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Mission Possible

Everyone knows what he or she "should" do to obtain good health. But the mere knowledge of what we should be doing is never enough. If we've not been in good shape for some time, if we can't remember the last time we did any meaningful exercise on a consistent basis, and if we've added more pounds over the years than we care to admit, then the task of getting back in shape seems an impossible mission. But like the Mission Impossible team in the fabled television series and the hugely successful film adaptations, we too can turn the task of regaining high levels of fitness into "mission possible".

The primary requirement for your personal restoration project is establishing a new mindset. No one wants to do what other people think they "should" do. Having your spouse tell you that you should lose weight or having your doctor tell you that you need to do more exercise is never pleasant. These admonitions never really work and only serve to create stressful encounters and interactions. Even though the people close to you have good intentions and want the best for you, they usually don't realize the willingness to change is never sourced from outside a person. The only way you're going to take on the time and effort of implementing new lifestyle activities is if you yourself choose to do so. Making the active choice to exercise and making the active choice to eat healthy foods will create the powerful difference by which you begin to actually accomplish the action steps necessary to change the quality and characteristics of your health and well-being.1,2

Thus, your own personal choice is what's required to get you started. Importantly, making such a choice is not a one-time event. Circumstances always intervene and your choice to exercise and eat nutritious foods will need to be reinforced frequently. There may come a time when you choose to sleep late and skip your exercise session for that day. Or you may choose to eat a whole pint of ice cream in the middle of the week. It will be helpful to recall that such deviations from your main plan are always your choice, and returning quickly to your regular exercise routine and regular food program will also be your choice.

None of this needs to be dull, boring, or onerous. Remember that if you think you "have" to do your exercise and "have" to eat fresh fruits and vegetables, then you probably won't do these things for very long. But if you remind yourself that you have actively made a personal choice to engage in healthy activities, then you will recreate your opportunity for powerfully participating in the ongoing restoration of your own vibrant health and well-being.3

1Sardinha LB, et al: Criterion-referenced fitness standards for predicting physical independence into later life. Exp Gerontol 61:142-146, 2015
2Hafstad AD, et al: How exercise may amend metabolic disturbances in diabetic cardiomyopathy. Antioxid Redox Signal 2015 Mar 4. [Epub ahead of print]
3Crous-Bou M, et al: Mediterranean diet and telomere length in Nurses' Health Study: population based cohort study. Brit Med J 2014 Dec 2;349:g6674. doi: 10.1136/bmj.g6674

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