The Freedom of (Self-Imposed) Boundaries
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Boundaries, barriers, and…freedom?

Most of us are under the misconception that fit people work hard and spend most of their lives deprived in order to achieve their amazing bodies. There are extremes but simply putting together the correct balance is what it’s ALL about.  If you have very BIG goals then you will have to live OUT of balance to get them (ex. Drop tons of fat, gain tons of muscle, in minimum time).  If you have more moderate expectations (ex. Health, dropping a few pounds, losing a few inches, maintenance, etc). then you will find yourself with a much more reasonable ‘balance’ of exercise and food choices.  There is a continuum of restraints that you will have to work with to achieve your said goal.  It is that simple.  Then, you have to take a good hard honest look at yourself and your habits and see if you are achieving that balance, and for long enough time.

I’ll let you in on a little secret…It’s not hard to get and stay fit when you set small measureable but progressive goals from week to week and dedicate a mandatory amount of time to them. It’s not ALL about hard work and deprivation. Most of us set unrealistic expectations and expect to always get a 1 to 1 response from the efforts put in (and are the same types that opt for a pill or lipo when all they needed to do was give a consistent honest effort…instead of constant complaining and EXCUSES).  This is simply setting yourself up for failure.  You need to give things time to work.  A poor plan properly executed is better than a perfect plan poorly executed.

It’s all about boundaries and consistency.

Let me explain…

When you were a child your parents set boundaries around you. They were the authority on what was or wasn’t acceptable behavior. You had to complete your chores before dinner. You had to finish your homework before going out to play. You had to eat all your vegetables before dessert.

If you failed to comply with these boundaries then you knew that there would be consequences.

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Are your boundaries invisible? Imaginary?

As an adult you, and only you, are the authority on what is or isn’t acceptable behavior. You are in the position to set boundaries around yourself. These boundaries serve as a framework of order around you.

With self-imposed boundaries you can assure your success in anything…specifically with weight loss or muscle gain.

Your fitness boundaries have to be self-imposed-no one is going to do it for you. You only get out what you put in…and sometimes the rewards don’t all come at the beginning.  Don’t look at this as a bad thing! Self-imposed boundaries are self-empowering.  Because YOU are in control.  ALWAYS.

Let’s face it, you’ve been living life without health and fitness boundaries.

You eat whatever you want, whenever you want it.
You use any excuse to avoid exercise.
You indulge whenever it feels good.

Your Fitness Boundaries

It’s time to introduce boundaries back into your life. These boundaries are the key to unleashing your ideal fit and healthy body.

1. Fitness Boundary One: What you eat

If you were to be perfectly honest with me, you could list off the foods that are unhealthy and jacking up your diet plan? So why are you still eating them without limits? You know that refined, fried, processed and sugary foods are not good for you.

Place boundaries around what you will allow yourself to eat. More acceptable food items include whole foods, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean meats.

2. Fitness Boundary Two: How you exercise

I know that you’re not an Olympic athlete, but that doesn’t mean that you can simply pass on exercise. By now you are well aware of the host of benefits that exercise provides. With regular exercise you’ll look great, feel amazing and have more energy than ever.

Place boundaries around how often you must exercise and boundaries around how many days off you will give yourself.  You should know my recommendations by now. Choose exercise that is challenging and fun – don’t be afraid to try new activities that improve your strength and endurance.

3. Fitness Boundary Three: When you indulge

Let’s face it, we live in a world where indulging has become the norm, rather than the exception. When you live life without fitness boundaries, everyday is an opportunity to indulge. These indulgences all add up quickly, causing your clothes to become tight and your energy levels to drop.

Place boundaries around when you can indulge. You’ll find that by limiting your indulgences you’ll end up enjoying them even more.

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Yep, even pandas do it.

Putting It In Action

Sit down and take a long, hard look at your lifestyle.
Are you eating as healthy as you could be?
Are you exercising 3-6 times each week?
Are you indulging too often?

Answer the following questions:

What 3 food items can I eliminate from my daily diet? (These should be nutritionally void items like high-calories beverages, fast food, packaged snacks, high-fat food, candy or desserts.)
When can I schedule exercise into my week? (Pick 3-6 days, and select a specific time frame. Example: I’m going to exercise with weights on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays from 5am-6am.  And, I’m going to run/walk/jog on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday from 5am-6am.)
When will I allow myself to indulge? (Don’t go overboard here, especially if you need to lose weight. Enjoy a treat a couple times each month or week, and do so guilt-free knowing that you’ve maintained healthy food boundaries the rest of the time.

Remember that self-imposed boundaries are self-empowering and are the only path to your goals.  No one else can do this for you.  Its great to have a support network or professional guiding you through this, but ultimately you must find internal drive and will power.

Fitness boundaries put your fitness results on autopilot. If you know what constitutes an acceptable meal, then choosing what to eat just got a whole lot easier. If you’re committed to exercising 3 times a week, soon it becomes second nature.