We are calling all Husky Executives to prove that you don’t need a washboard stomach, extreme muscle definition, and hours of cardio to be considered fit and healthy! We Husky Executives can prove that living a healthy and balanced life without spending hours at the gym is achievable.
Healthy lifestyles are trending everywhere and everyone seems to be striving to become a fitspiration on Instagram like the extreme bodybuilder with muscles on top of their muscles. People live and breathe fitness. What about Husky Executives, who just want to adopt a healthy lifestyle the right way without taking extreme measures or making unsustainable sacrifices?
The herd mentality of pursuing a generic template of perfection is problematic because everyone else’s opinion of what looks good is not necessarily healthy for every person’s body. There are many weight loss programs and pills, protein powders, detoxes, juices, and bulk smoothies to market the feeling of health. Some people inject themselves with steroids, have a 4% body fat, and go to the gym three times a day. However, for many executives, it can be challenging to meet that type of standard while balancing other priorities.
There are several ways to achieve a healthy lifestyle without restricting yourself from certain foods, going on crazy diets, doing hours of cardio, or taking weight loss supplements. You don’t have to be genetically predestined to be your best. It’s about taking action by caring for your body the right way, developing healthier habits, and adopting a can-do mindset to achieve a balanced lifestyle.
Create a Positive Mindset
Before you throw all your junk food out, start exercising, and buying up workout gear, you must prepare your mind for the change you’re about to make. For some, it may be easing into a lifestyle shift; for others, it may be very dramatic, quitting the unhealthy lifestyle choices cold turkey. A great way to start is by training your brain to throw away all toxicity in a pursuit of a healthier lifestyle.
To help with navigating these impactful new changes, meditation will help prepare your mind every day. Meditation is a potent tool to utilize to put your mind in the right frame of thinking. Using an app called Headspace eases you into the meditation practice or Calm which features athletes and other celebrities in a few of their meditation programs and offers timed meditation segments to help establish a routine.
Developing a clear and focused perspective to adopt a healthy lifestyle begins with the mindset. Whatever the mind believes, you are fully capable of achieving it. Cleanse the mind of negative thoughts and the need to look like someone else. Our bodies are not genetically built and structured the same. So, if your goal is to be just like someone else, the path will be daunting, frustrating, and just plain impossible.
Design Goals and Milestones for Yourself
Personal goals are an essential, evolving foundation for transformation, such as improving overall health to have more energy, sleeping through the night, keeping the mind sharp, and feeling good. It’s essential to create goals for ourselves because as humans, we are hardwired to respond to positive incentives like achieving progressive steps made over time.
These goals can be accomplishing something like running a mile or signing up for a triathlon. Or they can be about having the energy to play with your kids, learning to cook healthier meals for yourself rather than ordering in, or living longer with more vitality to prevent future health problems. Don’t lose track of the reason why you started in the beginning.
When creating your personal goals, utilize the acronym SMART. It stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time Based. This Goal Setting technique is a precise, concise, and trackable tool to help you achieve this lifestyle. It allows you to keep yourself accountable within a certain amount of time.
Include Healthy, Whole Foods in Every Meal
Food can be a divisive, sensitive subject. No one should ever feel like they need to restrict or cut themselves off entirely from certain foods. The mentality around food can create a negative impact if the word “diet” is used when transitioning to a healthy lifestyle.
Being mindful of what you put in your body is essential, intaking the right kind of fuel will reflect in your performance throughout the day. Incorporate crucial nutrients like protein, complex carbs, fats, fiber, and water — these essential nutrients optimize critical functions. Our bodies operate as a complex, interwoven system and should be rewarded with proper nutrients to sustain daily workloads.
