Micah LaCerte’s story starts with his own physical transformation. When he graduated from high school in 1997, he was a very skinny kid at 135 pounds. Although he was athletic and seemed to be fit, he was insecure about his body and strength.

When he started college, he decided to take control of his body and his health. He started going to the gym. While he was there, he began learning and studying more about what exercises are good for the body and what would help him. As he says, “I started transforming my own body and my own life.”

But it did not stop with just a month or a semester of gym classes. “What I soon found out was it was a lifestyle, not just a workout, not just a diet. It was waking up every single day saying I need to make this choice to get this result.”

Micah trained as a personal trainer, and made such a complete transformation with his body that he was the 2011 WBFF Muscle Model World Champion. Now Micah works with his wife Diana, also a personal trainer and nutritionist who has won a number of her own championships, and helps other people transform their lives. With HitchFit, they have helped clients lose over 300,000 lbs since 2009. Micah says, “Essentially the only way to get to long-term success is living a lifestyle of positive choices.”

Credits and Debits

Micah says we need to focus on positive choices.You can think about these choices in terms of credits and debits. Your health and wellbeing functions like a bank account. You can make choices that add credit to the account. These can be large decisions, like finding a new doctor and following their treatment plan. Or they can be the more simple small changes, like drinking enough water.

You can also make debits to your health account. Again this might be something big like smoking, or it might be something small like drinking a sugar- and dairy-filled latte every day.

Each day we get to make these choices, and each day we have the opportunity to start making credits to our account. If we start right now and make the next healthy choice that we can, it may still take us some time to get out of the red, but we will be making positive choices and we will be on the right path.

Set a Goal

Micah describes his time in the gym as a college student to transform his body. He had a clear goal and educated himself on the steps he would need to take to meet his goal. When we realize that we want to make changes, we need to set clear goals. Dr. Daphne Bascom, Vice President of Community Integrated Health at YMCA of Greater Kansas City, explained SMART goal setting and the steps to make sure your goal is Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realizable, and Time-bound.

We all have a variety of health goals. The most common health goal people have is to lose weight. But you might also have a health goal to have more energy, or to move your body more easily, or to be able to play with your grandchildren (now or in the distant future). Although some of those seem like vague ideas, you can even turn playing with your grandchildren into a SMART goal.

For example, if you want to play with your grandchildren, that might mean you need to be able to sit on the floor for 30 minutes. If it is hard for you to get down on the floor, your first SMART goal might be to do some stretches that will improve your flexibility. You can research to find specific stretches that will help you get up and down from the floor, then you can set the goal to do them for a length of time or a number of repetitions each day. Flexibility doesn’t happen when you stretch just once. Each day that you make the positive choice to spend 10 or 20 minutes on the stretches you are crediting your health account and getting closer to your goal.

Start Now

With the changes he made to his own life and the many clients he has helped, Micah has seen that positive choices are the key, and you need to start now. Many people say that they will start on Monday, but that turns into Friday, or Sunday, or the next Monday, or in January, or when the weather is nicer. Micah says that there is no better time to start making positive choices than right now. With small changes, no matter what your health is like right now, there is one small thing that you can definitely tackle.

Like Micah, Dr. Daphne Bascom says, “Just start.” If you are thinking about crediting your health account with exercise, just start. Don’t let a lack of time hold you back, just go for the 5 minute or 10 minute jog. If you’ve been leading a sedentary lifestyle, don’t let a lack of physical prowess hold you back, start with a walk to the end of the block, or whatever you can do.

If you are thinking about crediting your health account with food, start now by drinking a big glass of water. Tomorrow try to start drinking half of your body weight in ounces. It is best to split it into thirds. Drink a third before you leave for work, a third before lunch, and a third before dinner.

Making positive choices to make small changes in your life can lead to big shifts in your health. Make the next positive choice so you can start crediting your health account.

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