Us humans don't like change. We like familiar and comfortable. But if we want to lead long healthy lives and feel fit and fabulous, most of us have to make some changes.
Dr Orlena chats about how to make "change" fun and easy so that you can make changes that stick. And get to feel fit and fabulous!
Hello, and welcome to Fit and Fabulous with me, Dr Orlena Kerek. I hope that you are feeling fabulous.
It is a sunny day today. It is the Easter holidays as I've recorded this. It's kind of strange being in our small house because we're not used to being in a small house. I noticed that movement around the house is very difficult.
We have to make an effort to go outside, stretch our legs or get on our bikes or do some kind of movement.
In a small house, it's very easy to be sedentary and spend your entire day hardly moving at all. So that is my golden nugget for you.
Today, what I want to talk about is making changes. How difficult making changes can be for our brain, but how actually it can be super easy.
The other flip side of this idea is how challenging ourselves to do something slightly new. Building on our new muscles can also be difficult and also feel like a huge challenge.
I want to tell you a story about my running. For those of you who have listened to my previous podcast, you'll have heard all about how I started running.
For those of you who are new or haven't heard the story, let me give you a little bit of a recap.
I live in Spain. I have four children. Last year in Spain, we had six weeks of total lockdown. We weren't allowed outside of the house at all. And so my exercise levels plummeted to a grinding halt.
At that time, our house was relatively large and we had a big garden, so I could do some movement and I had my sports watch. I realised that my daily steps went from around 10 or 12,000 down to about 3000 if I kept up. I sort of kept on top of making sure that I did it.
I would go and pace around the garden. 30 laps was a thousand steps so it was difficult for us all to do any exercise. The good news is that when we were allowed back out to exercise, I was willing to go. So I started cycling and I'm someone who swims in the sea.
At that time, I decided I was going to cycle to the beach rather than drive to the beach because there was about one week. The rules changed every week. There was one week when we were allowed out to exercise. I went out and I started cycling and I built on that habit.
The whole of last summer I was cycling to the beach and then swimming a few kilometres and then cycling back.
My children, however, we're stuck at home. They were not allowed to do some exercise outside. Normally, they would go to summer school and do some activity but last year they didn't.
They had sports watches, but I could see that they were doing very little. They were very sedentary even in the big house where movement was much easier.
I challenged them to do a zero to 5k run. They're young athletic people. And I said, "I will do this with you." We'll go out and we'll do the "Couch to 5k" app.
If you haven't heard of it, it's an app. It's perfectly free or it might be about $3. It's not very much money. It walks you through how you can start running and you start by doing a little bit of walking and a little bit of running.
My children were very good at this. I couldn't find a time of the day to do this because I would go swimming first thing in the morning. Then at three o'clock in the afternoon, it was scorching hot, far too hot to be running.
We eat dinner at about six or seven o'clock. After dinner, I didn't want to run but they wanted to run off to dinner. So they went off on their own and they started running.
I said I will come back to running in the autumn when the temperature has cooled a little bit. And I'm not swimming so often. That's exactly what I did. I built up to doing 5 kilometres.
I'm a huge, great advocate of sports watches. That gamification they do. They constantly telling you to go a little bit further, push yourself a little bit harder. I joined in, getting these points for no particular reason other than to challenge myself. I enjoy it.
Before Christmas, I challenged myself to do a 10k run. It took under an hour and it was a bit of a challenge and it was a bit scary.
My normal run is once a week on Saturday because I swam and I cycled during the rest of the week.
I have two runs that I do here. One is a 4k run and one is a 6k run. That takes me along the seafront. It's beautiful. I go at seven o'clock in the morning. It's pretty much deserted.
At Christmas time, I would always think of the 6k run as a little bit more of a challenge. It's because there's a huge flight of stairs in it. It's 11 stairs.
I had to train myself to say, it's okay, you can walk up the stairs. You don't have to run up the stairs, which is a bit impossible. You can walk, just be kind to yourself, do the 6k, just walk up the stairs. Still, in my mind there's a little bit of a thought, which is 4k is so much easier than 6k.
