The choices we make are the foundation of the outcome we get. Let’s get motivated to live a healthy lifestyle in ten simple steps.
Many of us ambitious women are either suffering from diets that don’t work or a lifestyle that isn’t fulfilling or satisfying.
The question we then can ask ourselves is; how to get back in focus and live an energetic and healthy lifestyle? The ten steps below are meant to be a guide with some of the things we can do for ourselves in order to start, get going and to keep it up from now onwards, in shaa Allah.
Intention- for the sake of Allah SWT
Everything we do should be for the sake of Allah SWT, and in shaa Allah, with the right intention, we will be rewarded, Allah SWT says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me.” (Qur’aan 51:56)
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “The strong believer is better and more beloved to Allah, than the weak believer while there is good in both.” (Muslim)
Keeping the above in mind, we understand that we need to stay healthy, strong and energized for His SWT’s sake, in order to full-fill all our religious duties. A healthy food regime and exercise is giving us just that: strength and energy!
Motivation- why we are starting and what will keep us going
Our most important reason for motivation was already mentioned above, but let’s add some more. I believe that when we are clear about why, we want to do something it will also make us do what we do.
Four months ago for example, when I just had my second baby, my motivation was that “I do this pelvic floor and deep abdominal exercises and walking (the what), because I want to regain muscular strength and functionality after the C-section and be able to run and function properly (the why) again”.
Goals- let’s get clear!
A goal is something that is sunshine clear. Otherwise, it’s more likely just a wish or a dream. We are normally able to reach a goal, first after having been consistent with our habits over a shorter- or longer period of time. A goal does normally just not happen without a consistent and conscious effort. Similarly, we must be very clear about the goal so it will be easy to implement the actions and habits that will lead us to success. The goal should be:
- Specific, a clearly defined goal
- Measurable and motivational for us
- Achievable, it’s possible to achieve
- Relevant, it does matter to us
- Time-bound, our deadline for completion
Plan to succeed
When we are clear about why we want to live a healthy lifestyle, we also, hopefully know what we need to do. if you need help with this, a coach can help. In order to do it, we need to make a plan to follow. If I for example wants to eat healthy:
- I need to clean out my kitchen from eventual unhealthy food
- Create a healthy menu
- Go grocery shopping
- Schedule when and what I will cook
- Execute: cook and eat
Success comes from consistency and daily habits. I personally think that most people feel great from routines, and I also think that it makes one more productive.
A routine is something that happens repeatedly and to create a routine you need to schedule it and then do it!
But also remember, to stay flexible. Because most surely, there will be times when your scheduled workout will have to be postponed, or you didn’t manage to do the needed grocery shopping on time and so on. So when the “undesired” situations occur, stay flexible and find a solution, rather than feeling completely off the road. A good affirmation may be to be back on the road, back on track and look straight ahead.
Focus on nourishing food, that make you full and satisfied. When we eat healthy and balanced, the body is nourished, and we naturally tend to not want to eat so much unhealthy food.
Focus on food that don’t have any label. Healthy food includes most of the time one- or few ingredients and is something natural that grows or lives. Natural food makes us most likely happy, while unhealthy food easily can make us tired and sluggish. If you don’t understand the label on a product, it’s most likely unhealthy.
Ideally we eat a little bit of everything in order to have a balanced diet, such as:
- Protein like lean meat, lentils, fish, eggs
- Good fats like olive oil, flax seed, avocado, salmon
- Carbohydrates like oatmeal, whole grains, brown rice
Exercise- get up and move
Just start. Start now. Do something, do what you can do. Don’t wait.
Even walking can make wonders. Physical activity is awesome both for the body and the mind and can improve your self-esteem, flexibility, agility, strength, reduce stress level, improve circulation, improve endurance, recover after pregnancy, prepare for pregnancy, lose weight, reduce risk for diseases and the list can go on. The benefits we may get from physical activity is more energy and focus in every-day life. Check in with yourself and decide what you possibly can do, and start from where you are at.
Our sleep and rest is important for us from many perspectives such as regaining mental clarity, energy and rebuilding our body.
To have a regular sleeping pattern and go to bed early is good for us. It may differ how many hours you need to sleep, some are fine with only 6 hours, while some needs more than 8 hours. Powernaps of about 20 minutes after zuhr prayer can also be very beneficial. Allah SWT says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And of His signs is your sleep by night and day and your seeking of His bounty. Indeed in that are signs for a people who listen.” (Qur’aan 30:23)
Preferably we go to bed latest by 10 pm, get some 6-8 hours of sleep, so we are fresh and energized to wake up for Tahajjud and Fajr prayers. Please also remember the Barakah, blessings, in the time after Fajr, which we of course want to benefit from as well. So in order to be able to stay awake, we need to be rested meaning we need to go to bed on time.
Many times, it does help to have an accountability partner, whether it be your coach, your husband or a sister. So don’t be afraid to ask their support and tell them about your lifestyle choices and why this matters to you.
Perhaps you’ll influence them really positively too! We need to remind ourselves however that we alone are the ones who need to work, don’t become a victim of what’s happening around us, but rather be in command of our own life with the help of Allah SWT.
In Islam, we are encouraged to live in moderation and to live in a balanced way. Extremes are never good.
Therefore, I recommend the “90/10 rule” which means eating healthy 90% of the time, and treat yourself when needed the remaining 10%.
An example of that is to eat nourishing and delicious food as the foundation, but enjoy something other (like pizza or whatever you like) on Friday evening or Saturday lunch for example. Because when we eat healthy food most of the time, we are also more likely not to get sugar- or other food cravings. Allah SWT says, (interpretation of the meaning):
“…eat and drink, but be not excessive. Indeed, He likes not those who commit excess.” (Qur’aan 7:31)
Remember, everything well worth to achieve requires work and persistence.
It’s a process, so start make step-by-step changes from now onwards. Start with what you think is the single most important action that will give you the biggest results as whole; and start with that. One thing leads to another.
To keep up the motivation, keep your why (you do it) clear and visible to you on a daily basis.
Always keep going, always get back on track, and always see a “mistake” as something you can learn from. Be love- and caring to yourself and nourish yourself with healthy foods and beneficial exercise.
Thank you & Energetic Regards,