Gray: Change starts in your head

What is one thing that you can change today that will change all of your tomorrows? Your mindset. If you’re struggling to get started (again) with your fitness routine, if you’re struggling to eat healthy, if you’re struggling to find motivation, if you’re struggling getting out of a rut? Just decide to change your mindset. Tell yourself that you welcome a life of health and happiness and that you understand struggle is a part of success. Say it in your head over and over. See yourself as the healthy, strong person you imagine yourself to be and start acting that way before you ever get there.

“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their mindset cannot change anything.” George Bernard Shaw

So, why does your mindset matter in living a fit life?

Because the messages in your head determine your actions.

Because your mindset is your foundation for success.

Your mindset can determine how you interpret the world around you. In a fixed mindset, people believe things are the way they always will be and do nothing to change their situation. Fostering a fixed mindset can lead to failure in getting healthier.

“I’m just an overweight person. I’ve never been a breakfast eater. I don’t like to exercise. Everyone in my family is unhealthy. I just don’t have the time. I’m just not motivated. Aches and pains are just a part of aging. I’ve never been fit. I don’t have enough money to eat healthy. I never learned how to eat healthy. My life is just hard.”

These are all examples of how a negative mindset can ruin your chances of a permanent lifestyle change. When you are surrounded by negative messages – on television, on social media, in books, in your conversations, in your relationships – you have to literally fight harder to make healthy, positive choices in your day. Negative thoughts and positive actions have a hard time aligning.

Starting now, focus on your thoughts and personal habits. Can they all be changed, developed, improved? The answer is a resounding, YES!

What happens when you do surround yourself with positive people and messages, and decide that you deserve to be happy and healthy? Your actions follow. In our community, I see dramatic changes in people’s lives when they change their mindset. If you need inspiration, read about some local success stories who have walked in your shoes and have chosen a new path.

Ashley Konarzewski was overweight most of her life. She struggled every day, yet believed there was nothing she could do to fix it. Despite her bleak outlook, Ashley decided to try a fitness boot camp with some friends. In just 10 days her attitude completely changed. She was ecstatic to lose six pounds and six inches and finally believed that exercise and nutrition could change her life. The progress she saw in less than two weeks fueled her determination. A year later, Ashley is 80 pounds lighter and happier. She no longer dreads looking in the mirror and loves playing with her boys because her body is strong and she does not run out of breath. Ashley feared she and her children would live their lives overweight. Today that fear is gone.

Kraig Lenard struggled growing up because he is educationally impaired. It always has been hard for him to make friends but he kept social and active by playing softball and basketball. When he graduated high school the sports ended and work began. His eating habits and inactivity caused him to gain weight – and eventually he was more than 300 pounds. Kraig hit a new low when his job was cut. Being unemployed and overweight sent him into a depression. His Aunt invited him to a Zumba class, hoping fitness would help. Kraig loved it. He also cleaned up his eating by reading food labels. His self-esteem was growing and his shirt size was shrinking. Kraig has lost 80 pounds and dropped from a 2X to a large. Being fit and healthy has saved his soul and transformed his life.

Kellie Donajkowski gained weight after she got married, started nursing school and had children. After her second child, she was put on medication for postpartum depression, which made her hungry and crave junk food. When her youngest started preschool, Kellie was at her heaviest, weighing 235 pounds. She was disgusted with herself. She decided to take action. She joined a health club, found support from healthy people, got great results with weight loss and increased energy. She even got off her anti-depressant. Kellie transformed her body, her food and her priorities and has lost nearly 100 pounds.

What is the common denominator between Ashely, Kraig and Kellie? They all changed their mindset first. Then they sought out fitness, good nutrition and support. They struggled on their way to success, but agree it is worth it.

You are worth it, too. Change your mind, change your life.

Trina Gray is the owner of Bay Athletic Club, a mother of two, a national presenter on fitness and wellness and a change agent in the community. Her wellness column appears monthly.