Living in FL for most of my life I never realized how spoiled I’d been to live in tank tops and flip flops year round. I’m still getting used to the fact that places exist where there isn’t tropical foliage in bloom all year long! However, today is Easter, which made it click that it is officially Spring! Warm weather has graced us more days recently thankfully. Bring on the sundresses and sunflowers! I for one, am ready to start clearing away the dead brush to make room for all the new growth.
Did you ever notice how much better things start to grow when they aren’t being covered up by something else? When you take time to cut back those barren branches, new life will start to grow back at a much faster pace. In order for a garden to flourish, you need to pay attention to what is going on each week, fertilize, spray for pests, and pull weeds occasionally. The same thing is true in our lives.
Many times, we become frustrated because things aren’t happening quickly enough according to our timeline. This is definitely true when it comes to reaching health and fitness goals. The fact of the matter is, that in order to grow, it’s sometimes necessary to take an inventory of the things that are either helping or hurting your efforts…and do a little “Spring Cleaning” in order to get on the best path possible.
I encourage you to take an inventory in a few key areas and start doing some spring cleaning wherever there is room for improvement:
KITCHEN- Now is the perfect time to get rid of anything that isn’t a clean healthy food. There is no place in your kitchen for things made from white flour, refined sugars, hydrogenated oils/trans fats, High Fructose Corn Syrup, nitrates/nitrites, and artificial ingredients (you know…the ones you can’t pronounce). Take a really close look at labels. Just because you have “fat free” salad dressing in your fridge, it’s not necessarily good for you. It might contain a laundry list of chemical ingredients, not to mention added sugars to give it flavor. Replace those poor quality food choices with wholesome foods made of whole ingredients…things that are grown from the ground or come from an animal (lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats). If you have a roommate or stubborn family that isn’t on the healthy train, then designate just one cabinet or one shelf that is yours only. This way you don’t have to go routing through a sea of unhealthy food every time you prepare a meal. You only need to open your own cabinet filled with clean healthy food choices.
CLOSET- Quit hanging on to those pants that are a size too big. Women are notorious for having a whole range of clothing sizes…just in case of some weight gain. Enough of this already! Get rid of them. In fact, if you’re working on improving your physique go buy something that is a little too small and hang it where you can see it every day. It’s great motivation to know you don’t have any “fat clothes” as a back up and even more motivation to see that pair of skinny jeans or a sleeveless top just waiting for you to look fabulous in it.
Or, maybe you don't have any clothes that fit right now because they've all gotten too small...that's ok too. Everyone has to start from somewhere! If it's your goal to lose weight, then use that as a motivator! Pull out that dress you'd love to wear again. Find a picture of the day you wore a great pair of jeans and post it on your mirror. Keep visualizing yourself back in that outfit. Start believing that you can do better, and you will! As you make progress, start rotating those clothes back into your wardrobe, purge any that become loose, and never go back there!
FRIENDS- Do you find yourself surrounded by people who aren’t on a healthy path? Do you feel like the only activities your friends do together are eat poorly, drink alcohol, or engage in negative gossiping? None of those things will get you closer to your goals of being a positive healthy person. I am by no means suggesting you shouldn’t help others in need of course. What I’m talking about here is something different. A while back, I decided to start cutting some of the toxic people out of my life. These people were what I call “energy suckers,” because they weren’t adding anything of value to our friendship, nor were they remotely concerned with living a healthy lifestyle. I always felt drained after hanging out with them. Being healthy is such a big part of my life, as it should be for you too, that at some point, you have to ask yourself how much you are willing to sacrifice of yourself. Even if you only have a couple close friends, if it’s not an energizing experience to spend time with them, consider scaling back contact. Once you cut the dead weight, you will open yourself up to friendships with people who can share in your quest to be healthy, that respect your goals, and people you can learn from and share new and exciting experiences with.
Re-grouping priorities isn’t always easy at first, but if you are willing to get honest with yourself, see what's working and what's not, and make some sacrifices, the pay off can be huge! You’ll start to realize that when one door closes, another one always opens…that when you clear away the dead weight and toxic build up in your life, you will grow and flourish bigger and brighter than ever before.