Living a Fit and Healthy Lifestyle: Permanent Change for Lifelong Results

Fitness and weight loss programs generally lean toward the extreme end of the spectrum, providing effective, but temporary, solutions for quickly inducing change to the body.

In the current world we live in delayed gratification is a long lost virtue that has taken a back seat to whatever we can find that will produce the most efficient results possible. This philosophy can make sense for certain business applications, but has had dire consequences to those wanting to get fit and healthy.

Living fit and healthy isn't about following some extreme twelve-week plan to lose fifty pounds of fat. If you have a considerable amount of weight to lose, and need to drop it as fast as possible, a plan like this isn't such a bad thing - at least for those twelve weeks.

But what happens after the twelve weeks are up? Are you going to continue eating so few calories, being hungry all the time, and spending more time at the gym every week than your schedule really allows?

Of course not!

Your motivation will eventually start to wane and you'll slowly backslide into your old habits because you won't have the slightest clue how to realistically integrate eating healthy and living fit into your everyday lifestyle.

It just isn't possible to follow the kind of extreme programs that are typical nowadays as a permanent lifestyle for living fit and healthy, regardless of how efficient they may be.

Eating for Lifelong Results

Without a doubt, the foods we ingest have an incredible impact on both our inward health and outward appearance. This is why for someone trying to create a lifelong healthy lifestyle they will need to get in the habit of stocking their fridge, freezer and pantry with foods that are both natural and healthy.

No more twelve packs of Mountain Dew and frozen pizzas!

Your grocery list should consist of a variety of lean meats, eggs, vegetables, whole wheat breads and pastas and fruits. This list is certainly not all-inclusive, but the idea is to stock your shelves with low-fat, natural foods.

Note that these foods will naturally contain fewer calories, allowing you to eat more of them without gaining fat.

Also, because they are produced with little or no processing they won't contain the high amounts of preservatives and other additives that have been shown to bog down the liver, slow fat loss, raise cortisol levels and potentially cause cancer.

As a general rule, eating organic as often as possible should be the goal. However, even if you aren't eating organic foods, sticking to the above list will go a long way towards keeping your body healthy on the inside and lean and fit on the outside.

Of course, you'll still need to monitor your caloric intake to ensure that it doesn't get out of hand. Regardless of the nutritional value of the foods you're eating, if you're eating them in excess, you're going to put on fat.

Your Commitment to Exercise

Committing to exercise is obviously an important part of living fit and healthy. But where most people go wrong is in the amount of time they decide to commit to exercise each week.

They will commit themselves to going to the gym 5 days per week knowing full well this isn't a realistic commitment with their already hectic schedule.

I'm certainly not saying that there's anything wrong with trying to exercise 5 days a week. Actually, if you can swing it, getting in some form of physical activity each and every day would be ideal.

What you want to avoid is putting yourself in an unrealistic situation and winding up feeling like a failure. You're better off making a commitment that you're certain you can stick to and making it a part of your routine.

Besides, you can always add extra days if your schedule opens up.

I've seen too many times someone miss a workout and then struggle to get back into the gym for the rest of the week because they felt like they had already failed for the week. Of course this line of thinking is ridiculous, but we are all prone to it.

Feelings of failure lead to feelings of disappointment and discouragement. It's just the way we're wired.

Look at your schedule, decide how much time you're wiling to devote to exercise, make sure it's realistic, and stick with it.

The only caveat I would give is that at a minimum you need to be getting in at least 3 sessions of exercise each week. Your exercise sessions should consist of both weight lifting and cardiovascular activity.

Any less than 3 sessions per week isn't going to have a significant impact and won't do much more than simply maintain your current level of fitness. And who wants that?

Living Fit and Healthy is in Your Control

Being fit and healthy doesn't revolve around following some temporary plan to lose weight or build muscle. It's about making a conscious effort on a daily basis to feed and exercise the body in a way that's conducive to overall health and performance.

But don't overcomplicate things! The goal should always be to keep things as simple as possible.

Eat healthy, natural foods as consistently as possible, exercise as often as you can (according to your personal schedule), eat an amount of calories that's in line with your goals and make this a normal facet of your life.

Like any change in life, it can take some time to adapt to living a fit and healthy lifestyle. That being said, after a few weeks of consistent healthy eating and regular exercise these things will start to become second-nature.

Your desire for unhealthy foods will start to vanish and the improvements you notice in the way you look and feel will keep you going until healthy eating habits and regular exercise are just a normal part of your lifestyle.

If you're in need of a healthy lifestyle change, I hope that this article has given you the tools and motivation you need to make it happen.

Living fit and healthy ultimately comes down to nothing more than a choice. Choose to make your health and fitness a priority.

Few things in this life are more important!