Achieving short term health and fitness goals, like finishing your first 5k or getting down to your goal weight, can provide significant sense of accomplishment . . . and I’m not here to knock that high. However, the feel-good can be just as fleeting as the achievement, especially if you’re not committed to long term health and fitness goals. Those changes that brought you across the proverbial finish line today need to be part of your day-in, day-out life . . . forever.
I’m sure you’ve seen a barrage of statistics about failure when it comes to achieving long term health and fitness goals. How quickly weight is gained back, how soon after joining people stop going to the gym, how many New Year’s Resolutions are broken before February — some say as many as 80%! Read on to find out how to your turn your main focus from immediate changes driven by guilt or obligation into a lifetime of health and fitness fueled by lasting behavioral changes and an acceptance of the peaks and valleys in the journey. Eating well (and enough protein) is part of the process and I also talk about a protein snack that fuels my hustle. Don’t miss it!
Consistency: It may be cliché to make the analogy that Rome wasn’t built in a day. But big, important projects take time and consistency to the task. Wouldn’t you say that your health and wellness is a big, important project? There may be short term goals that you can mark off as “done, and did that” but the long-term goals are what to set your sights on. Keep looking, and moving forward with mindful consistency, because the end date on these goals ends when you do. The majority, overwhelmingly, of fit older people I talk to, tell me that they do something active every day and don’t necessarily “diet” if the traditional sense but eat intuitively to fuel their hustle. That includes enough protein, spaced optimally through the day.
Flexibility: Of course, literally, it’s great to be flexible – that’s one of the first physical abilities that seems to dwindle away if you don’t take the time, at least 10 minutes a day, to stretch, do yoga and work on general mobility. However, I’m also talking about flexibility in a higher-level, more subjective sense – are you flexible with your attitude toward health and fitness when life unexpectedly changes around you. If you had a run planned but it’s raining torrentially, do you call it off all together (perhaps seeing it as an excuse to sleep in) or do you take on an alternative indoor workout? If you were planning to eat “clean” at home but were invited to go out, do you refuse for fear of breaking your intentions or do you go out and pig out? Instead you could be flexible and either ask your invitee over for the planned “clean” dinner at your house, go out and look for healthy options on the menu, or even eat a reasonable “splurge” while out and recalibrate your nutrition for the following day. All are fine, all are flexible.
Passion and Challenge: Sooner or later (and hopefully sooner), you will find a physical activity that drives your passion, whether it is running, swimming, hiking, CrossFit, yoga or whatever. However, there could be discomfort in the process initially and intermittently all along the way. There is no magic pill. But, when you do what you love, it’s usually an easy no-brainer to stick with it. You wake up and look forward to the activity, to the endorphin surge. Even the hard parts and the hurt help to sharpen and refine you in your health and fitness journey. However, there are peaks and valleys with any passion and the person committed to long-term, enduring success doesn’t’ get out of the relationship during tough times.
Forgiveness: While there is no breaking up in a life-long health and fitness journey, the love can wax and wane. There may be temporary setbacks and separations, even injuries and illness. Despite a fitness rest or nutrition “cheat” day, week or even longer, you never completely lose sight of the end goal of being healthy for life. There is no shame, beating yourself up and throwing in the towel when our willpower or intentions wavered. You could gain weight, get slower, become stiffer and weaker. Heck, these things happen in some degree as part of the aging process. That’s life. You just say, “that’s okay” and move forward.
Fueling Your Hustle: All of these topics I touched on, consistency flexibility, forgiveness and even passion, can be applied to what you eat. In my opinion, the best way to achieve success in your daily diet over the long haul is to follow all of these key points. For the most part, eat clean consistently – allowing for flexibility in your options and forgiveness when you don’t make the best choices. If you don’t feel like you have “hustle” right now, you will after cleaning up your diet for good. Have a passion for eating well, learn how to cook, learn what fuels your body best, keep the house stocked with healthy snacks and quick meal options that set you up for success.
I’m not going to preach a certain diet right here and now, we are all different and our bodies have different nutritional needs for our long term health and fitness goals. However, I do know that protein is an essential building block in a healthy balanced diet – you need enough and it should be spaced throughout the day (about 25 to 30 grams at EVERY meal and about half that after an intense workout).
Oikos® Protein Crunch Yogurt is one of my favorite quick protein snacks. This protein-rich, non-fat Greek yogurt from Dannon has been paired with toppings to sprinkle on top – for more crunch and more fiber! Four delicious flavors!
Eating a Greek yogurt like Oikos® Protein Crunch Yogurt is one of my go-to choices after a workout, before bed or for a grab-and-go breakfast. It has more the nutrients (17 grams protein and 6 grams fiber per 5-ounce cup) with no artificial sweeteners to nourish my body and keep me going. There is 17 grams of protein, 6 grams fiber
You can find new Oikos® Protein Crunch Yogurt at Walmart in the dairy section with all the other yogurts. The crunchy toppings are separated in the lid, just open and sprinkle on when ready to enjoy a protein snack! Right now, there is a great ibotta offer on these yogurts to help you fuel your hustle and achieve long term health and fitness goals.
What is your favorite protein snack? While I’ve harped on long term health and fitness goals, short term ones can help get us there — what is one of your short term goals? Please share in the comments — XOXO, Jennifer