Jan-08-2013

Conquering Your Physical Cliff

Rock Climbing

It’s a New Year and many people are considering making positive changes, yet get stuck reflecting on ones they have made in the past that failed.

You are not alone. Our government faced struggles in decision-making with arguments being lodged for change in multiple directions. Does that ambivalence and argument sound familiar?

Are you at a physical cliff, an impasse, a “things have to change” point?

Many of us struggle with what is best for us and how to make changes that will be helpful in the long-term, but could “hurt” or seem hard in the short-term.  It could be time for you to do something that while uncomfortable initially, could lead to a personal triumph and mastery over your own mind and body.

Change can be hard. It often involves an internal debate about the “good” and the “bad” related to changing a behavior.  If all the positives win out, change will occur. My first blog of 2013 is a challenge to all to face this personal health and physical cliff with a sense of energy and enthusiasm about our future, to strongly consider the impact we can have on our mind and bodies right now.

For simplicity (or creativity’s) sake, I’ll call this the 2-0-1-3 Call to Action–a  tip sheet based on the research of many who know what it takes to get our nation in a healthier place emotionally and physically this year.

2 – Hours of Screen Time

Less than two hours of screen time each day. Screens include TV, computers, phones, video games. Children who watch more than two hours of TV daily are more likely to be overweight. Let’s get up and get moving. Let’s create something. Help a neighbor. Spend time with someone we love.

0 – Guilt About Setbacks

Number of times we will berate ourselves for slip-ups….. ZERO. Setbacks are opportunities to reflect on ways that we have been successful in the past or can make another positive choice today. Considering changing the environment to make change easier. According to psychologists Dr. David Neal and Dr. Wendy Wood, simple changes in the environment can help you make a lasting healthy change that can lead to more changes. Put the candy in the back of the freezer, and cut up fruit in the morning before you leave for work and place it in the front of the refrigerator. That way, when you come home hungry you are more likely to grab the healthier snack. Put on your exercise clothes BEFORE you leave work so you are more motivated to get on that treadmill when you get home.

1 – Priority for Your Health

Your health on the priority list. Research is clear that a healthy body creates a healthier mind and vice versa. Pick one aspect of your behavior to change at a time. Small steps lead to big effects!  Decide you are going to park farther from the door at the grocery story to decrease sedentary time and increase active time. Do one plank a day. Make a specific plan,  and you are more likely to stick with it.

3 – Meals to Eat Daily

The number of meals you should plan each day. Fail to plan? Plan to fail. Make a plan to succeed today by planning for healthy eating. Dr. Leonard Epstein and his colleagues developed the Traffic Light Diet, which simplifies food choices for families in their weight loss programs.  This way of eating teaches families how to select foods from the green category (GO),  moderate portions of the foods from the yellow category (SLOW) and be more sparing with foods in the red category (WHOA).

One model does not fit all. The government has not pleased everyone in its agreement that avoids a fiscal cliff even if efforts are made to find a happier medium. However, WE can TAKE ACTION today by making a choice to do something each day that we know can be helpful.

Photo by nekosoft (via Flickr)

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5 Responses to “Conquering Your Physical Cliff”

  1. James G Smith   July 3, 2013 at 5:57 am

    You have written a generally good post but the 2 Hours of Screen Time is near impossible and impractical, when I finish work, I go to the gym, then I come home and relax, I need this relax time to just relax, so I watch a few hours of TV then I spend a few hours writing about health and fitness, if I opted for only 2 hours screen time I would have to do things more in a rush, in a more of a cut and shut manner rather than taking my time and doing them properly.

    I also think it’s ridiculous to think that spending more than 2 hours will make you overweight. Lack of exercise makes you overweight and it’s still possible to exercise even if you spend more than 2 hours.

    This being said the rest of your post I wholeheartedly agree with, in that you should not feel guilty about setbacks, prioritise your health and eat daily.

    How is your one plank a day challenge doing?

  2. PJ   June 30, 2013 at 11:06 pm

    I wish I could limit myself to only 2 hours a day of screen time. Unfortunately I don’t think I can do any better than the 4-0-1-3 challenge ;)

    Great article though, my health is absolutely my #1 priority, looks like it is time to trim those extra 2 hours/day off of my screen time

  3. Dr. Sherry Pagoto   January 8, 2013 at 8:03 pm

    Great article! Thanks for linking to our #PlankADay challenge! Started by two people (one a licensed clinical psychologist—yours truly), we now have ~7,000 people planking at least once a day and reporting it on Twitter. All are welcome to join in on the fun. Just get a free Twitter account, tweet your plank with the #plankaday hashtag and the fun begins :)

    Dr. Sherry Pagoto

    • drbourdeau   January 13, 2013 at 12:40 am

      Appreciate your post! Working on one plank a day! Small steps lead to big effects.