You come across it everywhere. It pops up, streams across your inbox, and bellows out of your TV set in bite size nuggets. Everyone has an answer. But when it comes to your health and fitness, what’s the “right” answer?

Where do you find the recipe for a healthy, fit, and fulfilling life?

Is the answer the latest craze peddled on those annoying infomercial spots? Not likely. Is the answer a yet undiscovered pumpkin seed diet or miracle weight-loss pill? You know it’s not.

Health experts, and most importantly, those that have successfully turned their lives around tell us the answer. And yes, we already know what works. Exercise and eating sensibly is the answer, but it’s not the entire answer.

You sense something is missing and your intuition is right. The road to success is a process lined with donut shaped minefields and seemingly unsurpassable barriers. It’s a road you don’t want to travel alone. Those that are succeeding tell us to:

Share the dream. Tell everyone you know your goal. If people in your life don’t support you, you need to seek out those that will. This can be your biggest challenge. Attend functions, seminars, and outings that attract healthy people. For example, you’ll find healthy people walking in the park early in the morning, at the gym, or heading out for a walk during lunch. The key is to start looking today and you’ll find them sooner than you think.
When you go out for lunch or dinner, go with a colleague or friend that is aware of your goals. You’re more likely to order a sensible meal when someone encourages you. Also, choose to go out with healthy people or someone with a similar goal.
Go grocery shopping with a friend when possible. Plan your shopping after a walk or run that includes someone willing to go grocery shopping on the way home. You’re more likely to buy healthy food when someone is with you. Also, don’t go grocery-shopping hungry. Keep a healthy snack in your car or stop on the way for a sensible meal. While shopping, notice the shopping carts of fit people; they almost always contain different items than the unhealthy shoppers. It’s a simple observation. If you’re shopping alone, assume you have a fitness coach waiting at home to help you unpack. Would you buy the same items?

Hire a qualified fitness trainer or coach. It’s far less expensive than most people think and definitely less expensive than hospital visits and medical bills. Hiring someone to help you is a sign of strength, a commitment to do the right thing. Martin Luther King said it best, “The time is always right to do right.” Start looking for qualified professionals right away, just looking will keep you motivated.

Purchase an outfit that is too small, but one you can wear after reaching a milestone goal, but not your long-term goal. Think of it as a small reward along the journey. Plus you’re going to need a few new outfits soon. Keep the outfit in a place where you see it often – visual reminders are powerful motivators.

Yes, drink lots of water and eat four or five small meals per day whenever possible. Always eat breakfast or something before 10 a.m. Studies suggest it helps burn more calories and you’re less likely to eat before going to bed. Simple but effective.
Remember, the art of living a fit and healthy life is a process and not an event. It’s a life long journey that requires a behavior change. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see significant results within the first 30-days. It takes time to change your shopping habits, schedule exercise with others, hire the fitness professional, and inform your friends of your goals.

And again, focus on your habits, not the results – you’ll easily achieve the results once you change your habits. A healthy lifestyle requires a little patience; losing a pound per week is over 50 pounds per year. As long as you stay on the right path you have plenty of time. You are on the road to a long, healthy, and fulfilling life.