GET LEAN for Life, Starting NOW: Make a Mental, Nutritional, and Physical Change
Yes, swimwear season is right around the corner, and for many people, that’s motivation enough to get up off the couch, break a sweat, and seek out a healthy(ish) snack. But if you’re still wavering, Warren Honeycutt wants you to consider a few things. Honeycutt is an expert in weight loss, fitness, and nutrition, he is a championship bodybuilder who has been a Southern Classic Physique Champion, two-time Mr. Tennessee, and six-time Mr. America finalist. Now, at age 62, he enjoys perfect health without any prescription medications and a physique that is the envy of most 25-year-olds.
First, it’s never been easier to get healthy. From healthier restaurant menus to community exercise initiatives to free instruction and information on the Internet, the world is increasingly geared toward getting fit for those who wish to. Secondly, we’re looking at a future in which bad health will be penalized. Increasingly, employers and insurance companies are paying attention to who is costing them the most money and are preparing to pass on those costs to their source.
“The point is, right now is the time to get started on getting lean for life, whether you’re relatively healthy or haven’t broken a sweat in years,” says Warren Honeycutt, author of Get Lean for Life: 7 Keys to Lasting Weight Loss (Get Honeycutt, Inc., 2014, $19.95, www.getlean.guru). “But you need to know one thing up front: There are no lasting quick fixes. I’m talking about instituting habits you can stick with for the rest of your life.”
A sustainable lifestyle change consists of Mindset, Nutrition, and Exercise, and it’s important to focus on all three.
Honeycutt practices what he preaches. A respected expert in weight loss, fitness, and nutrition, he is a championship bodybuilder who has been a Southern Classic Physique Champion, two-time Mr. Tennessee, and six-time Mr. America finalist. Now, at age 62, he enjoys perfect health without any prescription medications. Honeycutt offers personalized fitness training through his comprehensive Get Lean program, which features detailed fitness videos for exercising at the gym, at home, at the office, and while traveling; personalized meal plans; motivational material; and more.
Here, he shares tips to help you get started on developing sustainable and healthy mental, nutritional, and physical change:
Know your reasons why.
First, get clear on why, exactly, you are trying to make a lifestyle change. For instance: I don’t want to have a heart attack like my dad. I’d like to have more energy. I want to be around for my grandchildren. I’m tired of disliking what I see when I look in the mirror. And so on.
“Without a powerful, authentic ‘why,’ the ‘how’ of getting fit will be very short-lived,” comments Honeycutt. “You need a reason that will still be relevant long after your willpower has been drained. And be sure to write down your reasons for wanting to make changes in your nutrition and fitness habits. Magic takes place when we transform our thoughts into the written word!”
Understand that the biggest barrier to living healthy is mental.
Henry Ford once said, “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t—you’re right.” He was absolutely correct. Your self-talk and attitude will be the deciding factors in your quest to get healthy. Why? The hardest part of exercising and eating right is taking the first step—and overcoming that barrier is largely mental.
“The body hears every thought the mind has,” confirms Honeycutt. “It is vitally important to understand that the body follows the mind. Our mind—especially the subconscious mind—determines the long-term success (or failure) of any nutrition and fitness program. Once the mind is in the right place, changing and sustaining your habits will become as easy as texting, driving, or walking.”
Measure your progress.
Yes, literally measure your waist, hips, chest/bustline, neck, etc. on a regular basis and record the results. Take progress pictures too. On a day-to-day basis, you may not feel as though your nutrition and fitness efforts are making much of a difference, but over time, the numbers don’t lie. Seeing your waist measurement steadily shrink can be a huge source of pride and motivation.
“The tape measure is one of the very best tools to gauge progress,” Honeycutt states. “So once you’ve identified your goals, take all your measurements and forget about measuring for two weeks. Then take them again at the same time of day as the first set of measurements. If you have designed the correct program for yourself, you WILL see progress. This is not philosophy; it is science.”
Give yourself a break.
You will fall off the wagon at some point. It’s inevitable. Maybe you’ll look down in surprise to find that you’ve finished the entire bag of potato chips, instead of just the few bites you meant to have. Or perhaps you’ll press the pause button on exercising while you’re on vacation and then neglect to push play again once you’re back home.
“Whatever the circumstances are, it’s important to understand that tomorrow really is another day,” Honeycutt says. “You can’t change the past, but you have full control over the future—so when you’ve slipped up, direct your mental energy to planning your next meal or workout instead of dwelling on your mistakes. Be as kind to yourself as you would be to your best friend. Encourage the most important person in your life…YOU!”
Get a basic nutrition education.
Often, people have one foot in 15 different diets (No carbs! And eat like a caveman! And oh yes, lots of green smoothies!), and as a result, their food intake is far from balanced. Alternatively, they might be relying on box meal plans, which are (at best) short-term solutions. A much better option, says Honeycutt, is to take the time to learn about health and nutrition so that you can make smart choices for yourself.
