Sweat Pink: Strategy for staying on track & achieving healthy living goals
At an annual physical exam several years ago, I was surprised to learn that I needed to make a few changes. Because, except for not exercising, I thought I was making healthy lifestyle choices. But according to the weight/height standard table, I was at the higher end of the chart, but not overweight. As a vegetarian, I thought that I was eating properly. And I only drank moderately, only one drink per day.
So, imagine my surprise when I learned that I had high cholesterol (close to 300-yikes!) and that some of my numbers were approaching pre-diabetic levels.
To say that I was shocked would be putting in mildly.
How could it be possible that I was heading down the path of living with Type II diabetes and heart disease like many in my family? I quickly decided that I was not going down that path — I was going to become and stay healthy through diet and exercise not medication.
First goal: Diet.
I was totally baffled as to how a vegetarian’s cholesterol level could be so high. Since I am far from an expert on diet and nutrition, I knew that I needed help. I quickly scheduled an appointment with my doctor where I learned that I was not eating a healthy/balanced diet. One major flaw that I had made was cutting out too much fat from my meals. By adding more good, healthy fats back into my meals and with some additional minor tweaks, I was able to turn around the mistakes that I was making.
Next goal: Exercise.
I knew that diet alone would not turn my bad numbers around. So I also made the decision that exercise was going to be part of my life. Accomplishing that goal and making exercise a priority was not easy. At the time, I was working full time and had two kids that were very active in sports and school activities. Like many working moms, I just did not have enough hours in the day to fit everything in. I decided that my only option was to exercise with workout videos at home before heading to work. It wasn’t easy, but I stuck with it. I’ve (fortunately) moved beyond exercise videos to running and attending classes at a local gym. When going to the gym is not an option for me, I now make up my own routines.
No more Jane Fonda workout videos! (Not that Jane Fonda isn’t totally awesome!)
The Result: Goals Met and Exceeded.
With a few changes, I was able to turn all of my bad numbers around. Healthy healthy habits and exercising will always be top priorities for me. I’m committed to exercising at least five days a week. If life gets in the way, I have the option of choosing which five days I exercise. And except for illness or family emergencies, no excuses are allowed.
Staying healthy is also a group effort and goal. My husband and a great group of running friends make exercising fun. Getting up when it’s still dark outside to go for a run on Saturday mornings is so much easier knowing that I’ll soon be talking and laughing with my friends!
This group keeps me motivated to stay on task and make sure that I never have numbers in the unhealthy range again.
What healthy living goals have you set and met recently?
What challenges did you face in reaching those goals?