My wife taught me about lifestyle choices. I thought I knew what it meant, but I didn’t. A couple of years ago she lost nearly 20 pounds in less than a year. It wasn’t unusual for old friends and acquaintances who hadn’t seen her for a while to ask her if she was okay. She was. She wasn’t obese initially, and she wasn’t obsessed with losing weight. She wanted to live a healthier lifestyle.

Lifestyle Choices

Competition or Lifestyle?

I was the opposite. I joined a weight loss competition and weighed myself daily, sometimes more than once. I starved myself before weigh-ins, didn’t drink water or coffee before I stood on the scales, and took my shoes off. For me, it was more about the competition than an improved lifestyle.

My wife asked me what my weight loss intentions were, and I explained that I wanted to lose weight weekly during the contest. Then she asked, “What about after that?” Good question. I hadn’t thought that far ahead. I wanted to keep the weight off, but the truth is I’d participated in this group weight loss effort previously, lost weight, but eventually put it all back on.

A Lifestyle Choice 

My wife looked at me and said, “If you want to live healthier, you won’t accomplish it through an eight-week contest. You’ll have to change your lifestyle.” She was right. I’m still working on lifestyle changes. I’ve cut out several foods that trigger compulsive eating, such as potato chips and cookies. I’ve reduced late-night snacks, and I’m working on eliminating them.

I’m walking, hiking, gardening, and exercising more, and I’ve reduced my intake of carbohydrates by at least 75%. These changes aren’t only for the Thursday before the Friday morning weigh-in. They are lifestyle choices that are becoming lifestyle changes.

Healthy Lifestyle Choices

Replace Trigger Foods 

For me, it was chips and cookies. I‘ve replaced them with seaweed snacks; my favorite is Wasabi-flavored. I also snack on edamame, almonds, and carrots. Another key for me is avoiding temptation; for example, I no longer walk down the cookie or chip aisles in the grocery store. When I worked in an office I avoided the Friday morning box of donuts. I knew I couldn’t just eat one.

Sleep 8 Hours

Sleep at least eight hours a night. I’ve always believed I was a night owl and didn’t need as much sleep as others. The truth is I could function on less sleep but wasn’t at my optimum. It wasn’t a healthy lifestyle choice. For me, the key to eight hours of sleep is turning off my TV at night and not falling asleep with it on.

Smile and Cry 

Be happy. Be a glass-half-full person, and you’ll live a longer, healthier, and happier life, but at the same time, don’t hold it in when you need to let it. A good cry is a healthy lifestyle choice; it gives relief and removes toxins. Psychology Today — The health benefits of tears. 

Stop Stressing 

Stress is a killer, mentally and physically. More and more research shows us that stress can lead to chronic illness, shortened lifespans, and mental duress. Stop Stressing Out Now!

Exercise 

You don’t have to run a marathon, bench 300 pounds, or do CrossFit seven days a week. You do need to get off the couch and exercise. My preferred activity is hiking because it accomplishes two things: exercise and time outdoors.

Lifestyle Change is a Choice 

Your plan for improved health and wellness won’t look like mine. Our needs, as well as our triggers and bad habits, aren’t the same. However, like me, If you want to change your life, you’ll have to change your choices.

How Can I Help You?

I like to help people and organizations, but I have three criteria I consider before taking an assignment – I believe in what the organization stands for, I know I can help, and it looks like fun. If you have any questions, Contact Me. 

Does your business have a management training plan? Many organizations, large and small, use my book, The New Manager’s Workbook, a crash course in effective management, as the basis for their leadership development program. I’m also available to conduct training.

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