The other day there was a great article on Stuff.co.nz, it was written by a guy who had gone from being really unfit and massively overweight to completely turning his life around and becoming healthy. He had lost over 30kg, had included exercise in his life (and learned to love it), and completely changed his diet and through this transformation his self esteem had shifted from always being in a dissatisfied place to one where he was happy about his life. In his article he outlined his advice to those people who may be looking to create the change that he had and if I’m going to be honest there was nothing revolutionary in his advice, it was the very basics of how to live healthy - stuff that 99% of us already know.
Articles like this are always appealing because so many people do desire change and when we see someone who has been successful at this it gives us hope. With the addition of visual proof, the photos they share are impressive, seeing someone going from being 30kg overweight to looking fit and healthy gains them instantly credibility. While I don’t want to sound like I wasn’t impressed by what this guy had achieved after I read that article I did think to myself, why are there never articles about healthy people who have stayed healthy for a long period of time? For example, someone who has been healthy for over 10 years of their lives.
Imagine the heading; ’See Jen look the same as what she did 10 years ago’, it’s hardly click bait.
You click on the article to read it and see a woman who looks pretty much the same as what she did a decade ago, with a little bit of natural ageing. While the leaders to this story, like the heading and the photos aren’t as appealing, I feel the lessons that could be imparted could offer a different perspective, one that gives us insight into how to maintain a healthy life for the long term.
Creating change can be hard, but equally - or even more so - maintaining it seems to be something many can’t achieve. Most of us know someone who has has lost a massive amount of weight only to put it back on often in a short period of time, so what are the lessons these people need to understand and learn so they can sustain their results for the long term?
A good question to contemplate when you are looking at making change in your life is: ‘What’s the best way for me to approach this desired change that will give me the best chance of maintaining it for 10 years?’ This question makes us explore our approach with a much broader outlook and helps us to potentially foresee a much wider set of problems to solve along the way.
Maybe a good place to start is to ask those around you who are the ’10 year achievers’. I feel they can offer a different wisdom, wisdom that comes with long term winning in the healthy life game. They’ve overcome those challenges that my 10 year question above presents, so can be helpful in providing some tools and advice to try.
Inspirational pieces like the one on Stuff are important because they can be that spark that helps people believe change is possible but let’s also think about exploring the insights from those in our world who have sustained a healthy place for the long term.
If you feel you are unhealthy this might be the insight that helps you become the person who, in a decade from now, people ask how you have been able to sustain a healthy life and you can offer your advice to them.
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On this episode I interview the author of The Off Switch, Professor Mark Cropley. Mark has spent his career researching stress, health and fatigue. On this episode he shares some amazing insights into these important topics. It's a great listen.
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