I did my 10K run at Christmas time and I felt very proud of myself. I came back feeling, "Yep, I've done it!" and then I was looking at my watch. It said you can get four whole points if you do 15K in March.
That is a little bit of a challenge. In fact, it's quite a lot of a challenge. It's 50% more than I have ever done. My limit has basically been an hour of reasonably intense exercise.
After about an hour, you do tend to use up your energy sources. So I would normally run or swim without eating anything. It's fine because I don't push myself beyond that limit.
Anyhow, I decided to take on this challenge. I did a 10k run a few weeks ago and that was fine. On Saturday, I kind of had this thought, shall I do another 10k run and do a 15k run later on? Or shall I bite the bullet and go for 15k (run)? I thought I will bite the bullet and do it.
It's really interesting. I was running, listening to myself, thinking about the mindset chatter that was going on in my brain.
Let me share with you. Basically, I run 7.5 kilometres there, and 7.5 kilometres back. Clearly, what I had done before we've got to the 5k mark and turned around. So that extra two and a half was new territory for me. Not that. I didn't know it, but it was new territory for me in doing a run.
I could see myself building up and building up. So the first kilometre relatively simple, the second kilometre, relatively simple. My brain tends to go, "okay, you're nearly at halfway. "
There's that halfway mark, which seems to be easier. Once you've got that first quarter of the whole way, it feels a bit like you're going downhill. I'm approaching that and thinking, "okay, this is great." You've got this milestone, however, many more kilometres left to go.
I can see myself getting to this five-kilometre mark. It's almost like my brain is saying, "Oh, that five-kilometre mark is difficult. You haven't been beyond that five-kilometre mark before."
Obviously, my brain is saying things like, it's not going out. That is difficult. It's coming back. You have to make sure you have enough energy to be able to get back or enough strength to be able to get back.
That's definitely something I see in swimming, particularly because I get cold. I can go out and I want to carry on going, but then I think I'm going to be an ice cube by the time I get back.
I know where that thought comes from. It was almost like I burst through a wall. Obviously, an imaginary wall. It was about doing something new. It was almost like my head stuck through this little imaginary wall going, "You can do it. This is new territory and you're running."
Another part of my brain was saying, "This bit should be easy." A few weeks ago you ran 10 kilometres. You shouldn't really be having any mind thoughts that are going on about how difficult this is until you get to 10 kilometres. That's the new bit, but it wasn't. It was at five kilometres and it's all-new territory.
I ran the seven and a half and I ran back. When I got to seven and a half, my body was going, "this is hard, this is hard. You can't do it". Part of me was expecting it to just be easy. You've got to get home now. It's easy. It's all homing. It's a habit. You know where you're going.
There was that to a certain extent, but there was also, "Oh my goodness. My legs have turned to jelly. This is hard work. You can't do it."
And I got home, I made it home. I had to walk some of the ways, which was a bit of a mistake. It made it feel so much worse when I started again, but I did make it.
I felt a huge, great sense of achievement, but I have to confess I didn't get home dancing and jumping around. I would normally do it after a 6k or 10k run and dance to music and think, "wow, that's amazing."
I've got home sort of collapsed in a heap. I thought, "Oh, am I broken or am I okay?" but it was a huge sense of achievement.
I think you can do it again. I also think I need to build up a little bit. Do a few 10K run. Perhaps going from 10K to 15K was a bit of a large chunk.
When I look back and think about my 4K and 6K run suddenly it seems so much easier.
I've challenged myself to 15K. I'm not going to go and do 15K every single week. I promise you that I would like to do a 20K run. I want to do the 10 to 15 a little bit more before I take on 20K, but now 6K seems so easy. I could do that in half the time. Well, clearly half the time.
It suddenly feels so much more fun, so much more doable. I think this is really important point to take away from when we do new things. When we first start doing new things, it feels, "Oh, so difficult." I cannot imagine myself a year ago going to do a 15-kilometre run. I hadn't even started running then.
