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Motivated to Diet and Exercise for Healthy Living

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Being consistent in diet and exercise is tough for everyone. It doesn’t matter whether you’re an elite athlete, celebrity, or mere mortal like the rest of us, sustaining a regular exercise program and reasonable diet is one of life’s big challenges.

Bob Greene, famed trainer of Oprah, fitness and cookbook author, has some motivated suggestions for living a better life and achieving fitness goals. The reality is you still have to do the work. There is no shortcut, but it is possible to frame your activities to remove some of the psychological and emotional obstacles.

The first thing you should do is increase your activity. The simple math is the more active you are, the more calories you burn. The bonus is the good feeling that comes with having completed even the most modest amount of exercise. The benefits to the metabolism and to your mood are substantial. Focus on the outcome. Think about how good it will feel when you reach your goal and these steps you’re taking to move in that direction. Almost everyone feels better and sleeps better after exercising. The beneficial impact on your entire mood and ability to be more thoughtful and productive are realized quickly after taking some of these initial steps.

Shift the diet focus away from the scale and counting calories. Greene astutely points out that the emphasis should be on the activity first and foremost. It is the more important element of the weight loss/fitness equation. Regular exercise can help with appetite, and eating well with some moderation will be easier. A person has to eat. Too often we jump off the cliff with dieting by depriving and starving ourselves. This simply is not sustainable. Increasing your exercise and easing into dietary changes is much easier. The more you feel deprived the quicker you will fall off the wagon. Try to increase your activity in small ways throughout the day. Even several five-minute bursts of walking will achieve as much benefit as a 30-minute walk. A helpful hint is to find something to take your mind off the exercise itself. Listening to great music, watch TV, catching a radio program, or listening to an audio-book can make the exercise very enjoyable, relaxing and even inspirational.

Stay away from the scale. Don’t even think about it for the first six weeks. It is not an accurate reflection of what is going on in your body. You’ll know how you feel, how the clothes fit, and how much energy you have. Let those be your guide and motivation.

Remember what a gift you are providing for yourself. Focus on the outcome.
Even Bob Greene smiles when he says, “Everybody loves exercise when it’s done.”

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About Bruce Kaler M.D.