In the name of posting some text and moving the gross picture of the Luther burgers further down the page, here is a random question from my e-mails this week.
Q: I've tried so many different diets and I can't exercise due to ankle problems. I feel like I'm running out of options. Any advice on what I should do?
A: This is going to sound snarky, and I don't mean to sound snarky at all. I say this with nothing but humor and affection - what's wrong with the rest of your body? If you're talking one ankle (or two ankles) and the rest of your body is fine, you can still exercise. If weight-bearing cardio is out, you can bike or swim. If biking and swimming are out, you can lift weights. If you don't have weights, you can do bodyweight exercises. If mentally, you just can't stand the thought of setting foot in a gym, or sweating, or lifting things, you can do yoga or Pilates at home.
There's always a way to increase your activity just a little bit. It doesn't have to be major. It can be a part of your day- a few leg lifts while you're talking on the phone, some resistance band exercises while watching television, a stretch before bed. Moving even a teeny tiny bit makes you feel better about yourself, which leads to a more positive outlook, better food decisions, and eventual results. It's not a matter of, "I need to burn 500 calories or else I won't bother." You can always do something to improve your situation.
Diets don't work at all, so I don't recommend those. If you go "on" something, you're guaranteed to go "off" or it at some point. Your daily habits should be enjoyable and support your goals. Don't deny yourself anything. Include your some of your favorite foods and routines so you can look forward to your meals. Keep it flexible and fun. It's mainly a matter of learning balance and portion control. It's not a horrible proposition where you're going to starve and never eat carbs and never go to restaurants. I really liked the book Naturally Thin by Bethenny Frankel as a guide to knocking off the dieting and incorporating your favorite foods. Here are a couple of blog entries where I reviewed it: Naturally Thin and Naturally Thin for the Non-Elf.
Basically, what I'm saying is baby steps. You don't have to go on a diet, or take up a grueling exercise program. You just have to move in the direction of your dreams. If you dream of being lean, healthy, and happy, do things that make you feel that way. All of the struggle, uncertainty and pain comes from doing things that are at odds with what your heart wants. If you want to be fit, healthy, and balanced, pigging out on junk food (or not eating at all) is at odds with your vision and will make you feel horrible. If your ankles hurt, deciding to become a runner will create massive mental and physical conflict and make you feel horrible. Avoid things that make you feel horrible and do things that bring you joy.
Health and fitness is a state of mind more than anything else. Change your mind and you change your body. I have this quote stuck on my desk. "You speak your world into existence. What did you say to yourself today?"