So you want to get healthy. You’re motivated AF and ready to get the ball rolling for your New Years Resolutions early but you have NO IDEA where to start. Creating a healthy lifestyle seems simple enough on paper; it’s just eating well and exercising… right? Yes… to a certain extent, but where do you start if you’ve never participated in a fitness or healthy eating regime?
It’s scary and daunting, and maybe you’ve been down this road before and the thought of starting again and not knowing what you’re doing is terrifying to you. I’ve been there. Although exercise has been a huge part of my life now for a solid 8-10 years, it actually wasn’t until second year of University that I stepped foot into a “commercial” gym. I’d been wrestling, running, and lifting weights in my garage until that point because I was TERRIFIED of being in a gym environment, surrounded by other people.
Creating a healthy lifestyle is not as horrific as it may seem. I think a big misconception people have about becoming “healthy” is that you have to stop doing and eating the things that you love and enjoy the most. This is NOT TRUE!!! Health is not just in how fast you can run, how much weight you can lift, and how many veggies you can eat in a day. It’s about balance, and creating a healthy mindset, too.
4 years ago if you would have asked me if I thought I was healthy I would have said yes. Ask me now if I was healthy 4 years ago and I would say absolutely not. Although physically I may have been, mentally I was not. The reason I am telling you this is because throughout all of this healthy lifestyle making, you should put creating/maintaining good mental health at the top of that list. After that, things will come easier.
Now, before I go off on any more of a tangent, here are my 10 tips on easing into a healthy lifestyle:
Adding exercise to your routine doesn’t necessarily mean launching yourself into the weight section of the gym right away. Try adding in a 20-30 minute walk in before or after work; you can even break it up and do 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes after dinner if that makes it more manageable. reduce the cans of pop you drink every day from 3 to 1. Try switching cream for milk in your coffee, brown bread instead of white bread. Over time you can slowly start to eliminate, reduce, or substitute more items from your diet for healthier options.
Choose to be active
Park further away from your destination. Choose to take the stairs instead of the elevator. These are small tweaks to your routine but they all add up.
Make your health a priority
If you only exercise when you have the time, you will never exercise. Everyone has the same 24 hours in the day, and successful exercisers make time within those hours to exercise. Schedule exercise into your week like you would an appointment.
Find a workout buddy
It is so much easier to exercise when you have someone doing it with you. Grab a friend or your significant other to workout with – that way you have someone to motivate you, and keep you accountable for your workouts.
Drink more water
Start your day with a glass of water to wake your digestive system up and start your day off hydrated. Most people can’t tell the difference between being hungry or thirsty, so before you reach for that bag of chips, try having a glass of water first and see if you’re still hankering for some food in 30 minutes.
Prepare your food in advance
Busy day ahead? Pack your lunch the night before, along with healthy snacks (like fruit, yogurt, hard boiled eggs) to keep you satiated throughout the day. That way you avoid having to grab something from the closest fast food chain, plus you’ll be helping your wallet out too!
Pick the plan that’s right for you
Being “fit” looks different on everyone, so choose the type of plan and exercise that you enjoy the most.
Listen to your body
Many people that are new to fitness tend to jump straight in at the deep end, and then end up quitting soon after as their bodies are having a hard time recovering. Start off doing 3 days a week of 30 minutes of light exercise, whatever that may be. Slowly build up from there to longer workouts, more times a week.
Balance is key
Don’t restrict yourself completely from the things you crave. The 80/20 rule is a good one to follow. If you happen to be craving some cookies, let yourself have a couple. By allowing yourself to have a small amount of foods you enjoy each day, it’ll lessen the chance of having one really bad day which will stunt your progress. Same goes for exercise; you NEED rest. And you NEED time with your family and friends. Remember what I said about mental health?
Healthy doesn’t have to be boring or unappetizing
Many meals can be made to taste better with some herbs and a little seasoning. Experiment in the kitchen until you find a mix that works for you. And, I don’t believe you if you tell me there isn’t a single vegetable that you don’t like, so save that excuse.
My Stuffed Butternut Squash is a great example of healthy AND tasty!
Ok, now I have equipped you with the tools to get started, now go and read my blog post on staying motivated to help keep you on quest to getting healthy!
Until next time