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Leaning Into Life: The Blueprint for a Forever Fit and Healthy You

retired man over 40 living lean and healthy for life

If you’re like most people, you may have gotten to this side of midlife carrying a little extra “middle” around your middle. And while you’re young enough to know that losing a few pounds here and there is possible; your older, much wiser self understands that this task is a way more difficult feat to perform as each year passes.

If that’s how you feel, you’re definitely not alone.

Here’s the thing, there is a huge difference between an older person who takes care of themselves and one who completely let’s go. Giving up and letting yourself go, is not an option, here. I mean, sure - it is an option… but only if you’ve decided to give up on the rest of your life, too (and you shouldn’t).

And - what I mean by “the rest of your life” is not your basic live, breathe, eat, poop, sleep - life.

I’m talking about THE life - the rest of YOUR ‘I’m gonna love so hard, live so loud, ring that bucket list dry before I kick it’ sort of life. The kind of life that makes you feel… proud.

So how do we do that?

It’s not impossible. In fact, I’m sure you know a few folks your age who appear to be in permanent beach-ready shape, but how can you do the same and lose the weight for good?

The answer to this quandary is not found in a single habit or action, but rather in consistently sustaining the following 5 Lean for Life Habits…

Leaning Into Life Habit #1: Reimagine Yourself Up until now you’ve probably accepted the shape that you are in, and even if you hate it, you’re comfortable with it (read that again to make sure it sinks in). You are comfortable with the body that you have right now, and until you decide it’s no longer comfortable then you’ll be stuck in the shape that you currently have until the day that you drop.

Now spend time reimagining yourself leaner; healthier… does your reimagined self look anything like what you do now? Probably not.

In fact, that reimagined ‘new image’ might even make you feel a little (or a lot) uncomfortable. It should, and here’s why: Most people don’t like this feeling; the cognitive dissonance felt between their greatest potential and where they are now.

So, as a result, the majority of us choose to respond to this feeling by ignoring it completely. In ignoring this feeling we are then free to overlook our health issues; overlook the growing waistline, the slower pace, heavy breathing, poorer health. After all, it’s much easier just to chalk this stuff up to “getting older,” right?

And in doing this, we avoid the guilt associated with the truth that these symptoms are not necessarily age related, but a result of poor eating habits and years of sedentary living.

However, the sooner you claim responsibility and can see, feel and imagine yourself in a lean, healthier body, the more urgency and desire you will be able to create toward doing the things you already know you to do in order to achieve (and maintain) it.

Leaning Into Life Habit #2: Break Up With Sugar Look, I know you love Sugar. Trust me: everyone has ‘loved’ sugar at one time or another (many still do), but this is a love affair that really must stop… You see, I’ve had my trysts with sugar, and have learned that sugar doesn’t love a single one of us...

And, if you really want to know??? Sugar has made its rounds and treats everyone like crap, too…

Sure, you two have probably had some good times. From tickling your sweet tooth, to pleasing your taste buds (I’ve succumbed to these pleasures, too), but trust me when I say that loving sugar is a bad rap, a double-edged sword that will only leave you feeling heavy, heartbroken and out of shape in the end!

As silly as that sounded, your relationship with sugar is holding you back from living lean and healthy for life. It’s not only refined sugar that is messing with your body composition; in order to be lean for life you’ll also need to manage your intake of natural sugars.

The good news is that (like a bad breakup) every day spent without sugar will make the next day much easier, and your cravings will become that much weaker. Stay strong and soon you’ll be more than happy with the occasional sweet treat rather than the all-day sugar drip that can contribute to painful joint inflammation, heart disease, and diabetes - in addition to those extra pounds of body weight.

Leaning Into Life Habit #3: Forget Dieting Going on a “diet” implies a start and end date (which is fine if you have a specific event you are planning for), but if you really want to change your body composition for good then you must live like there is no “day off” to your healthy lifestyle. It’s a marathon of adapting to healthier (and healthier!) habits to maintain for the rest of your life – no matter your age. The day you stop trying to make progress is the day your body reverts to it’s old (unhealthy) self.

Don’t worry, the more you practice healthy living, the easier it becomes. Soon your healthier habits will feel like a normal day – just as your current habits feel like a normal day now. The key is consistency and drive. Stay vigilant, and vigorously resist the urge to give up.

Leaning Into Life Habit #4: Plan Your Cheats What’s the use of getting older if living a healthy happy life means swearing off pizza and ice cream for the rest of your days?!?! (That’s crap!)

Truth is, when the “majority” of your meals are centered around healthy and nutritious foods, you provide yourself credit to enjoy a few of your favorite foods, too. The key is that you will be planning your ‘cheat’ meals in advance and containing the excitement to just a few splurges each week.

The fun thing about enjoying a cheat meal while living a lean lifestyle is that there is absolutely no guilt associated with the pleasure. It’s something you have earned. Most of us experience twinges of guilt associated with our currently overly indulgent meals, because we already know the truth: that the majority of the meals we eat aren’t taking us anywhere near the health & weight-loss goals we would like to achieve. (Prime example of that cognitive dissonance I wrote about earlier)

However, when the majority of our meals have been healthy, nutritionally appropriate, and are actively leading us in the direction we WANT to go, we are well aware of our “good efforts” and you can enjoy those occasional cheat meals 100%!

Leaning Into Life Habit #5: Be Part of a (Fitness) Family Having a special circle of friends is important, especially as we continue to age. However, when that circle includes other like-minded, supportive and encouraging individuals devoted to their health and fitness, you discover a synergy that makes maintaining you’re your positive lifestyle momentum much easier.

The accountability provided from your fitness peers will save you from missing workouts and will get you to push yourself to try harder.

One of the most gratifying parts of being in a fitness family is the day when your experience and support makes a positive impact on someone else... To give the encouragement that was given to you is a special moment that sticks with you, and will reaffirm your lifestyle commitment.

If you’re interested in finding a fitness family of your own, but you’re having trouble - I’ve got one for you. I’ve created a fitness family that I’d love for you to join. All you’ve got to do is ask…


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