Writing about health and fitness, I admit I can get a little overly philosophical. This was put in perspective for me the other day when I was in the gym and saw a woman I see there only every three or four months. I looked over at her running on the treadmill and saw someone who’d made a small transformation to her body. She never needed to lose tons of weight, but she’d obviously been doing something different. I went over to talk to her and tell her how great she looked, and she said she’d never worked so hard in her life.

Jamie is a 41-year-old woman, with three sons ranging from about 10 to 15, who has worked since she was about 14. She’s still married to her first husband and always seems upbeat whenever I run into her.

So how did she transform her body? And why did she do it? She already looked good before and seems to have a secure situation at home. Why the change?

Jamie said she decided she wanted to feel different and maybe make a few physical changes to her body. How did she make it happen? When I asked her, she said she wrote a long book, and then on page 500 she’d finally get to the bottom line and say, “You have to work out and watch what you eat.” And on a certain level, it really is that simple.

Need a little help getting there? Here are some tips:

1. Decide. 

It takes that moment where you can honestly say to yourself, “This is it, I want to make a change.”

2. Commit.

Once you connect with the fact that you want to change, you have to commit to the process. You may miss a day of training here and there, or shove a stress donut in your mouth, but the only way for you to get back on track is to recommit. This won’t be fun, so you’ll have to dig deeper within yourself to create the change you want.

3. Believe in yourself.

Just know that you can do this with good eating and consistent exercise. Results are not just for members of a special club — they can happen for everyone.

4. Move.

You’re going to have to move your body at least 4 to 5 days a week, but not for hours and hours at a time. Just get moving, even if you start out with 15 to 30 minutes a day. As time goes on and you want to see more changes in your body, you’ll have to move harder and longer.

5. Eat right.

Watch your portions, eat real food (not out of a bag, can, jar, or microwave), drink lots of water, go easy on the sugar, avoid fast food, and don’t eat too much dairy, pasta, bread, white rice, red meat, foods made with flour, or foods with lots of chemicals and preservatives. Easy, right? I know it’s tricky, but this is part is really key. What you put in your mouth affects your butt, brain, and mood.

6. Decompress.

Try to manage your stress and make sure you’re getting enough sleep. And take a deep breath now and then — aaaah.

So here’s to Jamie and her page 500, for reminding us to keep it simple.


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