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I’m not going to write our first post pretending fitness, wellness, or good nutrition is easy. I’d be lying! You might look at me and think, “Well, obviously working out and diet comes easy for her”. You’d be truly mistaken. My journey has been a long, and sometimes, daunting one (more to come in future blogs). I was typically an “all or nothing” person. I starved and binged and purged myself into what became a serious eating disorder. I over-trained, over-ran, over did just about everything to the point of many aches and pains that I suffer from today. Commonly known as overuse injury. I used to think that “fitness” was looking toned and tight in a bikini. And, I was a comparer. Yup, I compared myself to everyone never taking into account that we all are made up of our own unique genetic make-up. Why couldn’t I look like my beautiful friend who was 3 ½ inches shorter than me with a petite build? Why can she eat 4 slices of pizza and not gain an ounce and I gain 5 pounds just looking at it? It took me years and I mean years to make healthy choices and changes both in fitness and my overall well-being. Here are some tips I used to stop the vicious cycle of self-destruction to a life of health and fitness.
1. Stop the madness! Take inventory of all you’re trying to accomplish and the amount of time you are trying to accomplish it. If your goal is to lose 15 pounds and you have decided to start running 5 miles a day and limit your calorie intake from 2100 to 1200 all at once. And, you want to see results in 2 weeks. That’s madness!
2. Old cliché, but, “one step at a time”. If you don’t, you’re going to suffer from burnout if you don’t hurt yourself beforehand. This results in quitting all together. We are such a “quick fix” nation. As with good things in life, we must earn them and typically, they take time. Fitness and wellness are no different. We earn both by hard work, dedication and determination.
3. Start being honest with yourself. It’s so important that you listen to your own needs and desires rather than others. If you hate to run, don’t start running to lose weight. Find what interests you. Do you love to dance? Try Zumba or UJAM. These are both ways to get fitness in without even realizing it. Always wanted to try yoga but think it’s not really a workout? Not true, my friend. You can burn from 200-600 calories in a yoga class. It’s not only great for flexibility, but also for toning! There are so many choices out there, find one that fits you, not other people.
4. Join a gym because you plan on using it. A membership alone won’t get you healthy! Start with committing to 1 or 2 days at first. What’s that? You’re intimidated? Most every gym offers some type of training with a membership. Take advantage of it! Before you know it, you’ll be coming in with your head held high, working out like a pro!
5. This has been referenced before, however, I couldn’t agree more. Don’t think of it as having to diet and exercise, think of it as investing in your health and well-being. You get one shot, one body. If you aren’t your best self, you will find it extremely challenging to be your best at work, at home, in life! It really doesn’t take a lot of your time. I recently posted a quote, “A 1-hour workout is 4% of your day”. That’s a measly 4% out of 100%. It’s recommended that you spend at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise a day. That breaks it down even less. Now we’re talking a ½ hour, and only 5 days a week! Seek that ½ hour and ye shall find!
6. Plan your meals. Every Sunday (sometimes Saturday) I am searching for the next weeks’ worth of recipes. I type in Google key words like “healthy”, “low fat”, “quick and easy”. That’s how I create my grocery list. I also belong to different blogs that send weekly recipe ideas. When you do this, you spend less money, you’ll find you eat out less, and best of all, you’re eating healthier and feeling better. I won’t pretend it doesn’t take time, it does. Sometimes I get mental blocks on what sounds good for the week resulting in spending extra time making my list. However, once I’m done shopping, I don’t see the store for another week giving me that time to spend on other, more important things for the week.
7. Don’t suffer alone. Sometimes no matter how much information we get and how much we already know, we stumble on some serious roadblocks. Don’t plow through them alone, find a group to join with similar roadblocks, for example, a weight management group, a beginners group fitness class. If you can afford it and prefer individual attention, find a personal trainer who has your best interests in mind or a health and wellness coach to help you identify the roadblocks and overcome them. No one said changing habits and getting healthy was easy, utilize the resources around you.
8. Always remember, you’re in charge and you have the answers. When I was going through my WellCoaches training, we learned the client has the answers. How? You might ask. There is a plethora of information out there and people tend to get information overload. I understand that. One article says, only protein and healthy fats, one says you need whole grains. One might say, HIIT is the best workout while another tells you to do cardio first and weights next, etc. It’s overwhelming and often times confusing. However, we know what is good for us and what isn’t, we know how our body feels after a workout and how it feels after sitting all day. We understand that a pint of ice cream is not a better choice than a crispy green salad. So, what makes us make the unhealthy decisions? Many of things, exhaustion, stress, anxiety, depression, the list goes on. An expert can educate you, heck, they can even tell you what to do, but only you, yes you, can make the ultimate decision to change.