outing at a bar to an alcoholic? Probably not, unless you wanted to prepare for the possibility of a very messy end to an evening. Likewise, don’t put yourself in front of the same temptations with unhealthy food. If you buy bad food, you’re setting yourself up to fail. Do the opposite!
2. Keep a brag box.
Even if your ultimate fitness goal is months away, celebrate your incremental successes each day. You deserve it! Jot notes about your progress in a journal: “Walked a mile in 14 minutes today, hooray!” Or, drop mementoes (maybe a special leaf from a challenging hike) into a box. Take a moment to periodically open the box and remind yourself how far you’ve come!
3. Cultivate habits that energize your body and mind.
Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could get fit while sleeping in bed? Well, guess what: we absolutely can. Adequate sleep are among some of the habits that support and enable excellent overall fitness. Remember that physical fitness doesn’t exist in a vacuum — making space for rest and meditation can and will pay off in the waistline.
4. Think about food in a healthy way.
Sure, food can be a source of pleasure. (Remember how I grew up?) But at the fundamental level, it’s really a source of fuel your body needs to keep going and work to its top abilities. It might take a bit of brain retraining to think about it that way, but consider these approaches to live by.
First, if you can’t kill or grow it, don’t eat it! No good comes of eating a bunch of mysterious, processed foods.
Second, have a healthy, hearty breakfast to jumpstart your body. And eat regularly — every 3-to-5 hours — to stave off hunger and temptation.