By now, Rosh Hashanah and Sukkot may seem like a distant memory. Alas, however, as you look down, perhaps some added girth may remind you otherwise; perhaps your frame feels weak and unhealthy? It’s now time to do something about it. Last issue we started thinking about what we’d like to achieve physically. We listed the reasons we’ve been unable to get there thus far, and the motivations for setting our goals.
We’d all like to live longer and live better; after all, the healthier we are, the better we can serve Hashem. So what’s stopping us? Simply put: our attitudes. Our attitudes dictate our priorities, and out of our priorities flow our excuses. Excuses plague our lives; they stop us from doing what we really want to do, what we should be doing, what we must be doing.
Changing one’s attitude, however, is harder than you’d think. There’s a reason 70 percent of people who begin a workout regimen quit soon after starting. Their attitudes are built on flimsy foundations. Instead, then, we’re going to reverse engineer the solution. We’re going to target our excuses and rearrange our priorities. Once we’ve done that, our attitudes will follow.
How do we crush our excuses? We must learn to outsmart ourselves, which, ironically, is increasingly harder the more intelligent you are. Just like the concept of muktza, though, once we learn to plan ahead and put up fences around our demons, self-control and self-mastery follow. If we prevent our excuses from ever showing up, they’ll be unable to stop the party.
Let’s take a look at two of the more common excuses, with some of my suggestions to thwart them:
DON’T HAVE TIME: Try getting up half an hour earlier and workout before the day even begins; it’ll start your whole day on a positive note, and working out on an empty stomach burns more calories from fat. Don’t have half an hour to spare? Do 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the evening. Try going for a brisk walk during your lunch break. If you have half an hour to surf the web, watch TV, talk with friends, or any of the other myriad “very important” activities we all do to relax and “unwind,” consider, for a moment, the reasons you’d like to be healthier in the first place; then revisit just how important that “relaxation” really is.
NO SUPPORT FROM FRIENDS/FAMILY: Insert yourself into a healthy environment by surrounding yourself with a support system; search for a pre-existing group, or make yourself the center of your inspiration. Try an on-line group. Get together with friends and start your own group. I recently heard of a family (including parents, children, grandparents and siblings) who’ve started their own “Biggest Loser” competition, each putting in $100 to the “pot,” with gift cards every week for the person who loses the most weight that week, followed by a grand weigh-in just before Chanuka for the remainder of the money. Sometimes, your inspiration must come from within. Always ask yourself why you want to be healthier; at the end of the day, with all the support in the world, the battle is always your own.
We all have obstacles that often appear overwhelming. You’re not alone. I can almost guarantee others have shared your pain. Together, and with Hashem’s good grace, we can pierce the barriers that hold us back, preventing us from reaching our true potential, and flourish to be the best that we can be. You CAN succeed. You CAN accomplish your goals. Is the choice anyone else’s?
In future articles, we’ll discuss other familiar hurdles we all encounter, and offer ideas to not leap over them, but to find ways to avoid them all together. We’ll talk about what to do if you continually find yourself surrounded by nosh at home or work; finding ways to enjoy exercise when just the thought of getting off the couch makes you cringe; and learning that it’s okay to continue enjoying the foods you love to eat. If you have any other suggested topics or questions you’d like discussed, feel free to e-mail me.
Chemmie Sokolic is an ACSM-certified Personal Trainer, and owner of Frum & Fit LLC. Chemmie can be reached at chemmie.sokolic_frumandfit.com. Visit www.FrumandFit.com or www.Facebook.com/FrumandFit for more information.
By Chemmie Sokolic