One person looks at a yard full of clearable brush and sees work. Another looks at the same yard and sees a way to get exercise. One person sees nothing “light” on the menu and gets frustrated. Another does the best that she can and asks the chef to grill her chicken instead of frying it.
Finding unexpected healthy opportunities is a skill that can be learned. If you hope to make the diet-to-lifestyle transition in Stage 3, it needs to be learned.
To make a true lifestyle change, forget traditional thinking about health, fitness and nutrition in favor of the theory of small opportunities. Permanent weight loss is not an event. Once it happens, you can’t just go back to the way things were and expect weight loss to stick around. (How many of us have heard this from a dieter: “I can’t wait to lose this 10 pounds, I haven’t had a cheeseburger in weeks!”)
A lifestyle changes a little bit at a time. Opportunities to find those little bits will be anywhere and everywhere – on vacation, at work, at home, on the phone, waiting for the kids’ soccer practice to end, even sitting in traffic. The challenge is to recognize these opportunities for what they are. It’s a lifestyle, but it’s also an attitude, a way of looking at the world.
The healthy habit that you can develop is to find ways to adopt this mindset in your own life. This is the habit that will help all the other habits stick, the one that will help create a fresh, new lifestyle. When you get good at finding opportunities to stay active and making healthy food choices, you’ll know you’re reaching that point. Once you start looking, you’ll find that there are very few places or situations in which you can not exercise (at least a little bit) or eat right.
Here are some insights into that mindset. The opportunistically healthy person:
Sees opportunities and challenges, not hurdles.
Always thinks “how can I make this everyday activity more active?”
Looks for the fun and adventure in a situation. Whoever heard of a motionless adventure?
Craves variety. It’s more fun and your body gets more out of it.
Takes fitness out of the gym and into the home, the yard, the office, the garage, the lake, the park, even maybe into the in-laws’ house.
Plans ahead. Going on vacation? How and where are the active opportunities?
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