You’re ready to kick start your fitness journey or just living a healthier lifestyle but don’t know where to start? You know you want to be healthier, but the whole idea seems overwhelming. Or maybe this is your 4th or 5th attempt and nothing seems to work.
THAT’S OKAY, I GET IT!
It requires you to step outside of your comfort zone, which can be very scary and intimidating. If I never stepped outside of my comfort zone, I would have never discovered my love for lifting, running, hiking etc. So I wanted to give some tips that I’ve realized through out my fitness journey.
TIP #1: Set Short Term Goals
Whether you’re a college student, single mom, working full time, have a family to take care of etc it’s important to set short term goals that are realistic to your life style. Find out what you want your long term goal to be and then think of your short term goals.
Maybe your goal is to lose 50 pounds? That’s a great long term goal but set goals that you can reach weekly, so you feel like you’re progressing and you can have that “HECK YES” moment when you lose those 1-2 pounds you were wanting to lose each week.
Another goal you might have is eating healthier because you find yourself eating take out or fast food a lot during the week because it’s easier. Set yourself a goal to not eat out during the week and then you can say “HECK YES, I went the whole week without getting fast food” It’s going to feel so rewarding and you will even start to feel better, I promise.
Maybe you’re already in the fitness world and you eat pretty healthy so one of your goals is to bench 300 pounds but your current weight is 100. Again, great long term goal but set short term or weekly goals that you can meet.
Whatever your goal may be, make sure you are setting short term goals as well. Set yourself a goal that’s going to give you that “heck yes I did it” feeling. From my own personal experience, I have found that meeting those short terms goals will feel extremely rewarding and will give you that drive and motivation to keep going!
TIP #2: Don’t Take on Too Many Changes at Once
Try not to get in the mind set of “okay, I need to cut out sweets because those are bad for me, I need to get to the gym at least 5 times this week, I need to meal prep all my food, I need to…..” If you normally don’t do any of these things, it’s going to be so overwhelming. I mean come on, every day life can be overwhelming by itself, no need to add more stress to your life! These changes are not going to stick if it is too overwhelming or does not fit your lifestyle.
Change is difficult, it’s not easy and it takes a lot of work. My advise is baby steps! If you’re someone that is starting from the very beginning with not a whole lot of knowledge about fitness or eating healthy, then take it slow, and make sure that these changes are realistic to your lifestyle. If I make changes that don’t necessarily work with my lifestyle, then it’s not going to stick as a long term change.
Think about what you really want to change first. Maybe you don’t eat healthy at all? Maybe you already eat healthy but you’re finding it hard to get in exercise? Make a change one by one that fits your life style and eventually it’ll all add up.
TIP #3: Meal Prep
Meal prepping = setting yourself up for success!
You are probably wondering why I believe meal prepping is so important? It keeps you on track! It’s super easy to order out or grab fast food when you’re on the go. Meal prepping is also a great money saving technique because you aren’t spending an extra 15 dollars at Starbucks for breakfast and then another 10 dollars for lunch. Plus who doesn’t like money saving options.
HOWEVER, I have to say that meal prepping is not my favorite thing in the world but I find it very important to keep me on track for meeting my goals. One way to meal prep is prepping out every single meal you’re going to eat during the week, which is what most people think of when someone says “meal prepping”. That’s only one way to meal prep and can be very efficient but I find that I don’t have the energy/time to do meal prepping that way. However if can by very efficient when first starting off and keeping you on track, but it’s completely up to you and what works best for you.
Typically what I do for meal prep is on Sundays, I will cook all my meat for the week, cook up some rice, pasta, veggies etc. and then pack it all into containers. Since I have all my food cooked for the week, the night before work, I can prep out what I want for the next day (breakfast, lunch, snacks). For me and my lifestyle I find the night before is key, because who has time to do all that in the morning! I don’t always prep dinner because I usually like to make something after work, but is something you can definitely do.
Support from friends and family could actually be what helps you the most. Don’t keep your goals a secret because surprisingly you’ll find that the support from these people will motivate you to keep going and help you stay on track.
I use to keep my weight loss journey a secret, so when I went to family gatherings or friend’s houses I would think “no one knows I’m trying to eat healthier so I’m just going to stuff my face with whatever and get back on track tomorrow” You’ll actually be surprised, because when people know you have goals they’ll support you and make sure there are things for you to eat as well.
When I realized I couldn’t have gluten or dairy anymore, my family started making GF and DF appetizers for Sunday football games which is awesome and the support I needed to stay on track. This life style is new to me and can be very frustrating because I want to eat all the food that I use to be able to eat even though I know it’s going to make me feel like crap. It’s very difficult to have will power when you go to a gathering with all the foods you know will not help you reach your goals. I know I would pick the cupcakes, chips and brownies over the vegetables sitting on the counter. It’s not easy and that’s okay, it’s something that takes time to work at. BUT you also want to remember that living a healthy lifestyle is about balance, you might not need all 5 cupcakes but it’s okay to have one… it’s about balance.
Maybe you work at a place that orders out all the time. If they know you have goals and you’re trying to do better, they’re not going to ask you “do you want me to order you pizza as well?” Because honestly who would turn down pizza?!
What it all comes down to is… be OPEN about your goals and what you want because it will benefit you and most people will support you and your goals. If you find that people are putting you down or giving you a hard time for wanting to live a healthier lifestyle, screw them! Do what makes you happy.
TIP#5: Be Kind to Yourself
When you start your fitness, weight loss or healthy living journey, you’re not going to start off feeling 100%. You are probably feeling a little down on yourself… thinking “how did it get this bad?” or the foods you consume just don’t make you feel good.
Remember, everyone has to start somewhere! Stay positive.
You have already realized that you need to make a change and it’s going to get better from here. As you start your journey, focus on the positives rather than the negatives because it’s going to push you to keep going. You are also going to have good days and bad days. Don’t let those bad days discourage you and trust me, this is something that I still work on!
Right now I’m training for my first marathon and the other Sunday I had to complete my long run. It was not a feel good, empowering run… I couldn’t wait for it to be done, I felt like I was running as fast as a sloth thinking I suck. I then realized “HELLO! You got your miles in that you needed and you should be proud to have run that distance, you didn’t give up and pushed through”.
Remember how far you’ve come and don’t be so hard on yourself.