“For instance, when you know that 100 calories of simple carbohydrates will be digested almost immediately, whereas 100 calories of complete protein will take several hours to be digested and metabolized, you’ll be able to choose a snack that will keep you feeling satisfied longer,” he shares. “There are many sources available to help you gain a good understanding of nutrition, including my website, www.getlean.guru.”
Clean out your pantry.
When turning over a new nutritional leaf, many people say to themselves, Well, I’ll eat what I already have in the house, then I’ll start buying healthier items. That’s understandable—not using what you already have feels wasteful. But Honeycutt encourages you to get rid of all the junk—right now—anyway.
“Throwing out all of your unhealthy items in one fell swoop sends a pretty powerful psychological message,” he observes. “You may be surprised by how big the pile is and how empty your pantry is afterward! Plus, I think if you’re going to start eating healthy, it’s best to just do it—torturing yourself with the last remaining bag of potato chips doesn’t do your motivation any favors. And the good news is, you don’t have to trash everything. Take any unopened and unused items to a local food pantry.”
Master a few healthy meals.
If you don’t have any healthy meals in your household rotation (be honest—you know that French fries don’t really count as a vegetable), now is the time to master some new recipes. To start, learn to make three or four healthy options for each meal (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) and keep the ingredients for each on hand. (You may even be able to make more than you need and keep portions in the freezer for later.)
“As time goes on, you can add more meals to your repertoire,” Honeycutt says. “And while you’re shopping for ingredients, pick up an insulated container with compartments. That way, if you know ahead of time that you’ll be in an environment that doesn’t lend itself to smart eating choices (such as the break room at work), you’ll be able to bring a healthier option.”
If you think about it, you’ll probably admit that you tend to make your least healthy dining choices (think drive-thrus and “junk food”) when you just aren’t sure what else to eat. Taking a half hour every Sunday (for example) to plan out your meals and snacks for the week, and to make out an appropriate grocery list, can be a real game changer. If you know you have the ingredients for spaghetti squash with marinara sauce in your fridge, for instance, you’ll be much less likely to pick up a pizza on the way home from work.
“Personalized meal plans that take into account personal preferences and dietary restrictions (like being gluten-free) are a big part of my Get Lean program for a good reason,” says Honeycutt. “When you plan healthy meals, you’re much more likely to eat them.
“On that note, I’d like to share one of my personal favorite options for snacks and meals,” he continues. “Protein shakes (my personal favorite kind of protein powder is Optimum Nutrition) can really support your fitness goals. If you want a slow burn, choose casein. For quicker digestion, go for whey. I love taking a scoop of protein, a serving of almond milk, fresh fruit, and ice cubes, and blending it all to the desired consistency. Absolutely delicious—and quick and easy to prepare.”
When you’re fired up about getting fit, it’s tempting to rush out and spend a lot of money on a gym membership or complex home gym equipment. But Honeycutt advises you to wait if you don’t already have those things.
“Start small and take baby steps when it comes to integrating exercise into your daily life,” he advises. “A pair of tennis shoes, elastic exercise bands, and 5- or 10-pound dumbbells are all you need to get started. Once you have established the exercise habit, then you can upgrade to that gym membership or elliptical machine!”
Know how to get the most bang for your buck.
If and when you do start going to the gym, take the time to learn how to use the machines. Often, newcomers gravitate toward the familiar treadmill, bike, and elliptical, and avoid the other equipment.
“Working with a trainer, even for just one or two sessions, can really help,” Honeycutt states. “He or she can explain which machines to use, how to use them safely, and how often. Be sure that your trainer understands your goals and is qualified to give you maximum results in minimum time!”
Schedule your workouts.
Workouts are not going to happen if you don’t plan ahead and assign them a time on your schedule. It’s that simple. So figure out when you’d like to exercise, whether that’s first thing in the morning, over lunch, or in the evening, and block out some time on your calendar.
“Even when you schedule your workouts, it will be incredibly easy to think of excuses notto follow through,” Honeycutt comments. “Look back at your reasons for getting fit to reinforce why you want to take this journey. (This is why I encourage you to write them down!) You deserve to live a life of energy, passion, and enthusiasm, and your family deserves to have you in this setting.”
Find something fun.
If you’re one of those people who really loves crunches, lunges, and lifting weights, great! If not, don’t limit yourself to these types of exercises. Your willpower won’t last forever, and you’ll eventually fall off the wagon if you dread every single workout.
“Remember that any movement is good for the body, mind, and soul!” Honeycutt says. “Our bodies are designed to move, and anything that doesn’t move is dead…or soon will be. So take your dog on longer walks. Bike with your kids or grandkids. Take a dance class. Plan a vacation to a hiking destination. And so on. Your options are unlimited! Remember, a healthy lifestyle is all about staying balanced for the long haul.”