Good Job! Now Keep On Keeping On... Staying Healthy That Is!
Once you have recognized that you are not at your optimal level of health, accepted that it is important and that you are the person responsible for achieving it, and put in the work to improve, the last, and everyone’s favorite step in the process is maintaining (and if you stick with it, even improving) your progress.
Remember how I said that health is a dynamic state of being that could be represented by an ever-changing line graph? To maintain the slope of that line moving higher toward optimal health, you must always have a focus on healthy decision-making. You have to commit to a healthy lifestyle, not just bouts of forced good behavior or fad dieting. These things waste your effort by causing you to yo-yo, if you will, up and down, never making any real progress. And, in the case of those awful-for-you crash diets, they can actually cause your health graph to plummet by causing adverse internal effects, while appearing to help from the outside.
I know how hard this is. I still fight to keep my health on the upswing. Sometimes daily. After my initial success in early 2009, I stayed on the correct path for several months despite having moved away from all of my hired help directly after graduation.
I went to the gym and worked out at all times of the night and day by myself, for myself. I ate simply, but well, even when surrounded by friends and family who did all but that.
It paid off...big time. I dropped another 25 pounds or so, getting so close to the 140lb “ideal” bodyweight for my height, age, and build I had always been coached to reach for, but never truly believed I would attain. I felt great. I looked good. And then life happened.
A couple times.
However, after every bump in the road—a few months here or there where I would slack on correct eating or regular exercise where I would gain a little back—I’d get right back in there and take control again. It took until the beginning of 2011 to finally get to a place where I was completely comfortable with my body’s shape and composition, but it is so worth it. I never feel so strong and confident in my life as when I look in the mirror and see the person I never believed I could be.
I still slip up, get complacent, and sometimes just don’t feel like putting in the effort to stay at that peak level of fitness, but believe me when I say I will never, NEVER go back to the old me. Maintaining the correct lifestyle to ensure good health may not always be fun, but it’s way better than letting your health graph plummet toward the unhealthy abyss.
The key to long-term success really is as simple as your physician says it is. Eat right, exercise, and go get yourself checked out and tuned up when need be. Notice I said it’s simple, NOT easy.
We all know that cravings are going to hit, holidays come around at yearly intervals, and sometimes you just need a cheat day. That’s fine. Just make sure that you get back to your lean meats, fruits, veggies, and 3+ days of training per week as soon as you can and you should be fine. There’s nothing more rewarding than knowing that you put in the work to make yourself the best you can be and being able to reap the benefits of your hard work. Once you get your body in shape, it seems like everything else just gets easier.
For all of you out there still wondering where the elusive “State of Healthy” lies, I encourage you to dig your heels in preparation and take the first steps in your journey to finding it. It’s a simple concept: acknowledge and accept where you are now, strive for what you want, and stick with it even after reaching your goals and your health stock graph should continue seeing gains far into the future.
Portia Willy is the guest blog writer for this 3 part post. She is writing from experience, challenges, and successes she has had with her weight journey. She is also a member and walking testament of Summit Fit Dojo's Small Group Personal Training program. Portia is a certified personal trainer and coach at Summit Fit Dojo.