“Using exercise to solve a lifestyle problem, is like putting a Band-Aid on a wound that needs to be stitched.” ~Jim Laird
Jim Laird owns a successful training facility in Kentucky and I follow him on Facebook because he preaches a lot of the same message I do at Knockout. When I read this quote of his I was like “YES! That’s exactly what I am talking about!” and this blog post was born.
This is the epitome of the problem with the way our society goes about attempting to get people “healthy”. We spend too much time forcing solutions upon people without taking a deeper look at what is going on in their lifestyle and psyche. Like I always say you can look at someone’s finances, house, health, relationships, where they spend their time and money to better understand what their struggles are and what’s really going on. Our issues don’t happen in a vacuum. What we do in one area of our life usually is occurring in multiple areas, there is always a theme or pattern by which we function. So when we try to get healthy by simply exercising we are neglecting all the other lifestyle and mental pieces necessary to solve this problem.
We need to step back and analyze our lives, our selves and our lifestyle. We can’t just keep adding new behaviors without restructuring our life. We can’t just say I am going to exercise but I am going to continue to treat my body like shit. Exercise can become a crutch and illusion of health if not integrated thoughtfully and purposefully.
It’s our lifestyles that are unhealthy and causing our bodies to be as well. When we eat on the go, don’t sleep enough, don’t set boundaries with our time, put everyone else before ourselves, and so on exercise won’t help and won’t stick because what we really need is to rehab our lifestyle and mentality.
Exercise is a beneficial tool to develop and maintain your physical and mental health when your lifestyle is also being worked on. Exercise won’t fix your problems; fixing the problem will make exercise work for you.
So here are 5 things that can help you build a healthier lifestyle:
1. Make fueling your body a priority. No more skipping meals, eating on the run everyday, and feeding yourself food you wouldn’t feed your dog lol. It’s not about dieting, it’s about respecting your body and giving it the fuel it needs to do the amazing things it does for you daily. If you can’t adequately fuel your body, exercise won’t benefit you in the way it could. Create a lifestyle that allows you the time to more regularly fuel your body and enjoy your eating experiences.
2. Set boundaries. When you constantly can’t stick to your training routine because you are at work until all hours of the night and can’t say no. Beating yourself up for not working out won’t get your anywhere, but learning to set boundaries with your boss and speaking up for yourself will create inner strength and give you some time back to use for physical activity and rest. This applies to family, kids, friends, and any other obligations you have.
3. Declutter your world & mind. Whether you have physical clutter all around you or your mind is cluttered with thoughts, to-dos, etc. you need to clear that space to create a healthier lifestyle and better energy/time management. When your running around with your head cut off, unorganized and feeling burnt out you won’t have the mental or physical energy to exercise. So clear up your life and make some space.
4. Look within. Nothing outside of you can solve your problems. No amount of money, food, things, etc. can make things better. You have to look within. You have to begin to understand the motivation behind your behaviors in order to create lasting change. Stop looking towards the next latest and greatest diet or weight loss fad that promises to fix all your problems and instead start self-reflecting and doing the hard work.
5. Hang up the gloves. I’m talking about the ones you use to beat yourself up. You have to let go of the rigid rules and self-hate in order to live a healthier lifestyle. Beating yourself up isn’t healthy and beating yourself up with exercises doesn’t solve anything either. You must start showing yourself some kindness and respect. The more you can talk to yourself with curiosity instead of judgment the more your lifestyle will improve for the better.
I know this stuff isn’t easy. Going on a diet, losing some weight, and feeling better temporarily might feel easier now, but in the long run we know where you are left when the weight comes back and your lifestyle returns to it’s unhealthy state…defeated. Exercise is a tool for mental and physical health when you are in a place where you use it for good not evil. It’s not a punishment or problem solver. If your lifestyle needs some adjusting start there before jumping on the exercise bandwagon. You don’t want to say yet again…”I was healthier when____”, because having a healthy lifestyle doesn’t come with a temporary time frame; it’s built to last.