Most people trying to get healthy likes to complicate things.
My way to go? Keep it simple! Getting fit, losing weight and improving your health does not need to be hard. We make choices every day and if we’re not getting the body or fitness levels that we want, it probably means that we’re making the wrong choices.
Go easy on yourself. Here are some of the things you think you need to have to get healthy, but you really don’t.
And I’ll explain why. Because I love you so and I really want to make your life easier. Plus, I can go on and on when it comes to this.
Aqilah, I don’t have enough money to _____________ (eat well, sign up for a gym, buy equipments or sign up for a coaching program).
Maybe it’s a little tight now with the new baby or the new mortgage. But as much as you don’t have money to get healthy, you don’t need money to get healthy. Simple but effective bodyweight workouts does not require money. And neither going for a walk or a jog outside.
There are some of you who argue that eating healthy requires more money, especially in some parts of the world — Singapore included. Yes, I have to agree that premium healthy foods including supplements like protein shakes and multivitamins can put a hole in your pocket but let’s do a little math here.
If you’re spending your days feeding your body calorie-dense food like cakes, burgers and fries and you’re drinking sodas or always getting chips and chocolate bars from vending machines, that is money that has the power to put a hole in your pocket too.
Sometimes losing weight does not require you to even buy unnecessary supplements — I’ll get to that later. Sometimes all you have to do is to remove the processed, unnecessary foods you’re ALREADY consuming just to see the weight and inches fall off — and more money into the bank instead of the vending machine.
I worked with a client who was trying to lose weight for the first time. After the initial consultation, we found out that 60% of her diet composed of junks, sodas and useless snacks that the body definitely do not need. In the first few months of training, all I did was to slowly remove these foods from her diet one at a time and, without changing other factors in her diet, she lost 15kgs in the first six months.
Why did she lose all that weight without even changing the rest of her diet? Because she’s eating well enough without the junk foods. At the end of the day, she thanked me for the weight loss and the money she saved from not buying these type of foods.
But, Aqilah, I am not eating any processed foods, yet I still don’t have the budget to eat properly.
If you’re not eating processed foods and yet you can’t still afford to eat properly, here’s what you need instead:
- Buy fresh, in-season produce. They are generally cheaper than those fruits and veggies that are not in season. In Australia, it calls for a good bunch of Kensington mangoes right now. What’s up Northern Hemisphere?
- Buy in bulk and prepare in advanced. I use Sunday and Wednesday night as my cooking day. Chop up the chicken, season with black pepper or other herbs of your choice, cook and store in the freezer or fridge. Massive time saver too.
- Buy items that are on sale. Do your homework — perhaps you can take a look at the ads or brochures that is usually available outside your local grocery stores. Perhaps buying meat from the butcher is cheaper, and fresher compared to buying it from the big supermarket joint. Doing a little research goes a long way in the long term.
- Cook your meals. Cooking your meals is way cheaper and so much more delicious (after a few tries, for me at least). Don’t trust me? Try it out yourself. A lunch serving of grilled chicken salad plus a bottle of water in Sydney can cost up to $15, and averages around $12.Chicken breast, on the other hand is $10 a kilo, even cheaper in some countries I’ve lived in. If you’re having about 200grams of chicken a meal, that will cost about $2. A four-pack serving of mixed salad costs about $6 — that’s $1.50 per serving. Chopping some other veggies like tomatoes and carrots will cost you next to nothing. Water is free if you’re bothered to take some effort and boil it, or if you don’t mind having tap water like I do. How much does that cost in total, my Pretty Awesomes? Probably about $5?
I can go on and on about this, and perhaps I’ll leave it to a new blog post but with proper planning and research, money is just an excuse in trying to get healthy.
I realised how we don’t need a gym to get healthy when I lost 20 kilos four years ago after quitting my gym membership. The gym didn’t feel right for me as I felt intimidated not knowing what to do, so I worked out at home. Fast forward eight months later, I achieved something I thought impossible — a fitter and healthier me.
Although I still hit the gym today for some heavy-ass moves like deadlifts and the squats, I still love to get in touch with mother nature and do the bulk of my workouts outdoors. Think running or walking the beach, climbing the stairs or doing one of my free bodyweight workouts.
Mother nature will love you and so will your body and your excuse of not having the gym so you can’t get healthy can toss it’s way into the bin.
What you need? A huge heart to want to work out, a park or an open space and a spirit full of energy to do any sort of calorie-burning activity.
Just like you don’t NEED the gym, you don’t need equipments too. That Ab Circle Pro you bought while you’re having pizza and beer at 2a.m. few nights ago is not required. And so is a jump rope. Even dumbbells. While some items are good to have like the latter two, some of these funny looking equipments is a waste of money that you can use to buy more nutritious whole food.
The saddest thing is that, every day there are newer, fancier equipments that are marketed by ‘fitness professionals’ that lures you to buy using your hard-earned money. This includes a UFC Fat-Burning DVD and a $2000 treadmill that you can pay interest-free if you pay by certain credit cards.
You don’t need them. Do not over complicate things.
When I was losing weight, I only bought a dumbbell after my fourth month — which means I relied completely on bodyweight workouts like push-ups and squats and no-equipments needed variations of cardio.
