Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Making Changes

If you haven't checked out my previous post about the Six Components of Wellness, head on over there and get yourself caught up.

So you've found an area that you'd like to do better in, and you're asking yourself, "Where should I begin?"  Making the decision to change an aspect of your life can be daunting, time consuming, and down-right difficult.  But when it comes to bettering your fitness and wellness, there can be no greater undertaking.  Taking the steps towards a more balanced lifestyle will lead you to having more energy and seeing the world in a more positive light.  Soon you will be jumping out of bed in the morning ready to take on the world!

Here are some tips and tricks that will be sure to make change stick:

Set Realistic Short-Term and Long-Term Goals
This is an essential part of making change.  What is the overall expected outcome of the changes your want to make (you probably already know this), and what are the smaller steps you are going to take to achieve this larger goal.
      For example)  Long-Term Goal:  I would like to lose 5% body fat.
                           Short-Term Goal:  I will weight-lift three times each week.
                           Short-Term Goal:  I will cut out unneeded munchie-snacks when I am not truly hungry.

Create a Contract
Include your goals, plans for changing your behavior, and have it signed by you and a close friend or relative.  Make sure that person supports your change and will keep you accountable!

This involves analyzing your actions to help determine what unhealthy behaviors and patterns may be modified to help you lead a more healthy life.  If you are looking to lose weight or exercise more, there are many helpful online calorie counters or fitness trackers.  I personally like and the Daily Mile.  The use of a journal can also help you identify harmful triggers that reinforce unhealthy behaviors.

Making Substitutions
Replace an unhealthy behavior with a healthier choice.  Instead of keeping salty, fatty chips in your cupboards for snack time, swap them out for pre-cut veggies or in-season fruits.

Treating Yourself
Develop a system to reward yourself when you meet your goals.  This may be a trip to the mall for a new pair of running shoes, or perhaps a relaxing afternoon at a salon or spa.  Try to avoid using food as a reward!

Making a List and Checking It Twice
Make a list of the positive and negative aspects of the behavior you want to change.  Most likely the positives will outweigh the negatives.  Keep this list for times when motivation is lacking.  A quick peek will remind you of the wonderful things your are doing for yourself.

Preventing Relapse
If you have been self-monitoring, this part should be easy.  Identify triggers that spur on unhealthy behavior.  Develop a plan to counteract or avoid these "high-risk" situations.  For example, you are headed to a friend's house for a party.  There will be sugary cocktails and tons of appetizers.  Have a plan set before you even step inside.  Make sure you eat dinner before you go so you aren't starving by the time you arrive and gobble up all the high-calorie foods. Make your first drink water, and have a set limit for yourself (1 or 2 drinks) to keep inhibition and calories consumed in check.

Go and Do!  You can achieve whatever you put your mind to and your body will most definitely thank you!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

What is Wellness?

Yesterday was the first day of a summer course I am taking at RIT.  The class is called Sports Physiology and Life Fitness.  I waited until now to take this specific lecture so I could listen to the beloved Professor Brewer.  He's the best!  So smart!

We discussed the Six Components of Wellness, and I thought I would share them with you so you can do a little self-check to make sure you are living a balanced, healthy life.

Physical Health
Includes physical fitness, proper nutrition, performing self-exams, and practicing personal safety (e.g., wearing your seat belt).  This is the cornerstone to maintaining a high level of wellness.

Emotional Health
Also called Mental Health, and includes social skills, positive interpersonal (intimate) relationships, self-esteem, and the ability to manage stress

Intellectual Health
Keeping your mind active through life-long learning, stimulating your brain with input and allowing yourself to have a form of output

Spiritual Health
Having a sense of meaning and purpose in life.  Note:  This does not necessarily mean you must be religious.  People can find meaning in their lives through community service, meditating, spending time in nature, relationships with others, etc.

Social Health
Developing and maintaining meaningful interpersonal relationships (friends), communication skills are crucial in maintaining strong social networks

Environmental Health
The influence of the environment on your healthy, and your behaviors that have an affect on the environment, i.e., Do you recycle? Do you keep healthy foods in your home?  Do you have athletic equipment that would allow you to workout out when you so choose?  Or, is your home or workplace filled with junk food?  Do you drive a gas guzzling vehicle?  Is the X-Box the focal point in your home?

The goal is to have a balance in all areas to achieve a high level of well-being.

Are there areas that you could work on to achieve a healthier lifestyle?