December 5, 2010

The Long and Short of It: Look Forward to Your Health

After watching the "where are they now" special of the popular reality television show The Biggest Loser and seeing copious advertisements for wedding-related fitness shows, I began to wonder:

What really drives these people?

For example, several of the former Biggest Loser contestants struggled to maintain their weight, with some actually returning to obesity.  The brides on the wedding shows (like the nearly obscene Bridalplasty) too often cite their big day as the sole - and temporary - motivation to get in shape, quickly retreating to bad habits after the nuptials.

As bene-fit fitness professionals, we see this all too often.  Clients come to us wanting a fast fix toward a short-term goal.  I want to get fit for my wedding.  I want to lose weight for a vacation.  I want to run my first marathon.  All of these are absolutely fine goals - but what I always want to ask is, what about after the honeymoon?  Beyond the bikini?  Past the finish line?  What do you plan to do then?

Health is a lifelong commitment.  As one tongue-in-cheek author once said, "being healthy is merely the slowest way someone can die."  Thought of another way, being healthy is also the smartest - and longest - way to live.

When fitness becomes a lifestyle, there is no finish line with legions of cheering fans, nor photographers waiting in the wings to capture your best angles.  There is typically no fanfare, no fancy clothes, no high-fives.  The truth is. the most remarkable thing about lifelong health is that it is found in the very mundane and ordinary - your daily run in your college sweatshirt, your weight-circuit routine at your local gym, or your big green salad at lunchtime.  The little things are what make a life healthy, not the grand gestures or two-week crash diets.

At bene-fit, we believe in making the little things count and taking the big things in stride.  Got twenty pounds to lose?  Start by taking the stairs; work your way up to that marathon if that's your goal.  Want to set a healthy example for your kids?  Start by joining up with a "mommy and me" fitness class alongside your little ones; work your way up to hitting a high-intensity Spin class on  your own time.  Need to rethink your unhealthy diet?  Start by adding more vegetables to each meal; work your way up to eliminating those white carbs and added sugars.  Every little bit counts, and every step in the right direction is meaningful.

So set those lofty goals, and reach them - but don't forget to think about what lies beyond a single day, week, or moment.  bene-fit is here to help you form positive habits and maintain them in the best way possible for your life, your needs, and your body.  And finally, as humorist Josh Billing once warned, "there are lots of people in this world who spend so much time watching their health that they haven't the time to enjoy it."  Make sure to take the time to find the bene-fits of staying healthy this holiday season!

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