How to Enjoy Exercise and Healthy Eating

The Party Isn't Over When You Get Healthy

Mature male runner standing in woods looking at health monitor bracelet linked to his smart phone to track calories, steps and progress.

Mike Harrington / Getty Images 

Are you annoyed by people who seem to enjoy exercise? What about people who eat healthfully with little effort? Why is it so easy for them and such a struggle for you? One simple reason could be time.

The longer you follow healthy behaviors, the easier they become and the best part is, you actually start to enjoy them. Your first step in getting to that happy place is to change your attitude.

The Party Isn't Over

What does a healthy lifestyle look like? For some people, it looks like a lifestyle without any kind of fun. You have to slog through boring workouts, avoid going out to restaurants and eat twigs and berries. What kind of fun is that? At first, it may look like you have to give up everything to lose weight, but what you gain from those changes is much more meaningful and satisfying. Not only will your body change, but your mind will change as well.

What to Enjoy About Healthy Eating

Here's what will happen if you keep maintaining that healthy diet:

  • Your priorities change. The way your body feels after a healthy meal will become more important to you than the instant pleasure of having something loaded with fat or sugar.
  • You'll enjoy healthy food. You can live without chips and Coke and you'll gladly give those things up once you experience how your body feels after healthier meals.
  • You'll still enjoy your favorite foods. The only difference is frequency and portion size. Now, instead of having it several times a week, you might indulge once or twice a month or just have less of it when you do have it.
  • You'll see food in a different light. Food becomes fuel rather than something that controls your life. If you exercise, you'll learn very quickly how food affects your workouts. Soon, you'll want better workouts which will motivate you to eat better.
  • You'll feel more energized. Healthy food provides energy throughout the day. Eating a heavy, fatty meal can make you tired and lethargic. On the other hand, many people report more energy and being able to focus better after eating a healthier meal.
  • You'll become more adventurous. Eating healthy often opens the door to more options than you usually give yourself. You'll try new vegetables and grains and experiment with herbs and flavors you've never tried.
  • Your friends and family will benefit. Even if you're the only one eating healthy, those habits rub off on others. Being a good role model for your kids or co-workers is one way to teach them how to live healthily.
  • You'll have tools to deal with temptation. Healthy eaters are much better at avoiding the usual pitfalls like party foods or overloaded buffets. They make an effort to eat regular meals so they're not starving, fill up on healthy foods first to eat less of the bad stuff, and choose a few quality treats to enjoy instead of everything in front of them.

In the beginning, your new eating plan may feel like work. But over time, it will become a natural part of your lifestyle. These changes come over time, sometimes weeks, months or years of slowly working on your habits and choices. Allowing yourself this time is crucial for permanently changing how you look at food and healthy eating.

What to Enjoy About Regular Exercise

The positive changes don't just end there. Your feelings and perspective on exercise change as well. If you're new to exercise, it may not cross your mind that working out is something you'll look forward to. During the first few weeks of exercise, your body and mind may rebel against your new workouts and you may wonder if you'll ever get the hang of it.

Like healthy eating, however, exercise actually becomes easier over time. Eventually, you even look forward to it. Here's what can happen when you make exercise a regular part of your life:

  • You'll start to appreciate your body. It doesn't take much time to see improvements in strength and endurance when you start exercising. As you feel that strength grow, you may get excited about your workouts, wondering how much you'll lift next time or how fast you'll walk or run.
  • Everything gets easier. Carrying groceries, taking care of kids, going up and down stairs: all of these things get easier and you may even get more done with your newfound energy.
  • Your confidence grows. The more you work your body, the more your body can do and follow through on your exercise goals lets you know you can trust yourself. That self-trust is a key ingredient to a healthy life.
  • You'll try things you never imagined. I've seen my clients go from being couch potatoes to running races, hiking up mountains and just enjoying life more. The stronger you get, the more confidence you'll have to branch out.
  • You'll be inspired to change other areas of your life. This is exemplified by one of my clients in his 40s. When I met him, he worked up to 16 hours a day. As he started exercising, he looked at other bad habits that affected his energy and stress levels. He cut his hours, hired more people and started to enjoy his family and his life.
  • Your health improves. Exercise can help with diabetes, heart disease, depression, anxiety, and high cholesterol, as well as protect your body from some types of cancer. Your mental health is likely to improve as well. Exercise helps to reduce stress and can help you to sleep better at night.
  • Your sex life gets better. Studies have shown that exercisers have more satisfying sex lives than non-exercisers.
  • Your children will have a better chance of being healthy. As with healthy eating, being a good role model when it comes to being active gives your kids the know-how to be active themselves.
  • You'll have more energy. You 'll be more alert, focused and an annoyance to all those people in the office who are dragging towards the end of the day.

What's in store for you, if you keep trying your best, is a better life. It may not seem that way at the beginning, which is one reason many people quit before they experience these changes. Any new lifestyle change can seem overwhelming at first, but there is a secret to staying on track: Take it one day at a time, one healthy choice at a time. Stay with it and you'll finally see the bright side of exercise.

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