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Everyday Fitness

with Pamela Peeke, MD, MPH, FACP

This blog has been retired. We appreciate the wisdom and encouragement that Dr. Peeke has offered the WebMD Community.


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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

There Is No Finish Line

Congratulations on working hard to practice your new lifestyle habits. I’ve shared tips, tools, and techniques that you can apply in your daily life as you strive to nourish yourself with healthy eating, get more physically active, and manage stress. You’ve learned how to:

1) Use Your Power Mind: Life provides endless opportunities for you to choose to live healthfully. Pursuing the healthy lifestyle journey always begins with an attitude of belief in oneself to achieve and then to succeed. You need a laser focus on the goal of health and wellness. The Power Mind anchors you and helps you to adapt and to adjust to life’s ever changing environment without self destruction. You become the choices you make.

2) Eat Real Food: You’ve learned that to achieve optimal nutrition, you need to avoid putting refined and processed foods – what I call “science fair projects” – in your mouth. Stick to fresh produce, lean protein, and whole grains.

3) Get Up and Move: All journeys begin with the first step. To achieve the healthiest, most vibrant lifestyle, you’ll be taking lots of steps in your daily life. Staying vertical and moving as much as you can with your activities of daily living is essential for physical as well as mental fitness. The added bonus is you’ll burn off your excess fat and truly become fit enough to live your dreams.

4) Minimize Your Menopot and Muffin Top: Zipping up your favorite jeans shouldn’t be traumatic. There’s no need for rolls of fat to spill over the waistband. Instead, by learning how to taste and not to overeat, and by adding Vitamin I – intensity – to workouts, you can pare down your belly fat, belt it up, and tuck in that favorite shirt.

5) Adapt and Adjust: As the lifestyle journey gets underway, you can expect plenty of challenges, speed bumps, and brick walls. Instead of becoming paralyzed with each stressor, or reverting to self destruction, you now know how to take that deep cleansing breath and begin to adapt and adjust to your new reality. This tool is vital to building a strong, sustainable foundation for living your healthiest life.

6) Shoot for Progress, Not Perfection: You’ve learned that striving for perfection is a guarantee for failure. Instead, practice my 80/20 rule: aim to practice your healthy eating and exercise habits 80% of the time, and leave 20% for just being human. Perhaps it’s a day when you’re too tired to work out, or you’re traveling for hours, or you’re working a double shift with no time to hit the gym or get to the grocer. Chill out and regroup when it works for you. Just keep plugging away.

7) Find the Motivation that Sticks: The Bull’s-Eye Motivation is a personal drive that is deeply meaningful to you. You’ve done the exercise to identify this motivation for yourself. Then, after you have achieved milestones, you’ve seen that you must re-evaluate that original motivation time and time again. Why? Because you’re growing and changing, and so also must your motivation, which is a dynamic, living force in your life.

You’re now locked and loaded with the basic knowledge you’ll need to start your healthy lifestyle journey and keep it going for life. As you wake up every day and get ready to navigate life’s obstacle course of stresses, joys, and challenges, please keep in mind – there is no finish line. So often I’ll hear one of my patients say “I’m there! I’ve reached my goal. I know things will be easier now.” The good news is that a goal has been achieved. The reality is that another goal takes its place. This process goes on for the rest of your life. There is no final “there.” Instead, you’ll find countless “there’s” throughout life. You’ve shed the weight, now you must sustain that achievement, and in doing so, you’ll have plenty of persons, places and things to challenge you. An infinite number of “there’s” awaits you.

You are learning how to master how to live healthfully and joyfully. Mastery requires a lifetime of daily practice. Yo Yo Ma, the world’s greatest cellist, didn’t one day say “I’m there. I’ve played Carnegie Hall, so I don’t have to work so hard anymore.” Rather, he gets up every day and continues to practice again and again – such is the nature of mastery. You’ll slip and make mistakes. That’s part of life and the process of mastery. These slip-ups are gifts. Each one contains a valuable lesson. Look for the lesson, heed it, and continue to push forward in your quest to live well.

From this moment on, wake up each morning and say, “I take myself on!” Then, armed with patience and love, jump into your life and make it your mission to become leaner, stronger, and fearless. If not now, when?

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Posted by: Pamela Peeke, MD at 6:00 am

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