Geek Jitsu – the FEW essentials of a healthy lifestyle

“Yoga Flame” by Sarah R. Straub

It’s Wednesday, and that means another installment of Geek Jitsu. Last time, I talked about my own way to living healthier, and today, I want to get you started with the bare necessities of living healthy. It’s just a FEW guidelines, and if you read on, you’ll understand why I wrote that in all capitals.

Three golden rules
As mentioned in the previous article, I’m no expert in the field of health. I learned everything I know from reading articles and listening to people who know more about the subject than me, and I implemented all that knowledge as best as I could into my own geeky lifestyle. It’s just like Bruce Lee said: adapt what is useful, reject what is useless and add what is specifically your own. That’s exactly what I did with the following rules, which spell out FEW. FEW is not much, and that’s all you need to start living better.

F is for food
Many people are under the impression that, in order to live healthy, you have to eat less. That is simply not true. Yes, changing your diet might involve eating less than you did before, but it’s more important to eat the right things. Some people who start to live healthier actually have to eat more, due to a lifestyle that lacked sufficient nutrition. When trying to lose weight, make sure that you don’t skip meals or starve yourself the whole day. Your body and mind will suffer, and so will your motivation to live better. Instead, be mindful of what you eat. Replace that chocolate bar at work with an apple, or take less spaghetti during dinner. What is important is that food remains your ally throughout your diet, because when it becomes your enemy, you will fight a war you will surely lose.

E is for exercise
Next to being aware of what you eat, you have to become aware of how much exercise your body gets. Most of us geeks live a pretty stationary lifestyle: the only movement we have during our hobbies is moving our fingers to press buttons, or shaking our wrists to get the dice rolling. The majority of “us” also has jobs that don’t involve a lot of movement. In order to improve your lifestyle, start adding a bit of exercise to it. Why wait fifteen minutes for the bus if you could already walk to the next stop? Do you really have to take the elevator if your office is on the second floor? Try to find opportunities to add exercise to your daily life, and you will soon reap the benefits from it.

W is for willpower
Food and exercise are an excellent start when it comes to changing your lifestyle, but in order to incorporate them into your life on a long-term, you will need willpower. A lot of willpower. Statistically, most people who start a diet fail after about a month. There are many reasons for quitting, and one of them is that people think it would be easy to change your life. Let me tell you right now: it will not be easy. You will have to make sacrifices. You will ask yourself why you’re doing this, and you will have regular moments of doubt. Even worse, family and friends will try to tempt you from your path. They will tell you that you don’t have to do this, and tell you that you did this long enough already.
Unless you’re really overdoing it, don’t listen to these people. Don’t listen to that little voice in your head forcing you to give up. Because there’s only one feeling more terrible than failing, and that is quitting. If you fail, you tried. You did what you could, and no one can tell you that you didn’t take the shot. If you quit, though, you retreat with your tail between your legs. You’re a quitter. You want to be called a quitter? I don’t think so.

Excuse the harsh tone in the previous paragraph, but I was trying to drive home a point: be strong. Change requires willpower, and you will need a lot of it when trying to live healthy. Find motivation everywhere you can, and believe in yourself. Go the distance!

That sums up my FEW guidelines. Next week, we will take a closer look at food, and how you can change your diet. Stay fit!

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