We are now well into January, and like many people I am really struggling to stick to my “healthy” New Years resolutions. Putting my mental health above everything else, I first resolved to think with my head and not my heart this year, and while that has proven to be tougher than anything, it has already paid off tremendously. My secondary resolutions are far more common-to stick to my goals and get my body in a shape I can finally be proud of this summer. In my lifelong quest for a smoking hot bikini bod (or just being healthier in general) I have discovered some things that can certainly make the process a little less painful, especially when the motivation starts to fade.
First and foremost, there are 2 very important things you must learn and accept about conquering fitness and nutrition goals:
1) Diet is 80-85% of the battle. When someone says you can’t out-train a crappy diet, they are absolutely right. So if you’re struggling with motivation to hit the gym or if you’re someone who is intimidated because you’ve never worked out and you’re scared of looking stupid, you no longer have an excuse. Exercise is wonderful for your overall health and I highly encourage it, but realistically you will see ZERO results from your hard work if you don’t have a handle on your eating habits.
2) Consistency is key. Studies have shown it takes 21 days to create a habit and 90 days for that habit to become a change of lifestyle. Sure there will be setbacks, but as long as you get back up and on track, you WILL make progress. For me, getting in a routine is the key to success. When you’re able to make meal planning and exercise just another part of your day-to-day activities, missing a workout or failing to prep food will begin to feel as strange as not brushing your teeth before bed.
Beyond those two factors, there are lots of tips and tools to help along the way. It is so beneficial to establish goals on pen and paper in the beginning. Evaluate your current status with weight, BMI and body fat percentage. Set your overall goals with a timeline. Calculate your macros and caloric intake and set an initial weekly workout routine that will enable you to reach these goals. Even take progress pictures! There is nothing more inspiring or motivating than being able to tangibly see the results of all your hard work. Apps like MyFitnessPal are a wonderful tool to utilize and can perform most of these functions for you. Buy a food scale and start weighing out your portions. Set 2 designated days each week where you grocery shop and meal prep and limit your restaurant/fast food intake to 1-2 cheat meals each week. Not only will you slash calories, but you will save TONS of money! I suggest every time you are struggling with temptation, put away the money you would have spent at a restaurant in a jar and when you’ve hit a milestone, treat yourself to something really nice.
Most important, make sure you are setting constant small, realistic goals for yourself. Everyone wants instant gratification, to reach their goals as quickly as possible. But just like no one wakes up one day overweight or out of shape, you cannot expect to transform your body into a powerhouse overnight. There is no magic pill, no 2 week crash diet that will provide you with immediate, lasting results. If you’ve never worked out, don’t plan on going straight into the gym and start deadlifting with the best of them. Instead, set a goal of walking 10,000 steps each day. Once you have easily mastered that, then take it to the next level. If you’re a person who doesn’t have a lot of experience cooking, don’t expect to start banging out intricate, multi-ingredient dishes right off the bat. Start slowly, perhaps teaching yourself how to properly prepare fish without over-cooking and move forward from there. Don’t get discouraged by getting started. Everyone had to start somewhere, even the most fit, beautiful people in the world.
I want everyone to join me in making 2019 the healthiest year yet-physically, mentally and spiritually. I get so frustrated and saddened seeing people around me slowly killing themselves by how they’re treating their body and mind. According to the CDC, the percentage of American adults 20+ suffering from being overweight, including obesity, was 71.6% in 2017. I can only suspect that number has risen since. And while I completely acknowledge depression and anxiety are real mental disorders that sometimes can only be treated with medication, it is proven that exercise releases endorphins which trigger a positive feeling in the mind and reduces stress. So it’s always a safe bet to at least give it a try. I hope we all start treating ourselves with the respect and love we deserve, and that includes eliminating the toxic things we’re feeding our mind, body and soul.
*It should be well noted that I am not a medical professional and these are just my opinions. If you are planning an extreme lifestyle change in diet and exercise, it is always best to seek the advisement of your physician