Getting Healthy (Mind and Body) Made Easy

Friday, November 16, 2018

Walk 2635038 340Deciding to lead a healthier lifestyle does not need to be a monumental task!  While I agree it will involve change and some effort, please don’t over think it.To help you get started on your journey I will have you answer two very important questions, touch on a few familiar topics and let you know some things to not worry about right now (I want to make this easy and when you are ready to move forward you can progressively add a variety of methods to your overall plan.)

Before we start I want to make one thing very clear……. getting healthy is not a short term, static goal! A healthy lifestyle is extremely dynamic and always changing.  There is not a one size fits all model to follow for everyone.  Deciding to become healthy IS a lifestyle and involves both mind and body.  There is no way around it.  If you are not committed to changing the way you think and act, then you will not change!  Now, if this is you, which is fine, then no need to read any further as you are not ready to commit to a new healthy lifestyle.  I realize this is a harsh statement, however, something made you want to become healthier than your current state so change is necessary.  When you are ready, you will know it.

Now that we got that out of the way consider these two (2) questions…….

WHY do I want to become a healthier person?

Am I willing to change?

The answers to these question are not difficult, but vital to your success.  Given the various social media outlets, peers and other environmental influences, the answer can quickly become distorted.  For example, most people will assume you want to lose weight because you decided to get healthy.  This is a terrible misconception and may cause you to think that getting in shape is about losing weight.  Society and big fitness business has made us think this way.  The reality is that losing weight may only be a part of the solution to your overall goal. 

Becoming healthy involves several factors including; physical, emotional, intellectual, social, spiritual, environmental, and occupational.  These 7 factors, also known as the 7-Dimensions of Health, all contribute to how you feel.  While this blog will not focus on each dimension, it will help us better answer the questions at hand…. WHY do I want to become a healthier person and am I willing to do what it takes to achieve this outcome?

I will use a former client of mine as an example of a successful lifestyle transformation made easy.  Again, it involved change and some growing pains, but the plan was simple because they answered the first question with truthfulness!  This client came to me feeling overall crappy about herself, but more importantly where she was headed with her life.  She was only 38, but feeling as though she was always stressed, had no time for herself, always tired and just plain old run down.  She was referred to me so that I could help her lose weight.  Of course, this was not out of the norm, but she just listed at least 3 things that were bothering her, none of which was being overweight.  I asked her why she wanted to lose weight and she answered, “so I feel better.”  Again, not out of the norm, but having done this for many years I knew I needed to dig further so I asked, “what do you mean by feel better?”  Her reply centered on not feeling her age and always tired and crabby.  Knowing where I wanted to take this conversation, I summed up our conversation and replied back to her, “so, you would like to be a healthier person with more energy and drive?”  She said, “yes!”  I replied, “Why?”  Her answer…..“So I can keep up with my 2 boys.”  Boom, there was the answer to her question.  We had the Why!

From that point we made great progress.  To give you a little background on my client, she was a CPA who sat at a desk all day and was moderately obese.  Her typical day was 9-10 hours and occasionally 10-12 hours.  She drank 4-5 Diet Mountain Dews per day and ate lunch out every day and dinners out 50% of the time.  Breakfast was usually cereal, toast, or some sort of frozen pastry.  Pretty typical of most working Americans. 

Now that we had her Why, I needed to know if she was ready to change.  As I mentioned at the opening this is crucial as change is not easy, but you have to be all in to be successful.  I should add, when you have the right motivation it is much easier to make changes to achieve the desired result.  Remember that!  We were able to devise a plan knowing the ultimate goal was to simply have more time and stamina to keep up with her boys and still have time for herself.  Now that we had the right motivation the other decisions were easy for her.  I helped her first look at her schedule and determine how she could organize her schedule in order to have a little more time at home.  From there we found 2 times per week where she could do personal training with me.  This is where we started.  I did not proceed to prescribe meals, recommend supplements, get her to sign up for a 5k, or any other methods I see on social media all of the time.  This is key - start small and get a handle on the change and then progress.

We started by setting up a realistic schedule that she could maintain!  This was the first step in building her new healthy lifestyle.

From there she began to mold her schedule as she gained more energy and knowledge.  During sessions we discussed nutrition and other ways she could exercise outside of working with me.  After a while, breakfasts were made at home, lunch was taken to work, and exercise became activities with her children.  She felt more energetic and was getting quite strong so she decided to do a Spartan race with a co-worker.  I found out she was very competitive.  This fueled our sessions even further.  After 5 years, she was still training with me 2 times per week, walking in the mornings and doing a spin class 1-2 times per week with her husband and friends.  She also found more time to volunteer at her kids’ school.  All while still working 8-12 hour days.  Of course, there were weeks where she was busy and missed a training session or spin class, but this was now the exception and not the norm. 

This particular client always stuck out to me because she became a healthier person physically (lost 51 pounds and became stronger), emotionally (still had stress, but was happy), intellectually (took back to reading prior to bed), socially (became involved with school activities), spiritually (guided by belief she was making a difference, environmentally (socially responsible) and occupationally (continued to strive at work with a demanding schedule and still fit all this other “stuff” in her life).

There was no need to do some fancy diet (she did try some of these and failed), change jobs (many times the job is what takes the blame for stress), buy a fancy exercise system to do at home or any other fad fitness idea out there.  She simply organized her schedule, started small and added elements as she progressed.

I have more examples similar to this and all of them have had long term success.  Once you’ve found your true motivation and commit to change you WILL be successful.  Of course during the process, we set S.M.A.R.T. goals and worked with other elements, but the progression was progressive and natural. At no point did it become overwhelming and it should not.

I believe our culture and approach at the Ferguson Family YMCA fosters the appropriate environment to succeed.  Our trainers have adopted this approach and understand what it takes to help their clients become successful no matter what their goal.  They listen, ask, and dig a little deeper to help each member find their true motivation to become healthier in both mind and body!

My name is Eric Gorder and I am the Healthy Living Director at the Ferguson Family YMCA located in downtown Green Bay.  I have trained clients successfully for over 12 years and now lead a team of Certified Personal Trainers with the passion to help all of our members reach their goals.  Our newly remodeled state of the art facility offers everyone an opportunity to succeed no matter what their goal.  Our team of Health Professionals are ready to take on your challenge with you and make the process easy - are you ready to find your motivation and commit to a healthy lifestyle?