When I first started running, I had to tell myself, "You're going to walk." Think of it as a walk. Don't think of it as a run. Think of it as going for a walk for half an hour. You're going to do a few, three and five-minute run and just build up from there.
I look back now and think, wow, it's amazing. I can run for over an hour without stopping. And I've done that in less than a year, and it's not my number one sport that I do.
We can apply this to absolutely anything that we want to do. It's all about habits. It's all about systems. It's all about routine.
This is exactly what we're going to be talking about next week in the Healthy you, Healthy Family Habits Challenge. We're going to be talking about how you make it easy to do these things.
It's very easy to look back and think I could have stopped running. In the summer when my children stopped running, I could have given up and going. I'm not going to run. I don't need to run. I'm doing swimming. I'm doing cycling. It's perfectly fine. You don't need to do running. You're perfectly healthy " but because I know about habits and how easy it is to create habits.
When you have the right tools, I knew that you could do it, and I inspired myself to do it. Despite there being times when my brain decided to kick up a bit of a fast and say, "You don't want to do this, you don't want to run. It's too difficult."
If I had listened to that voice, I wouldn't have done my 15K run a few days ago. I ignored it and I did it anyhow.
I speak to a lot of people who are telling me, I would like to make my life more healthy. I want to lose weight or because a lot of people say longevity is important.
I want to live, to see my children grow up. I want to live to see my grandchildren. I want to be energetic. I want to avoid all those horrible diseases. I want to have strength and flexibility in my body.
I want to lead a long and healthy life.
I know that right now, the things that I'm doing are not helping me do that. Those things that you need to do are not difficult things.
They are things like eating vegetables and moving and making sure you get some sleep. if you can do all three of those things, you stand a very good chance of leading a relatively long and healthy life.
The problem is most people don't do that because they are stuck in their habits.
It's the way that they always have been, and they don't understand how to change.
This is what we're going to be talking about next week in the Healthy You, Healthy Habit Challenge. It's all going to be taking place on Facebook. It will be five sessions, Monday to Friday.
There'll be around now at heat. I have spent hours preparing these sessions. It's totally free. It will be me giving a presentation. You'll be able to ask questions the week afterwards.
I'll be offering some more sessions, some group sessions where you can actually chat. We can have some chats about the things that we have been talking about.
Most importantly, it will be about you making one healthy habit. Clearly, you can't create one habit in a week. It will be about giving you tools so that you can make that habit. You can turn it into a habit and you can do it in a way that is easy and not about discipline.
I hope that you're up for doing new things. Things that are exciting, easy. and fun. Things that will get you to that place that you want to get to, which is a long and healthy life.
If weight loss is something that you want. If you want to be strong and energetic, then do these amazing things. Do cycling and running and swimming and enjoy life.
So come and sign up for the Healthy You Healthy Family Habit Challenge. I will leave the link in the show notes and I hope to see you next week. Have a fabulous week. Bye-bye
Wouldn't it be amazing if you could dial down your cravings for certain foods?
Or increase your like for healthy foods? Wouldn't that make healthy eating so much easier?
Well, you can! In just 30 minutes.
Alea didn't like blueberries until she did the Magic Likes exercise. She was eating them and enjoying them by the end of the call!
Tory stopped eating pretzels after she did the exercise.
Find out more about Dr Orlena's Magic Likes and Dislikes Exercise.
(Psst... if you sign up for the "Overeating quiz" you can get a huge discount!)
Dr Orlena Kerek (MBChB from the University of Bristol, UK) trained as a pediatric doctor. She is now a family health coach. She helps busy mums who want to feel amazing by eating healthy food. So they can enjoy a healthy life, get back into their honeymoon shorts and teach their kids healthy habits. All without thinking about it.
If you want a healthy family and healthy lifestyle without having to think about it. And you'd like help, book a 30-minute "Healthy Life Roadmap" call here.
Come and join the FREE habit challenge taking place April 12th-16th. Sign up here: https://www.drorlena.com/habitchallenge