Transforming your lifestyle towards a fit and healthy future! I am in no way a fitness expert, and will be the first to admit to you that I eat treats (dessert is my favorite!), but I do my best to live healthy. Coming from a science background, our bodies truly amaze me. They work hard 24/7 and except for the few times a year that we get sick, do a pretty amazing job!
Growing up as a competitive gymnast meant that I spent hours and hours in the gym working out. However, getting to college was a lifestyle change within itself and working out 25+ hours a week was no longer a thing. I worked out here and there and ate what I liked, which luckily was mostly healthy. It wasn’t until my junior year of college that I decided to start my own healthy lifestyle change. I began to follow a workout program alongside one of my roommates and I began meal prepping. I started practicing yoga when I began getting daily headaches. Since then I’ve trained for a half marathon, found my favorite recipes, and made being healthy a priority.
Here are some of the things I have learned in the past 2 years that I’m hoping will help you jump start your healthy lifestyle!
Never call it a diet
I have never been a fan of the word diet. I don’t think you need to go on a diet to lose weight and I think for most people, diets will not work in the long run. If you truly want to become healthier, it is a lifestyle change. It is not a quick fix, and it will not happen overnight. Eating healthy is a huge component of a healthy lifestyle, and that is something that you need to learn right now. You cannot out workout a poor diet. However, I do not 100% agree with the saying “abs are made in the kitchen”. I do believe you have to spend some time strengthening your body to build muscle. Eating salads for a week will not make a 6 pack appear. But, substituting out the junk food for a well-balanced meal of protein, carbs and veggies will pay off in the long run.
Verbalize your lifestyle changes
I am a firm believer in sharing your goals with others. The moment you verbalize your goal, it is out in the world and it will feel even more real. It will be hard at first to say no to your nightly dessert, or being the only person to order a salad at dinner, but if your family and friends know the reason why you are focusing on yourself, they will support you. If anyone pressures you into eating a piece of cake or drinking alcohol, they are not the best people to have in your circle.
Don’t change everything at once
Like I said, getting healthy will not happen overnight. There is no reason why you need to start working out at 5 am 6 days a week, when you never workout and wake up at 7 am. Start with simple changes, working out 2 days a week and cooking 1 healthier meal a week. Slowly you’ll get used to that and add in more workouts and healthier meals. It is not a race to the end, as there is no end. This journey continues with you for the rest of your life.
This is where a vision board and/or journal will be helpful. A vision board can be placed anywhere you will see it on a daily basis. On your vision board, place pictures of items that motivate and inspire you. Now, you need to decide what your short and long term goals will be. Do you want to be able to complete 10 push-ups? Run 3 miles without stopping? 5 pull ups? Writing down your goals gives you something concrete to work towards. I love working towards goals and once accomplishing a goal, you motivate yourself to reach for a new goal. In this day of age, social media is a huge platform to become inspired. Fitness Instagram accounts are everywhere. I encourage you to follow a few of them. A really important note is to not get caught up in comparing yourself to others. Yes, I follow a few fitness accounts where I seek motivation, but I caution you to remember that everyone starts somewhere. I also urge you to not “pick” someone and have their body be your “goal” body. I see that happen a lot, and I can promise you, you will never look like someone else. We each have our own unique set of genes that make us different from the person right next to us. For this reason, I ask you to strive towards becoming YOUR best. Find what motivates you, but remember to love yourself first and foremost.
Reward yourself for reaching goals
This is why I love writing down my goals. When I accomplish a goal, I reward myself for all the hard work, determination and dedication I put into getting where I am today. Whether I have an extra dessert, or buy myself some new clothes, I remind myself that I am strong. I love finding reasons to reward myself. I just treated myself to a trip to the Adidas outlet for getting hired and surviving my first overnight shift. I have been searching for a job for 4 months, and completing my first shift was a big deal. If you never reward yourself, this journey will become boring right away.
Change it up
And finally, change it up. Over time, you will get tired of the workout routine you’ve been completing for the past few months (or weeks). Not only will you get bored, your body will get used to the routine and it no longer will be challenging. If you love running, keep running but try a cycle class. Or Zumba. Or go to yoga. Step out of your comfort zone, and find something that ignites you to keep going. I haven’t tried everything, but I want to continue to try new classes and styles of fitness, to find what makes me happy. I encourage you to do the same!
Last but not least, the most important thing you can do is to believe in yourself and remember why you started. I started to become stronger and to create a better balance in my life. What’s your reason?