Well, here we are. Smack in the thick of “This is the year. This is the year I get my health in order, look my best and feel more amazing than ever before!” season. Am I right? Super! That’s step one. Find the fire to get things off to a running start (fitness pun), check! What follows is where things get hairy.
What will you do different to insure that 2015 truly is YOUR year? Because I know it absolutely can be! How do you plan to honor your commitment to your health? Coming up with a solid plan is a fantastic place to start, but what is the trick to staying motivated once the New Year adrenaline begins to fade? Here are a few things that really help me. Hopefully you’ll find these tips helpful as well.
1. Make it known. Write down your goals. Tell your friends. Say them out loud as often as possible. Spread the word. Post about it on social media. Recruit others to keep you accountable. Surround yourself with people who have similar goals and values. Don’t let the naysayers derail your focus. The more you talk about it, the easier it is to make it your reality. Our minds are very powerful, so positive thoughts, words and actions are crucial for success. “This is the beginning of the healthiest, happiest version of me. I got this.”
2. Take it one step at a time. Decide each week that you will cut out one bad thing or add one healthy thing to your life. “This week I will stop drinking sodas. Next week I will continue not to drink sodas and also workout five days for at least 30 minutes. The week after I will have cut out sodas and will be exercising five days a week, then I will begin to eliminate processed cereal for breakfast. Instead I will make a healthy egg and veggie frittata.” And so on. Before you know it, many little things add up to one BIG change! Make the weekly goals specific and achievable. Doing this will help you to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
3. Strive to achieve balance. Going cold turkey, full-on health junkie is great in theory, but rarely successful in reality. You must be able to imagine maintaining the changes you make FOREVER. Fad diets that cut out entire food groups or macronutrients are not realistic, are NO FUN and many times unhealthy! Allow yourself to have the things that you enjoy most, without going overboard. When you place something that you really enjoy off limits, it only makes you want it that much more. Which can lead to overdoing it and taking ten steps backward. If you are on point with your health and fitness 80% of the time, you can have that wine on girls night, you can share a pizza with your date, you can afford to have a less than amazing workout here and there. Goodness knows I do all those things! But you can’t expect to indulge on a daily basis and see the results you desire. Painful but true, my friends! Finding your balance is critical.
4. Be consistent. It is not what you do once, or for a week, or for a whole month even. It’s what you do ALWAYS that matters. You must make your health a PRIORITY and make it a LIFESTYLE. Just like paying the mortgage, taking care of your children, getting oil changes for your car regularly, maintaining a HEALTHY BODY is our basic RESPONSIBILITY.
The longer you eat healthy, real food and exercise regularly, the more you realize that that is what your body is meant to do. Treat your body well and it will reward you. Get through the time period it takes to form these new healthy habits, and I promise you will start to notice just how wonderful you should be feeling. You have energy during the day, and get restful sleep at night. You feel satisfied and nourished after a tasty meal made up of whole foods, as opposed to craving the same “junk” food over and over. Be patient and be consistent, and these things will happen.
5. Keep it simple! Somehow we have been duped into thinking being healthy is a complicated process. That we have to sign up for a 30-Day meal delivery service, or commit to some celebrity-endorsed program that costs us a year’s salary, or torture ourselves by eating 250 calorie frozen meals that taste like a shoe!
I have excellent news for you, this is WRONG! Eat REAL, WHOLE foods. Not processed, fake non-food that comes in a box. These pre-packaged foods are loaded with chemicals, processed sugars and all sorts of toxic things that our bodies have no idea how to use. Think less lean cuisine, boxes of kelloggs and fat-free potato chips. AKA non-foods that trick us into thinking we are doing ourselves some kind of favor. Read the ingredient list and try to tell me what the heck those things are composed of. Your food should have familiar, actual, limited ingredients. Think sweet potatoes, apples, bananas, beef, chicken, fish, brown rice, cashews, asparagus. It’s not complicated, I promise. Buy it fresh, cook it yourself. Well-seasoned, fresh ingredients taste AMAZING! Sooooo much better than what big companies try to push as “diet” food (ugh!). You don’t have to eat LESS, you just have to EAT RIGHT! :)
Guess what?! Fitness is simple, too. You just gotta get moving. Ride a bike, go on a jog, take the dog on a brisk walk, join a gym, hire a trainer, get a workout partner, sign up for Pilates or yoga, begin a weight lifting program. WHATEVER. Fancy gyms and lots of equipment are lovely, but certainly not necessary. Just get moving.
6. Silence the excuses. People don’t have time, people make time. Not everyone has unlimited financial resources to hire and purchase the best of the best to escort them along their fitness journey. But you don’t need to! (See above😉 ) People are tired, hungry, sick, have kids, had a bad day, got in a fight with their spouse, had to work late, gotta mow the grass. Yadda yadda! You have to be stronger than the little jerk in your head telling you all the reasons it’s okay to skip your workout or pop a frozen pizza in the oven for dinner again. Don’t let excuses get the best of you. There is always a way to achieve the goals that are most important to you. And what could be more important than your health and well-being?
You can do it. This is your year.
**Disclaimer: I am not a dietitian or nutritionist (nor am I a professional chef). I am a Certified Personal Trainer with a major love for all things fitness and health related. Posts on the blog are a result of my personal experiences, opinions and research. I hope you enjoy accompanying me along my path to living my healthiest and being my happiest!