JUST STAND UP! Ok, I just heard you roll your eyes but stay with me here!! The good news is losing weight and getting healthy isn’t all that complicated. You really just need to burn more calories than you are taking in and make sure that you are taking in calories that nourish your body and help it to thrive. The not so good news, you have to do this like a lot. Not just once a year around January 1st. Not for a few weeks before your beach vacation rolls around. Not when the latest fad diet comes out and you go all in for like a month. Your results will depend on what you do the majority of the time, day in and day out, consistently. Period. End of story. This goes for both working out and eating healthy.
But before we can become consistent with either of those two things we just have to start. And to stand up and take that first step I really recommend you have a solid reason to do so or a “why”. My “why” was I found myself ten pounds heavier than I had been ever in my life about two years ago. I was uncomfortable in my own skin. I was chronically sick with sinus infections, colds, flus, you name it. I was missing work. I was eating like crap, hardly ever working out and I think most debilitating of all was my anxiety was through the roof. I went from having maybe a few panic attacks a year to having a few every single week!! My “why” started out with just wanting to lose the weight but it very quickly morphed into wanting to be as strong and healthy physically and mentally as possible.
So why is the “why” so important? Because without it the motivation to stick to our guns and go after our goals when the struggle gets really real isn’t there. As much as I have grown to love working out and eating right, I still struggle on some days to find the motivation to do so. Sometimes I would much rather sit on the couch and binge on Friends reruns than pick up those weights and press play. And for sure there are a lot of days I would much rather eat that extra-large sundae with all the toppings instead of my small cup of plain fro-yo. On days when my motivation is pretty low I always think back to my “why”. I think about the person I was two years ago. How crappy I felt all the time. How out of control of my own life I felt. How I wasn’t happy with myself at all. It really was a dark period in my life and these days when working out and/or eating right is the last thing I want to do all I have to do is think back to how I felt two years ago and my butt gets right off the couch and in motion because I don’t ever want to be that person again!
No matter what your “why” is once you have found it the first step to achieving your goals is simply to just stand up. Decide. Commit. Don’t look back! If you are at home, get up off the couch and move around for 30 minutes. Take a walk, clean your room, bust out some crunches while you are watching you favorite TV show. If you are at work, same thing. Take a 30-minute walk at lunch time. Get up and stretch every hour. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Just start moving! Being active for even just 30 minutes a day can do wonders for your health! For instance, 30 minutes of heart-rate raising activity can:
- Reduce blood pressure
- Help shed some pounds
- Ease stress and anxiety
- Improve cardiovascular health
- Improves sleep quality
- Boost your immune system
Just to name a few benefits! So what are some other ways to get off to a good start when you have made that all important decision to get healthy? Well a few ways I recommend are:
- Get a baseline physical: It is important to get clearance from your doctor before you really dive into an exercise program just to make sure everything is in good working order. You want to make sure you are healthy enough to start putting extra stress on your body for one and your doctor may even be able to guide you in terms of what exercise might be right to meet your fitness/health goals. I also recommend getting your labs done to make sure you are hitting the mark nutritionally and getting all the vitamins and minerals you need through your current diet. For example, in my case my last physical showed my cholesterol was borderline high so I have made some efforts to change my diet in order to naturally lower it. Fingers crossed it works!
- Focus on whole foods: The basic idea behind eating more “whole foods” is that you are eating more natural foods instead of pre-packaged, processed foods. Examples of whole foods include fruits, veggies, nuts, fish, poultry and eggs. Examples of not-so-healthy foods to stay away from are chips, cookies, snack mixes, white breads, basically anything that comes in a convenient, ready-to-eat package. Usually processed foods are very nutrient poor, have a lot of added salt and/or sugar and just often contain artificial ingredients that aren’t doing our bodies any good. On the flip side, whole or non-processed foods are usually full of nutrients, are heart-healthy and can even reduce the risk of some diseases. Start by switching out a few of those pre-packaged snack foods you keep around for when that afternoon craving hits for better choices like apples and peanut butter or carrots and hummus.
- Up that water intake: I am such a huge proponent of drinking enough water you guys! I even wrote a whole separate post (Drink up! H20 that is!) on it if you want more details but in the meantime making a conscious effort to up your water intake is a great way to start getting healthy. Water does so many important things for our bodies including improving brain function, upping energy levels and even boosting our immune system. Plus, a tall glass of water before meals can fill us up a bit so we don’t eat quite as much. Start by replacing a sugary soft-drink, iced tea or fruit juice with a glass of water once or twice a day. Also, I find it helpful to keep track of how many glasses I have had a day to make sure I am hitting the mark Trust me, the more water you drink the healthier you will feel and be!!
- Find what works for you: Find something that appeals to you when you are just starting out, whether it be a quick walk around your neighborhood, a short hike at the local park, a Pilates or yoga class or maybe go swim a few laps at your local pool. Choosing something that you enjoy doing will only increase the likelihood of you sticking with it and in turn hitting your goals. Physical activity in just about any form has so many benefits and there is no reason you can’t make it fun as well! I also personally believe that mixing up your workouts and trying new ways of being active goes a long way in helping you stick to your goals. One of the reasons I think I have been successful thus far in my own journey is that I found a program that includes over 700+ different workouts that I can do from just about anywhere. I am never bored and can find a workout to fit whatever mood I am in that day. As they say, the only bad workout is one that you didn’t do!
So find your “why”, stand your newly determined butt up and take that first step towards a more active, healthy future! Make small changes in the beginning that will ultimately become the foundation for your new lifestyle moving forward. Don’t beat yourself up over setbacks. Remember to celebrate your successes and on those especially challenging days where you can’t find your motivation anywhere, think back to your “why” and remember why you started in the first place. You’ve got this and if ever you need that extra kick in the butt you know where to find me!!
Also guys if you want to take a minute and check out my poll below…I would love to get your feedback on what you would like to see more of on this site! Your opinion is so important to me and I want to make sure I am putting stuff up that you find helpful!!
Thanks so much and happy Monday y’all…let’s make this a great week!!