The most important thing? I tried and I stuck with something I love doing, which at that time, body-weight circuit training right in my backyard. I try to spread this simplicity and awareness to my clients and I want you to know that too. You don’t need fancy equipments to start getting healthy. Leverage on what you’re given (your body!) and see the results naturally.
What you need instead? Save the money and stop buying unnecessary equipments. If it’s your first time getting healthy, use your body weight and start doing some beginner workouts. Once you’ve gathered the strength and foundational knowledge, you can consider investing in useful equipments such as the dumbbells. Let’s not get started on toning shoes. Yes, you heard me.
4. ‘Healthy’ food and meal plans
Stop being conned into getting things like meal plans, Herbalife, meal replacement shakes and ‘have these foods and only these foods and you will lose weight’ plans.
It makes me angry. Roar!
Point one. If you can’t have the food for the rest of your life then that food is not even worth going into your system.
Point two. Instead of being stuck with a new diet which promises this, that and that for a certain period of time, learn to eat well from reputable sources. Sometimes learning to eat well just involve getting rid of processed foods, albeit slowly and eating more whole food that makes you feel good. You don’t need a nutrition degree for that. All you need is a little bit of common sense and this pretty cool thing called feelings.
What you need instead? Knowledge. I’ll repeat it again, if you can’t have the food (shakes and anything else included) for the rest of your life, then that food is not even worth going into your system.
Just like the ‘healthy food’ point above, it seems like nutrition and fitness marketers these days are getting smarter in making you buy things that you really don’t need to get healthy. And it seems like every day, there is some new magic pill that promises you awesome results and you’re missing out if you don’t have them.
Other than a multivitamin and fish oil supplements, I do not advise my clients to take anything else. Even for these two babies here, I make sure they’re really missing out on certain nutrients before I tell them to supplement. In the case of a protein supplement, I will advise them to have it if they’re finding it difficult to have enough protein every day.
What you need instead? Whole foods. Supplements is not a be all end all solution. It’s merely a help point. Don’t take supplements to replace whole foods. And most importantly, don’t take supplements just because your neighbour sister best friend tells you to. Focus more on eating more natural protein, nuts, vegetables and fruits before resorting to taking supplements.
Aqilah, I don’t have time to exercise.
Aqilah, I don’t have time to hit the gym.
Aqilah, I don’t have time to prepare my meals.
Well. I don’t have time to listen to you telling me you don’t have time. Ouch.
Seriously though, in my experience, 99% of the people who say they don’t have time is usually lazy, inefficient and have poor time management with the time they actually DO have. People who say they don’t have time usually don’t make that thing they’re doing a priority. Instead of saying ‘I don’t have time’, try saying ‘It’s not a priority’. I absolutely love this article on busyness on The Wall Street Journal.
The problem is, I can’t fix laziness but I can help with inefficiency and poor time management, I hope!
What you need instead? Let’s fix up your nutrition first, since you eat every day anyway and 80% of your success in getting healthy lies in the food choices you make. Have you tried cooking in bulk? What about NOT spending five minutes walking to the vending machine for the 4pm Twix bar?
If you need help in analysing your current situations and identifying loopholes, apply for my free consultation call. A few forms filled in and a 30-min Skype chat later, we can work out a time efficient way to tackle your diet.
Once we’ve got that sorted, let’s fix up your time to exercise. If you haven’t already, try checking out the workouts I compiled for busy people. Research has also shown that high-intensity short workouts that lasts not more than 30-minutes is most effective in fat loss. If you don’t have thirty minutes or don’t like working out for thirty minutes, what about splitting it into two?
There must be a way to get rid of this. You just need to find one.
You didn’t think there was only six things, didn’t you? Well. Here’s the last ‘thing’ you don’t need and perhaps the most important one that lies inside all of us in some point in our lifetime. It also encompasses all the six things above. What is it you may ask? I call it EXCUSES.
You don’t need excuses to get healthy.
You don’t need excuses to lose weight.
You don’t need excuses to start taking your blood pressure to healthy levels so you can stop taking medications.
I decided to throw this ‘thing’ in here because it does not matter if you don’t have all the six things above, but if you have this very strong and powerful thing inside of you (i.e. excuses), all your efforts and determination to try and get healthy can backfire on you. Don’t do that to yourself.
What you need instead? The first step in trying to get healthy is to get rid of your internal excuses and think about why you want to do them. Think about what is it you want to achieve — make it specific. Think about for whom you want to do this for — make it you. And then stop thinking all together, and start doing.
You’ve got the right mindset and attitude, now just go do it.
What do YOU need instead?
Now let’s open the comment section for discussion.
What do you think we all need to get healthy, change our lives and make a positive improvement?
Is it the right attitude? A positive mindset? An epic plan? Or a great support team?
Let me know by leaving a comment below and help each other out.
Here’s to the rest of the week. Stay awesome everyone. :)
P.s. My heartfelt prayers go to the family, friends and everyone else affected by the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, bound for Beijing for Kuala Lumpur. For what it’s worth, I hope there will be a closure for them all soon. X.
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