Here are some examples of foods to include in your daily intake:
- Complex Carbs – Sweet potatoes, quinoa, farro, brown rice, oats, whole grains, and whole-grain pasta
- Protein – Eggs, cottage cheese, turkey, fish, chicken, almonds, edamame, tofu, spinach, greek yogurt, beans
- Healthy Fats – Avocados, olive oil, nuts, and seeds
- Fiber – Apples, bananas, oranges, kale, spinach, strawberries, dates
Food is meant to be enjoyed and savored, not counted. There are so many delicious recipes that include the essential nutrients your body needs. Cravings can also be occasionally satisfied. Indulge in the craving, enjoy it, and don’t follow it up with punishment like more exercise or decrease your calorie intake the next day.
Switch from the idea from “I can’t have that” to “I don’t want that,” activating the conscious choice to take care of your body from the inside out. And there are infinite ways to energize your body without taking any shortcuts to have a burst of energy in the middle of the day: Establish a meal schedule and plan, have healthy snacks in between meals, and hydrate often. There are many apps we recommend like Daily Harvest, GNC, Noom, and HelloFresh that offer recipes, tips, guidance, and supplements to keep you on track.
Experiment with Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting has been gaining popularity, especially with the ketogenic diet. For many individuals, it is the key to regulating eating pattern cycles and evolving towards better digestive health. The concept of intermittent fasting is simple and very easy to adapt to, the idea is not about what specific foods to include during your daily intake but rather when you should eat. Over a certain period (e.g., 12 to 16 hours), you do not eat (which can be part of the time you’re sleeping, easy!), and for the remaining hours, you’re able to consume however much you desire (moderation with certain foods is essential!). Typically, a person would start eating around 9 or 10 am and stop eating around 6 or 7 pm. It is imperative to listen to the body during this type of technique, it takes patience and consistency to make lifestyle changes a habit, especially if you’re the type of person who likes having a late-night snack!
A top-rated app, called Fastic, can help you gradually introduce your body into the fasting process. You can set goals for yourself, set a time for when to eat and fast, record progress, and get helpful tips to stay on track. James Clear, listed as a New York Times bestseller of Atomic Habits, shares the health benefits and how to properly approach Intermittent fasting with his personal experience, What I’ve Learned From Two Years of Fasting article.
Pursue Active Endeavors
Like food and nutrition, activity and exercise should never be a vehicle for punishing your body because you’re unsatisfied with the way it looks or performs. Don’t punish yourself because you had a few cookies and feel like you need to do extra cardio or hate your midsection or want a bigger chest. It’s about feeling good and appreciating what your body can do — it’s incredible that we can run, jump, walk, squat, lunge, do a pushup, lift, cycle, climb, and hike! Take advantage of the mobility, flexibility, and strength your body has now to become stronger.
Everyone has a preference for how to stay active in their life. Some prefer the gym, hiking, outdoor cycling, swimming, rock climbing, yoga, or walking around the park. Just like food, being active should be an enjoyable part of your day to amp up endorphins, release stress, and shift into a better mood. Seek out ways to be active for at least thirty minutes a day and get your heart rate up. Do not fall for the wellness marketing that says going to the gym or signing up for fitness classes are your only way to get your exercise for the day.
Currently, with COVID-19, certain places are shut down and prevent us from doing what we like. It’s about adjusting and discovering other ways to be active — explore the outdoors more, go to YouTube or Nike Training Club apps for virtual exercise sessions, buy at-home exercise equipment, research local hiking spots at All Trails, rent a bike, and ride outside. Stay safe, keep your distance, and stay healthy.
Choosing to adopt a healthy lifestyle is an individualized pursuit, and you’re in the driver’s seat. The reason should be for yourself and no one else. If it is for someone else, you’re pursuing this lifestyle change for the wrong reasons, and it will become more of a negative impact on your life than a positive one.
It’s imperative not to compare yourself to others and their journey. Everyone will have different experiences, mistakes, goals, and reasons to achieve a healthy lifestyle. It is a challenge, and some days will seem like you want to give up. Remind yourself every day of what your goals are and the reasons you decided to adopt a healthier lifestyle. Maintain the motivation and passion that sparked your interest in the very beginning of your journey and remember that it is a marathon, not a sprint. With patience and consistency to develop healthier habits, a person can see and feel the progress and benefits within their body.
Courtesy of iStock.com/vgajic.