The image we see when we look in the mirror significantly influences how we live our lives. The next time you’re standing in the checkout line at the supermarket, look at the models on the magazine covers – both male and female. Look Around. How many people in line with you look like they should be on one of those covers? Unfortunately, most of us compare ourselves to those images.
Are those standards desirable? Are the choices we make to achieve them realistic? The fact is, in most cases, there is very little you can do to attain the image of the “perfect shape” your mind has envisioned. You are made up of the genetic stuff of your parents and grandparents. You are a completely unique individual — different from anyone else on the planet. When you look in the mirror, recognize that the way you look is only one part of a complex and extraordinary creation.
You can do several things that will help you feel better and be more positive about yourself. Your first step toward achieving a “new you” is to truly understand that what matters most is not how you look, but how you feel – and not about your image, but about your health. For some, it is healthier to avoid tape measures, body composition evaluations, and most of all, weight scales. If you feel good and are healthy, those numbers do not mean as much.
Ask yourself these questions:
Is my energy level high?
Do I exercise regularly?
How is my endurance?
Am I achieving my goals?
And most importantly, How do I feel?
If your answers are positive, then you’re headed in the right direction.
Here are several things you can do to keep you going:
Write in a logbook or journal everyday.
Set attainable goals and don’t be afraid to change them, if needed.
Reward yourself for positive reinforcement.
Eat healthy, low fat foods.
As you achieve your goals, your body will realize you are doing positive things for it. You will naturally feel an increase in your self esteem and you will develop a more positive self perception, one that is both healthy and realistic!
“Breaking Your Comfort Zone!”
It is always good to review your current training program and note your successes and areas that you feel need improvement. Many times we have a tendency to stay in our own comfort zones by walking the same route or distance and sticking to the same workout schedule. Staying in that zone is easier than breaking the routine and challenging ourselves to achieve new goals.
If you are walking the same way all the time, your body gets used to your training, and you will not get as much benefit as you would if you varied your program. Also, by repeating the same motion over and over, you run the risk of injuries from overuse. Now is a great time to break out of your comfort zone!
Add variety to your training program to strengthen and challenge your body and your mind. Cross training will work your body in different ways so you can achieve better balance. You can cross train in several ways. Find another sport that you enjoy like biking, swimming or cross-country skiing. The muscles used for walking will have a chance to recover while you strengthen opposing muscles.
Another idea is to take a different kind of walk such as hiking or walking up hills. Try taking shorter walks, but at a faster pace than you usually walk. Try interval training where you walk at a very fast pace, slow down, and then speed up again.