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Hartselle Enquirer

Mastering moderation

Moderation is key, no matter what subject we are talking about.

Specifically, for the world of exercising, eating right and fitness, being moderate will make a short-term goal, a long-term lifestyle.

As you begin your healthy lifestyle and practicing moderation in a diet change, it will allow your taste buds to adapt- I say this from experience.

The New Year often brings out the best of intentions: New haircuts, a new body image, new jobs, new clothing, new hobbies, smarter choices. “A new you” becomes the coined phrase that everyone clings to. I guarantee there will be also be a dozen new exercises and diet fads, classes and workouts to try that promise success. (This is geared toward the weight loss goal setters.)

Realistically, you only need one characteristic to build your foundation on: Moderation.

Resolution-er’s create their goals, and often set themselves up for failure by making it unrealistic to reach.

I recently shared about “wreaking habit” and staying consistent in what you do. One of my points was moderation and how often people overlook how important living a life in moderation can be.

Here are a few ways to help:

Discover why this goal is important to you. Write it down. I want you to post it somewhere so you have to look at your own motivational quote each day. I once had a personal training client who told me that she did not want to be on medication for the rest of her life for high blood pressure, so she wanted to lose weight and do it with diet and exercise. Her notecard simply said, “Medicine free life.” Find why this is important to you and find ways to make this goal easier to reach.

What I am going to do for myself that will make me reach my goal? I personally use the Dave Ramsey Envelope System for budgeting and it’s been very beneficial in both saving money and being more frugal. I would encourage you to create for yourself a reward system as you reach your goal. If your goal is weight loss, as an example: Find a jar or manila envelope, and for every cardio session, workout, or clean meal you make (or whatever you choose to do,) put $1 into the jar. As you’re making progress toward losing the 20 pounds, gaining muscle, or simply being healthier, you’ll be rewarded with a new piece of clothing or pair of shoes. That way, you’ll be holding yourself accountable with the jar, saving money, and rewarding yourself for hitting or goal or making progress to it.

Who can I call on to be my accountability partner through this journey? The who in your life for these types of circumstances can often be a person that you’re closest to, someone that is involved in the journey with you, or someone that you can count on that will only support you and help you succeed. If you’re trying to save money for a house and you’re recently engaged or married, your spouse is the expected accountability partner. Make it a point to budget where you can save the same amount of money every week and stick to it throughout the period that you have committed to saving for it. If you’re looking to lose a

specific amount of weight, grab a friend who is trying to lose weight to. Check in on each other daily. Go to the grocery store together so you can hold each other accountable in food purchases. Find another person who wants you to succeed as bad as they would want themselves to succeed.

One of the most conflicting areas of setting a goal: When shall it be finished? The time stamp of a goal is often where people fail. You have to be feasible in the timeliness of your goal setting. If you’re wanting to lose 50 pounds and set your goal to be done in two months, and you haven’t set aside time to figure out the who, what, and where will be yet, the when is not going to cooperate. Make your goal both reachable and realistic. Don’t set yourself up for failure. If you know you cannot save $100 a week for a down payment on a house in five months, don’t commit to it. Instead, commit to a smaller amount of money for a longer amount of time. Always set yourself up to succeed. 

Last, and what I think will make everything make sense, the how. To go back to my original statement in that moderation is key, it’s not always the smartest to go “cold turkey” and jump headfirst into something new without any thought to how this change is going to affect every day lifestyle. I’m not condemning choices to suddenly stop bad habits and suddenly stop, that’s very well your choice. However, for those who have been on new diets for the last few weeks, or just purchased a gym membership, I’m just urging you to look at the big picture. This is going to make you BETTER. A life alteration in the direction of positive health changes is only going to help you sleep better, increase your energy, make you more confidence and diminish negative health effects. What I’m asking you is to be moderate in your choices. Pick a goal you and stick to. Manage your time to be consistent in trying to reach it. Last, still enjoy ‘happy’ food in moderation. Being healthy is not about eliminating everything you were, it is about using what you have learned to become better. Ease your way in with a couple of days a week of exercise and slowly limit your excessive sugar, and sodium intake. An example would be eliminating or minimizing soft drinks and fried food. If you still want a wedding cake Gigi’s cupcake on the weekend from time to time, have it! Don’t think you have to be consumed by a new, fit lifestyle, you can still enjoy a little happiness. Just be smart about it!

Lauren Estes is a staff writer for the Hartselle Enquirer.

Do you have a topic you’d like me to discuss? Would you like to submit an opinion of your own? Email me your suggestions or requests at lauren.estes@hartsellenequirer.com.

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