“Good habits are wisdom, not legalism.”
~Anonymous Christian Brother
There are many great ways to become fitter and no one size fits all magic exercise or approach. The key is finding what is beneficial and sustainable to your body and family, then stepping into that.
One thing that I have found to be effective for most individuals, as well as scientifically supported, is to incorporate new healthy habits bit by bit as opposed to a mass overhaul. I’ve met and coached countless people who have successfully achieved and maintained fitness goals through this same method. It is, in fact, the principle behind these Challenges of the Month.
I advise people to take this approach with exercise, dietary, and even spiritual habits. I’ve received several testimonies of “Aha!” moments in that teaching process. One woman had already adopted this technique to begin eating better with her family and it was working well. They had made many great changes that were wise, but not overly restrictive. However, she found herself plateauing and struggling when it came to exercise. She was taking an all or none approach and found that most days she just didn’t have the motivation to commit, so she skipped it. After I spoke to her group, she was elated. She said it was like a light bulb had went off. She couldn’t believe she had never thought to do that with exercise and was excited to begin challenging herself.
I’ve gotten similar stories with food and choices that positively affect spiritual well-being. Sometimes we just need another person to come in and adjust our perspective, especially in areas that are repeatedly defeating us. A little bit of grace goes a long way. Praise God for Jesus!
Your Two-Month Challenge:
Choose one new activity from one of the categories (physical or nutrition) to incorporate into your routine each week.
As the next week begins, you will continue the previous behavior(s) and begin a fresh one. If you notice yourself struggling to implement the change by the end of your week, then give yourself grace and allow an extra week to become more comfortable with it before tackling another one. You may have to tweak some of them to better accommodate your schedule and family. Go ahead and do that, keeping SMART goal setting strategies in mind to help you.
Of course, we never start anything in the Keola® community without allowing God to direct, empower, and bless it, so let’s pray:
Father thank You that You are for us. Thank You that you love us even in the middle of our junk and You see us as beautiful and blameless in Christ right now and continually as we persevere in faith of Jesus Christ. Thank You for that free-flowing forgiveness and mercy. Help us to receive your forgiveness deep in our hearts in every area – even for this – and to walk in that same mercy to ourselves and others moment by moment by your Spirit. Give us wisdom on what to choose here that will abundantly bless us, our families, and loved ones and help us to walk by your Spirit, not by our flesh. Transform us from glory to glory in spirit, soul, and body. We need You for this and thank You that You didn’t spare Your Son so You will freely give us everything we need to be disciplined and successful here. Be glorified and open our eyes and hearts to what you’ve already done, are doing, and will surely do in, through, and for us. Thank You, Lord! In Jesus’ precious name. Amen.
TWO CATEGORIES: PHYSICAL AND NUTRITION ACTIVITY
- Add 10 Transitional Son Series to your day at least 5 days per week.
- Increase your current physical activity by at least 10 more minutes each day for a minimum of 5 days per week. (If you don’t think you have time for this, try adding it in segments. For example, do leg lifts while brushing your teeth, pushups while watching TV, sit on a stability ball while working, take the stairs, park farther from the entrance, add a Keola® Bite in the morning and evening.)
- Repeat #2 above until you reach a minimum of 30 minutes, if you don’t already meet that goal.
- Intensify your current exercise. (For example, if you are doing pushups on your knees, then try it with one or both legs extended or add a cardio burst with Overcomer Position, aka. Mountain Climbers. If you are already walking 30 minutes each day, add intensity by incorporating walking lunges or 30 second sprints every 2-5 minutes. If you are doing cardio, try HIIT or dumbbells in your routine. Keola® Morning Meltdown HIIT workouts offer several options to intensify or lessen as needed for all levels and moods.)
- Drink at least 12 oz. of water first thing in the morning (even before eating). Add a squeezed lemon for an even better way to prep your system for the day’s meals.
- Eliminate excessive, habitual soda or sweet beverage consumption, both sugar and artificial diet. Choose the calories your drink wisely: smoothies, healthy protein shakes or milk. Start by cutting it to half, if needed. (Includes sweet tea, lemonade, and sugary coffee drinks.) Limit to one 6-8 oz. glass of juice per day, switch to unsweet tea, zero calorie SoBe water made with stevia, or Zevia soda.)
- Add at least 1 extra vegetable to your lunch and dinner daily. (Dice some onion into your spaghetti or a pepper if you already use onion. Slice some cucumbers to place on your sandwich or mix avocado with salsa, garlic powder, and salt to taste for a quick guacamole dip or spread.)
- Eat a healthy breakfast within 1 hour of waking up or within 30 minutes post-exercise, if you work out first thing. See that challenge for good recipe links.
- Make a healthy swap. Swap out 0% plain Greek yogurt for sour cream for a protein boost and fat reduction, halve any mayo recipes with it (see Homemade Healthy Tartar Sauce), halve it with whip cream and serve over fresh berries for a healthy treat with protein. Exchange white bread or pasta with whole wheat versions. Switch peanut or nut butter with sugar/HFCS with a natural version containing just nuts and salt. Bake better cookies.
- Use smaller plates. Invest in a set of 9 inch plates and use them for meals to cut your calories down by potentially 20%.
- Keep a food journal. Electronic or old-fashioned hand written, log in every bite and any notable emotions (joy, irritation, boredom). Assess any habits or correlations to address for change or continue in the benefits of.
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16 ESV)
He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? (Romans 8:32 AKJV)
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. (Galatians 5:16 NASB)