Since my early childhood years, I have been in a constant battle with my wellbeing. Because of my sickness (largely non-existent now), I was never been an active person and as such my best friends were the TV and books. It’s only in my adult years that I gained momentum and struck a balance where I am happy with my well being.
Boring you with this journey is not the intention of this blog post. The intention is to demonstrate the importance of being consistent, especially with well being. I have always been mentally strong and physically weak. It’s my physical wellbeing that is the focus here.
In the last 4 years, I have reduced by weight from 264lbs (120kg) to 176lbs (78kg). This was a slow, consistent effort in getting rid of 88lbs (42kg) from my body, thereby increasing my fitness.
How did I do this? It may shock you that there were no fancy diets or excess gym routines. Gym makes me too self conscious (even though I have The Rock’s body 😝).
Simply put, I eat a little less than enough and exercise a little more than necessary. Every human gets 24 hours in a day, and I had no intention of spending a bulk of that working out. My daily exercise regime was always at least 30 minutes of physical activity. This included a brisk walk, a run, indoor cycling and core exercises using SEVEN app. The most important element of this was that it wasn’t difficult and all I was asking was 30 minutes from my day. If you cannot give yourself 30 minutes for your own wellbeing then no one can help you.
Full disclosure, I love 💓 my food. I live to eat and therefore there was no way I would deprive myself of food that makes me happy. I made an agreement with myself. Yeah, these kinds of agreement are full proof. Again, simple, limiting food high in sugar (like chocolate, desserts) or high in salt (potato chips) to 3 to 4 times a month. This is not an exact science but its a lifestyle choice. You can deny yourself these comfort foods forever or enjoy your journey towards wellbeing while having days where you treat yourself or just go easy on yourself. A healthy lifestyle is a journey, a goal and not a destination. Because once you achieve your ideal weight and fitness levels, you need to maintain it and the only way you will do this if that's your lifestyle. This is why fancy diets fail, because we cannot follow these diets for the rest of yourself. Transition yourself to a healthy lifestyle rather than shocking your body with rapid weight loss.
Gamify and challenge yourself
To ensure I am consistent and driven, I gamified this with the help of the Apple Watch.
The Apple Watch has Three rings: Move, Exercise, Stand. One goal: close them every day. If you close them every day for the entire month, you get an award.
The award of consistency:
I will not lie, it felt good to get an award each month which encourages you to keep the momentum going. You do not need an Apple Watch to have a healthy lifestyle. I can say the same about gym membership, indoor home equipment, etc. What you need is motivation and each one of us are motivated differently.
So what’s the problem?
Well, despite being consistent (as evident by the awards), I have put on 10 lbs since March 2020. Reason: COVID and working from home, back injuries. Deep down, I can accredit this increase to one thing and one thing only, my lack of self control on eating. The dramatic increase of comfort food intake is evident as the scales don’t lie.
It's a mental battle where your mind convinces you that life around you is worrisome and stressful, so you need to comfort yourself to take the edge off. We all have similar conversations with ourselves where the only person you have to convince to have a slice of cheesecake and ice-cream 4 times a week is yourself. I know all this, but still I lost this battle.
Solution: you need to help your future self because it takes one moment of weakness and it fills your body processed sugar. It’s the little steps you take before the point where you need to decide is what makes all the difference. For example, today, there is no cheese cake in my house and I intend to keep it that way.
Your wellbeing is a journey and not a destination, so you will have peak and valleys.
It’s important to stay true to your course. Each time you fall off the wagon, that is not an invitation to keep going. Its OK to indulge, especially during these stressful times and even more important to go easy on yourself.