How to master health and fitness as a human
The alarm blares in your ears. It’s 6 am. You grab your mobile, refusing to get up as the morning cold refuses to part. Switching off the alarm, you open Instagram. Your favorite fitness influencer has posted a series of stories: them training in the gym, them with a smoothie in hand, them basking in the early morning sunlight. You think, ‘How perfect a life they have. It must be so easy for them, looking so good always.’ It’s 6 am. You pull the blankets and sink back to sleep.
In the age of social media, everyone on your phone leads the best life: the perfect body, the perfect routine. But real life is not as picture perfect as their selfie or snap shows to be.
As a fitness trainer, I have to look a certain way that would instill faith in my clients. After all, who would want to take fitness advice from someone with a pot belly? However, real life is so much more than what’s visible on the surface. I also feel unmotivated on some days. I also feel tempted on some days. Even today, a ladoo can tickle me to overstep my calorie markers.
The inertia of habits
What keeps me moving is the habits that I have practised over a period of 15 years. Habits drive actions, actions drive results and results bring motivation. You are not going to start anything if you just solely focus on motivation. Just DO it. I am also human, so it’s not like I am always happy about eating nutritious, bland foods. I also eat ice creams, cakes, or what they call ‘junk’ foods, though I do not agree on calling them ‘junk foods’. It is either ‘Eat more’ or ‘Eat Less’. It’s not like one day of eating these foods will make you overweight. It’s all about what you do over a long period of time. So I always focus on building long-term habits and behavior changes.
There are days when I feel really low and unmotivated. During those times, I just pick up one habit that I feel I can do 100% justice to. It could be as simple as getting 7 hrs of sleep or drinking 6-7 cups of water or eating proteins and veggies with every meal. Just focus on one habit and as you get better, start piling up more habits. I have missed my workout days too. Don’t feel bad about it. You know in the back of your mind that you will get back to action the next day or whenever you feel comfortable.
Pause button mentality
I coach this concept to my clients always. It is a concept that I personally follow. I have developed a mindset where fitness must be accommodated as part of your lifestyle. Even when you are busy, what’s the best that you can do? What’s the tiny habit that you can focus on? When life takes over, just dial down the button; for example, instead of going to the gym for 5 days, you can work out at home for two days or walk for 2 days, and instead of eating proteins with every meal, eat with 1-2 meals in a day.
Break down big habits into granular habits and do whatever you can do at that time. During festivals and holidays, you are exposed to high-calorie and processed foods. But if you think about it, festivals, holidays and anniversaries come year after year. Adapting your mindset and cultivating strong habits will help during these times.
Good guava, bad burger
A mindset of how you look at the foods will help you a lot too. Do not look at them as good or bad foods. Instead, focus on eating mindfully rather than overindulging. Even if you do, don’t feel bad about it.
At the end of the day, it’s food. You didn’t commit any crime. It’s all about getting back to your habits and routine the next day. Feeling guilty will lead to binge eating disorders. Don’t feel bad about what you ate. Don’t cultivate an “All or nothing” mindset. If not today, it’s tomorrow. That’s about it.
So what do all these little setbacks and flaws make us? Simply human. What makes the final success sweet is all the hurdles we passed along the way. Don’t give your bad days much credit. They wither away as they come. Instead shift the focus to mindfully practicing all the good habits you’ve worked for over weeks and months and bounce back. As someone once said, it’s the little things that matter, isn’t it?