1) Read & respect the gauges on the boat. It’s time to step on the scale, measure the impact, face the facts, confront reality, whatever you want to call it. You can no longer afford to ignore the negative health consequences of shutdowns and lockdowns, and the associated likely reduction of your routine physical activities and social interactions. Assess the damage and establish a baseline so you can measure progress from where you are, not where you think you may be. If you know for sure you’re the type that looking at scale could cause a downward emotional spiral into more harm, it’s fine to skip this step. But … the vast majority of folks will benefit from becoming acutely aware of where they are vs. where they want to be (even if it’s disappointing or disturbing at first glance), and consequently start to implement changes to correct it.
2) Throw Jonah overboard … like now. In the Biblical story, Jonah knew he was the reason for the storm and requested that the others on the ship throw him out for their own good. All your remaining holiday cookies, desserts, candy, etc. are trying to tell you the same. Sure, they are more than fine to enjoy on Christmas but that was a week ago. It’s time to donate the wrapped items to the local food pantry. Perhaps surprise your neighbors with some of those sweet home-made gifts you received (careful not to give them to the same neighbor that gave them to you!), or just toss everything still left in the trash can and move on – the point is to remove them from your home to help yourself. (Don’t forget to throw out or give away any funky non-goal-serving snacks that may have snuck in while dealing with the strangeness of 2020 either). The longer they linger, the longer you’re going to suffer from the blood sugar swings, bloating, lethargy, & “sea sickness,” if you will.
3) Set your sails for the right direction. Go to the grocery store … on a full stomach, and with a list … and purchase healthy items that will build the body you want. Include ingredients for healthy meal prep, with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, clean and lean meats, and fibrous natural starches. Don’t forget to grab some quick and easy healthy snacks too. Life isn’t going to get less busy, so don’t lie to yourself about always have time to prepare. A quick trip to the pantry for a snack that is at least fairly healthy, even if not perfect, is almost always better than a quick trip to a fast-food drive through.
4) Create a “Captain’s Cabin” for yourself. If your fitness has been dependent on a gym, then your fitness has likely not gone well. With all the closings, restrictions, hours changes, pre-registration and other craziness at these facilities, you need to intentionally create your own space at home. It doesn’t have to be much; indeed, 6×6 feet will work just fine. But it needs to be yours – clear of kids’ toys and dog hair, with maybe a mat laid out, ideally filled with some natural light and a source of music. Teach the others in the “boat” that when you are in your “captain’s cabin,” you are NOT to be bothered – for all of 45 minutes a few times a week.
5) Find your lighthouse & look to it for help. The storm of 2020 has been rough, and very dark at times. You need a source of brightness with which to sail. It will provide hope, clarity, and guidance. A lighthouse could be a mentor in front of you, sailing the same direction with both the same challenges and goals; or better yet, a coach who is extremely familiar with the wind and the waves of this sea of change – like a personal trainer or registered dietitian – perhaps even both! The point is to secure a definite direction and destination, with everything you need to get there, so you don’t remain lost at sea – especially if you’ve already started sinking. Remember, you CAN do this. You can correct your course and sail to success!
Of course, this is “preaching to the choir” for so many of our clients who have continued to work hard, avoid distractions, adapt to change, and make progress in spite of one of the weirdest years in recent history. But if you find you have drifted, I hope this quick list sparks a fresh focus.