So, you decided to quit all your bad habits and start living healthier? Well, you first said that back in January and now that we’ve made it to July, those weights will not lift themselves and that diet will not start itself! Added inches and further frustration are all that procrastination will have to show for itself. Trust me – unfortunately, I am quite familiar with these types of consequences. I’m not saying you need to flip the switch and automatically turn into that health-freak who floods our timelines with gym posts and bland food, but taking steps to become more health conscious will make a world of a difference! You’d be surprised at how much happier you are with life once you start to prioritize the things that actually matter. Here are a few things to keep in mind when starting your new lifestyle!
1) Make a schedule
It may be difficult to follow in the first few days and/or weeks but, making a schedule for the time you should be working out makes getting the jump start to a healthier lifestyle so much easier. As someone who feels guilty when I don’t follow my set schedule, having an allotted time for your workout puts the pressure on for you to get it done so that you can carry on with your life. When you make it a priority to set out time for your workout, it will actually happen. I find it easiest to start the day with a walk or jog, but everyone is different so whatever works for you just make sure you do it! No excuses!
2) Fruits, Veggies, and Baby Steps
You don’t have to give up carbs completely, but being mindful of what you are eating is crucial. Try cutting down on the carbs and sugary foods and adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet. Having a balanced diet will do more than just trim inches off your waistline – you will also feel so much better! Going cold turkey on your favorite meals is also not the answer. Start off slow and modify your favorite recipes with healthier substitutes. An example would be to substitute the french fries that come with your burger for a salad of mixed greens and tons of veggies instead. Making small changes over time is a lot more effective than trying to give up all bread overnight – not gonna happen!
3) Eat fresh as much as possible
Yes, processed foods are all around us and quite frankly they make life easier. Those pre-flavored package products and fast food joints turn a meal that would have taken 45 minutes to prepare, to only about 2 minutes and the rest is history! Do yourself a favor and take your health a little more seriously than meal prep-time. Steer clear of processed foods and eat fresh as often as you possibly can!
4) Get more sleep
Our parents have been telling us this for a long as we can remember and I hate to say it but, they were right! One of the most important aspects of living a healthier is to get your rest! It keeps you vibrant and alert. Not to mention, it makes waking up for that morning jog a little bit easier when you’ve actually gotten some sleep. Make it easier on yourself and give yourself a bedtime to follow and put your phone on “Do Not Disturb”, so that you are the only one responsible when you don’t get enough shut-eye.
5) Don’t be afraid of the weights
When working out, a lot of people think hours of cardio is their only solution. Wrong. You don’t have to become a bodybuilder; however, adding some weight lifting to your workout never hurt anyone. And ladies, just because you lift weight does not mean your muscles will start bulging like the Terminator. When you lift, you get stronger, not necessarily bigger. Lifting weights burns off the fat sitting on top of your muscles revealing the beautifully toned figure you desire. So please, don’t believe the hype when someone tries to discourage lifting, they clearly have no idea what they are doing and probably have no business in the gym by themselves.
6) Pack healthy snacks
It’s 3pm and you’ve already eaten lunch but your getting a little hungry and need a snack to get you through until dinner. It happens to all of us and the more active you are, the quicker your metabolism will work, making the time between meals feel a lot longer. Healthy snacks will be your best option. Fruits, nuts and veggies are always easy to keep on-hand for a quick bite and they won’t give you that awful sugar rush that is usually followed by a terrible crash.
7) Drink more water
I can’t stress this enough – hydrate, hydrate, and hydrate! You will be increasing your physical activity; therefore, you will need to replenish your system. Also, water helps to flush our systems of toxins so its helpful to always keep a water bottle on-hand. Remaining hydrated throughout the day helps you to avoid tiredness, low energy and those God-forsaken headaches! Make drinking water a priority and think of it as another food group in your balanced diet.
8) Stop eating after 9pm
Make it your business to stop the late night eating. I know it is hard, but there comes a time in everyone’s life when we must put a stop to bad habits. Give your food some time to digest before you call it a night and make sure all meals and snacks are consumed before 9:00pm. Don’t slack with this one either!
9) Revive your workout attire
We all like to look good, even while we sweat! Reviving your workout closet only makes it that much easier to get out there because you will be excited about your gear! I’m not saying go out and break the bank on sweatpants, but a little motivation to get you out the door and running is always helpful!
10) Switch up your workout
If you feel yourself getting bored with your regular workout routine, switch it up! In order to keep your healthy lifestyle consistent you have to maintain the excitement levels. Switching up your routine not only makes it easier, but its also good to work different parts of your body in different ways. Maybe instead of your normal cardio, you will sign up for that Zumba class!
11) Journal it out
This may not work out for everyone, but I have found that writing helps to relieve stress and tension. It also keeps your sub-tweets about your ex to a bare minimum. You don’t have to journal every day, but having a journal as an expressive outlet is extremely therapeutic and it will help you document your setbacks, goals and improvements. No-one else has to read it – just you and your thoughts.
12) Cut down on alcohol intake
This is the most difficult part of beginning a healthier lifestyle but its super necessary. Once again, going cold-turkey on the Nectar of the God’s is unrealistic and completely ridiculous so I’m not advising that, at all. However, cutting down your alcohol intake to maybe just the weekends will help a lot in the “look good, feel good” agenda. When in doubt, always refer to #7 and drink more water!
13) Invite friends to join!
What’s the fun of living right when there is no-one there to help enjoy it? Inviting friends to join the health conscious challenge makes it so much easier because it will get difficult and you will need support. It is always reassuring to know that you are not alone and that your friends will be there for the long [healthy] ride!
For a more tips on healthy living, visit: http://personalexcellence.co/blog/healthy-living/