Choosing a healthier lifestyle


Picture a middle-aged person, busy with work, family, and schedules, not taking enough time to nurture his or her own health. Sound familiar? Twelve years ago, this was Theo Thurston, but a motivational gift from his wife redirected him toward a healthy, physically fit life.

In 2000 Theo’s wife gave him a book for his forty-seventh birthday called Body for Life. He thanked her and gave it a special place on his bookshelf—without reading it. When he finally cracked the book, Theo found inspiration. He headed to the gym, equipped with healthy snacks, and started the book’s twelve-week program.

Theo had always been, as he says, “a tall, skinny guy who drinks a lot of coffee.” After twelve weeks, not only did Theo look and feel fit and strong, but people—including a Navy Seal!—were asking him to train them. Theo earned certification as a personal trainer at the Cooper Institute in Dallas and returned to twenty waiting students and a new career.

“I love helping people,” Theo says. “Our body is a vehicle God gives us, and if you don’t take care of it, it’s a burden to live in that body. You may get used to it, but you’re tired, you creak, you don’t feel good, or you may not be strong enough to lift your kids or grandkids.”

Theo took his training one step further with natural body building—no enhancing drugs allowed. He competes annually in the Texas Shredder Classic Championships in Austin.

He notes that being in shape requires a healthy balance of good nutrition, cardio and strength training, and rest. “There’s a reason people get out of shape,” says Theo, “and it’s a mindset. You have to find that emotional trigger that will really motivate you. It’s not just that you want to fit into smaller jeans.”

Once you’re ready to jump-start a program, he recommends talking with an expert who can help you maximize your efforts. To keep seasonal festivities from sidetracking your progress, Theo says, “Remember that the holidays are just a few days, but all the days in between are opportunities to stick to your nutritional and workout programs.” Withstand the temptation to overeat with these tips: Drink a big glass of water before a meal, and eat slowly, savoring the food’s flavors.

Gradually, you’ll develop a mindset that will motivate you to get—and stay—fit!

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