If you are anything like I was, the thought of hiking Camelback Mountain, jogging five miles every morning, eating vegan, or even waking up more than two hours before work makes you a little nauseous and seem like an idealistic concept that would never be in the same sentence as your name.
The last time I was "in shape” was elementary school… yes, seriously.
So when I decided I wanted to make some changes and live a healthier lifestyle, the road to reach the image of success I had in my mind was a bit overwhelming. I knew where I wanted to be, but my first day at the gym was a reality of all the hard work it was going to take to get there. I realized I had to set new goals at my own pace and make "bite-size” changes to break my old habits.
Goal one: Get up at 5am.
No joke. This was my first goal and it took me three weeks. BUT I did it! I slowly trained myself to go to bed a little earlier each night until getting up at 5am was… well, let’s be realistic… BEARABLE (who actually ENJOYS this??)
Goal two: Drive to the gym and do SOME FORM of physical activity.
Let’s be honest, the fact that I was awake and somewhere other than sitting on my bed, staring blankly at my wall before 9am was already a miracle. However, I set in my mind that I would go to the gym and do something-ANYTHING-at least five days a week. I started by walking on the treadmill… well, I tried running the first day and about flew off the treadmill, wiping out a whole aisle of Dolvett Quince and Jillian Michael look-alikes, so I quickly resolved that I should start by walking at a brisk pace.
Goal three: STEP IT UP
After a couple of weeks of going to the gym, I noticed I felt better and was slowly increasing my cardio my endurance. This motivated me to get better results so I hired a personal trainer and began incorporating weight resistance and strength training in to my cardio routine. My trainer also gave me a new diet… this, I was not a fan of, but decided it was time to step-it-up, so I set that as my new goal; increase each area of my recently-implemented changes.
Four months later, here I am at work writing about my journey for ASBA’s Health & Wellness Month. While I am nowhere near ready to take on Lance Armstrong or Serena Williams, I have already noticed significant changes in my strength, endurance and physical appearance. Plus, the way I feel is amazing! I am more motivated to be active, so my house is cleaner, I work faster, I have more confidence when I speak, and so much more! I obviously left out a ton of my bite-size changes and goals, such as the long (and still changing) process of "health-i-fying” my diet, the purpose of sharing this with you is to, hopefully, relate to someone who would like to be healthy or implement a wellness program at their company, but feels like a "healthy lifestyle” is just a bit too far out-of-reach.
The idea of having healthy worksites is not as foreign of a concept as we may think. The first step to helping our employees get healthy starts with us.
Make changes in bite sizes. One thing. One day. That’s all you have to focus on. Once that becomes normal (or bearable, at least), then add something else. It can be as simple as doing leg lifts WHILE you respond to emails or replacing a morning bagel with fresh fruit. Whatever it is, it is better than nothing, and it’s a step in the right direction.
What are some bite-size changes you have incorporated in your life or workplace to promote health?