As we approach Thanksgiving and the holiday season, we tend to reflect on the people and things we are thankful for. Developing a gratitude mindset is so critical to our overall health, and the one thing we’ve learned over the last 20 months, is the importance of our health.   

Our bodies are beautiful, impressive creations and it’s incredible to consider some of the adaptations that occur once you start exercising and eating healthy. Some of these benefits you may not be aware of but hopefully, will motivate you to carve out the time to take care of yourself. 


Here’s a list of things you can be thankful for in terms of health and fitness:

Movement creates energy

Often when we’re tired, the last thing we want to do is exercise. Our instinctive response is ‘I’m too tired to workout.” The reality is that as soon as you start to move your body, your heart starts pumping, the blood starts flowing, endorphins are released, and you actually start to feel better and your energy increases. So the next time you’re feeling like you’re dragging, instead tell yourself “I’m feeling lethargic so I need to move my body.”

Your stomach gets smaller

As you start to eat healthier and control your portions, your stomach actually shrinks and you will soon be satisfied on a smaller amount of food making it easier to achieve weight loss goals. So the first couple weeks are the hardest but then your body adapts and eating smaller portions becomes less challenging. 

You crave what you consume

If you consume a lot of sugar and salt, your body craves it, making it difficult to avoid temptation. The same is true when you start to eat healthier. As you start to drink more water and eat more fruits and vegetables, your body will start to desire these things making it easier to eat healthy.

Working out makes you a fat-burning machine

As you start exercising and eating better, you increase the number and strength of the fat burning enzymes, Lipoprotein Lipase (LPL) inside your fat cells. LPL mobilizes and utilizes fat for fuel so eventually, you become a fat burning machine making it so much easier to achieve your ideal body composition. When you first start exercising, remember that even if you’re not noticing any visible changes to your body, your internal biochemistry is changing. Your fat burning enzymes are becoming more effective at their job, which is going to make it a lot easier to burn fat in the long run so stick with it!

Exercise builds the energy cells

Initially, exercise can feel like a chore and make you tired. However, once you are exercising consistently, you increase the size and number of your mitochondria (where energy is produced) so you can go further and harder without getting exhausted.

Your entire cardiovascular and respiratory system improves

As you get more fit, your cardio system improves, your heart and respiratory muscles get stronger and you develop more capillaries. This makes it easier to extract oxygen from your blood so you don’t get as winded and can work out harder and longer. 

Muscle raises your metabolism

Since muscle is energy burning tissue, when you strength train and develop muscle, you will burn more calories not only during exercise but also during rest. Keeping your metabolism revving is important to overall health. In addition, strength training is one of the best ways to change your body composition equating to more muscle and less fat. 

Exercise makes you more effective at using fuel

As you get fit, instead of the byproducts of high intensity exercise being toxic to your system making you feel nauseous and dizzy, instead your body becomes more efficient at using Lactic Acid as fuel enabling you to go harder and faster without feeling like you’re going to die. 

You are who you hang with

Research indicates that if you hang out with people who are healthy, you will also become more healthy. Surround yourself with people who inspire, challenge and support you. Good energy rubs off!

Achieving goals develops “Results Momentum”

When you accomplish one goal, no matter how small or insignificant, it will give you the belief and the confidence to achieve the next goal, and the next goal and so on. Soon you will have reached your ultimate goal. It’s called ‘Results Momentum’. You don’t have to worry about the big, monstrous goal. When it comes to your health and fitness, just take it one step at a time!


There is so much to be thankful for and hopefully this list will help you understand how strong our bodies are and inspire you to prioritize your health. The above adaptations will positively impact you in every way, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. No need to wait for New Year’s Resolutions. Get started today!

Yours in health & fitness,
Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan, holds a master's degree in exercise physiology and has been inspiring the world to adopt a fitness lifestyle for more than 30 years. She has received numerous industry awards including 2010 CanFitPro International Presenter of the Year, 2006 IDEA Fitness Director of the Year, 1998 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year, 1998 CanFitPro Fitness Presenter of the Year and 2005/2006 ACE Fitness Educator of the Year - Runner up. She is a fitness trainer, fitness columnist for various magazines and newspapers, author of five books and manuals including "Go For Fit - the Winning Way to Fat Loss" and "Fit over Forty" and the featured presenter in various fitness DVDs. She has presented hundreds of workshops to thousands of fitness leaders throughout Canada, Australia, Mexico, Jamaica, New Zealand, Germany, England, Spain, South America, Asia and the U.S. She is the owner of Northwest Personal Training in downtown Vancouver and Salmon Creek, hosts races at WHY Racing Events, participates in various community fundraisers and can be found running, biking, or hiking around the community. Find more information at nwpersonaltraining.com.

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