January 25, 2022

Not sure what the first step to improve your health should be?



I have been helping business people lose weight for the past 20 years as a kinesiologist. I always start their weight loss process by creating the habit of exercising regularly before addressing anything else. In fact, I usually do not want to discuss nutrition unless my clients have been training for a minimum of 4-6 weeks. There are 4 reasons for that: 

  1. For most people, exercising is relatively easier to do than following a nutritional plan. It demands less sacrifices and is more enjoyable than restricting foods.
  2. You will notice the positive impacts of exercising very shortly after you start, much faster than you would notice the benefits of monitoring your nutrition. Most of you reading this undoubtedly have stressful jobs because you run your business and are managing many employees. When you exercise regularly (i.e. a few days per week), it will take a very short amount of time before you start to experience many of the resulting positive outcomes. You are going to notice after just a few days or a few weeks an improvement in your stress management. You will feel calmer, because you have more “feel good” hormones (i.e. serotonin and dopamine) circulating through your body, thus making you feel generally more at peace. Moreover, you will notice very soon that you have begun to sleep better, and that stress does not “get to you” as much. Noticing all those mental benefits, well before you can see physical changes in your body, is going to help you stay the course and stay motivated. The positive benefits experienced will soon make you wonder how you have been living without training.
  3. I am going to repeat myself often throughout the length of these chronicles because the following is extremely important; for the majority, exercising is the glue that will hold all of your good habits together. For example, when you train in the morning (which is something I strongly advise executives do, but I will get back to that later), you will be less tempted to eat junk food for the rest of the day because it will make less and less sense to eat poorly after devoting your time and energy to training. Moreover, it will make more and more sense to eat healthy because you want a good return on your investment. For example, let’s say this morning you have invested 30 minutes of your day jogging to lose weight. It will not make any sense to eat pizza and fries for lunch. There will be a discrepancy in your mind between healthy lifestyle choices such as your exercise habits (i.e. jogging) and unhealthy choices in your diet (i.e. junk food). There will be a clash between your new positive habit of running and your old negative habit of eating greasy food for lunch. Although, the clash is a good thing, an expected result that we want to happen. Consequently, you will think to yourself: “I ran this morning, why am I putting this kind of food in my body? Why am I ruining all my efforts?” Thus, your contradictory lifestyle choices will begin to no longer make logical sense and will allow exercise to become your main driver for making future healthy choices. All of these daily efforts will accumulate towards bettering your health.
  4. The last reason is that there are so many options when it comes to exercising. You will read later on when I discuss nutrition that there are not 50 different options in that department like there is in exercising, in the sense that at some point in time, you will have to make a few sacrifices. Although, do not worry just yet. The methods I suggest are quite painless and are very progressive by nature. But for most people, the exercise part will become very enjoyable in a short period of time. Exercising is something fun that makes us feel good inside (at least after a few weeks when your body stops hurting from being sedentary for a while). You just have to figure out the right type of exercise for you and fit it in your schedule so that you can do it regularly. It is almost impossible that you do not like at the very least one type of training.

I have said that there were many types of exercising that we will cover. We will fit these into three main categories. Each of these three categories will produce different effects. Regardless, for many of you the goal of each of these three types of training is first and foremost to create a caloric deficit. This will occur by means of expending (or burning) more calories each and every day to help you lose weight. The forms of training will be tools to work your lungs, your heart, and your muscles. That is what exercising is going to do for you. It will help you lose weight and become healthier. I tell clients time and time again that health is not the absence of disease. Health is the optimal functioning of all of the body’s functions. Thus, exercising is one of the best ways to be healthy, by allowing the body to perform optimally. To summarize, I am going to cover in the next blogs:

  1. The best way to integrate regular exercise into your busy life.
  2. Ways to create a training habit (habits, good or bad, are difficult to break).
  3. How to make the best of each training method.
  4. How to use your present environment (physical and social) to make it easier for you to integrate physical activity in your everyday life.

ACTIONABLE TIP: For the next 6-8 weeks, plan in your agenda your training sessions in advance to create the habit of exercising regularly. Aim to exercise twice per week, spacing out your training sessions 2-3 days apart. Start with ridiculously small training sessions, 12-15 minutes is enough at the beginning. It does not matter if you feel that you have not done much, the idea here is to create the habit. There will be plenty of time in the future to make these training sessions more intense. Choose a type of exercise that you love. You like playing tennis, go play tennis!

Your job at this point is to plan these sessions and to do them, no matter what. After 6-8 weeks the habit creation process will be well under way, and you can start adding more components to your weight loss process or to your health journey. As I have said before, the exercising habit will become the glue that will hold all the other positive habits together. It becomes much easier that way, take my word for it.

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