I am a sucker for a good before and after photo. Be it myself, my client’s, a friend’s, or a random strangers. Even for a friend and a stranger who are not a client of mine, I know the hard work and the dedication it takes to get those results. It makes me all warm and fuzzy on the inside to see people succeed like that.
It’s these before and after photos that I use to remind myself of the steps it takes to get there. They are bookmarks in my mind that help me not forget where I came, and remind me of what I did to achieve those goals.
Some of my clients and friends have asked what’s my secret to doing what I did to change myself physically. And short of sounding like an ass and say “dedication and sacrifice” which makes me sound rude, insensitive, and a bit crazy for overhauling my life in a drastic way. And a lot of people don’t want to do that, because they may fail at it and they don’t want to fail; or they have urges that they don’t want to change; or they have habits that are bad habits that they don’t see as bad habits.
So in taking the time to think it out and go over what I have told clients in the past, here are my 3 Steps to Get Started on a Healthier Lifestyle.
To be clear, this is a starter method to getting acclimated in the journey you’re about to undertake. But it is always good to jump back at this for a refresher, or to go over when you relapsed from diving head first into a healthy lifestyle.
STEP ONE: START SIMPLE
So this is a general rule instead of a step. But it is the first thing that you need to do. Keep your goals of what you want to achieve for yourself simple.
A lot of people start of strong with a new healthier lifestyle. And that can be from going to the gym daily and dieting. Doing things they’ve done in the past, which got them results short term but for some reason or another they got side tracked. They let life get in the way, sickness comes up, and they either fail to those beginning habits back up or jump into again.
THere have been a number of times where i got into fitness and relapsed into my old habits because of life, or injury. And I always tried pushing right back into it when i left off. Which has either made my failure then even harder to take, or led myself to injuring myself, which made the recovery period that much more unbearable.
Specifically, after a toxic relationship, I ended up exercising again, but through myself into what I used to do before that relationship, and ended up hurting my back. I was lucky I didn’t injury myself for good, but it reminded me that my body was not what it was , and that I need to start slow and simple. So what did I do, I went the low impact route and began biking. I made biking a daily routine. I biked to and from work, to the grocery store, to friends house. But I soon became that friend who was always sweaty. So yes, I started simple and took it into excess. But I still started simple, and made that change.
Remember to start simple, start slow, and ease your body into this transition.
STEP TWO: MOVE
I touched on this in Step One, and you get the idea. Chose an activity that is fun to do, make it a daily thing.
Do not just go head strong into a 5 or six day a week workout plan, because your body may not be able to handle it. Start with 2 or three days a week.
This step is your own choice of where you want to start moving. I chose biking, because I kind of had to, others have chosen workouts, and some have chosen to walk more.
Start moving your body on a daily basis. This goes especially to those who wit at desks all day long.
Either Move and be active Before work, during a break at work, or after work.
If you’re able to move throughout the day in small bursts, that is awesome.
And if you’re already moving.
Keep Going, add to it, change it up.
If you’re in a workout and the workout isn’t working, change it up.
Moving beyond biking as a form of movement for myself, I began to run and strength train. The daily cardio of biking was intensive yes, but I needed more. Running was just an extra way for me to strengthen my legs as well as keep my heart rate going. While the strength training added to my muscle density and overall strength.
Find a simple physical activity, and do it daily.
STEP THREE: EAT CLEAN
This may be the hardest of the things for a lot of people to do because I know it was for me. In our society, we are so programmed to eat certain ways because it’s convinient. We get fast food when we’re running late to work, we get over priced coffee because we don’t like the taste of normal house made coffee, we buy lunch from “healthy-ish” places, and come to dinner we get take out because we’re too tired after work, or don’t want to deal with cleaning dishes or cooking in general.
It’s this habit that is A) a gut expander. B) A money eater. And C) overall unhealthy.
With the negative out of the way, the good things about eating clean is because you know what is going into your stomach. Sure you have the nutrition facts for these take out places, but you truly don’t know what you’re eating.
By eating clean, I don’t mean going strictly organic and non-pesticide vegetables and free range chickens and beef products. When I say clean eating, I mean preparing your own means and your own foods, knowing what you are eating. By knowing what we are eating, we know more of our bodies, because we begin to feel in tune with our own selves and listen to our body more..
So as always start simple. If you’re addicted to sugary sweets, don’t cut all out completely, cut back on the days you have them. If you want to eat healthier add vegetables to a single meal daily before you jump into veggies every meal. Don’t cut carbs and grains completely, just limit the amount.
I actually had a very easy and resolute choice for myself to give up certain foods. It was a matter of food sensitivities and intolerances. My body could not handle certain grains and could not handle coffee. So I cut them out cold turkey. Doing so made me cranky, to say the least, which cutting back slowly eases that crankiness. But for my own health reasons, I had to cut them out completely. Or it would mean very uncomfortable bodily reactions.
That cold turkey I did, I do not take for granted because I know a lot of other people who have cut out certain items on the spot and failed drastically.
One year for Lent, I gave up meat and had to eat ovo lacto-vegetarian for that season, meaning I can eat dairy and egg products, just not the meat of an animal. And I did have the willpower to last the whole Lent season, but once I got off of it, I fell hard for eating meats, and through my body for a loop dietary wise.
Try to cook and prepare your meals as much as possible.
There You have it. My three simple tips for starting off to living a healthier lifestyle. I know that some of these may be daunting from the get go. But I believe in anyone who is starting out their journey, and I know that keeping these simple facts true and building upon them will bring you success.
If you have any questions or would like to learn or or even have a consultation in person, please reach out to me.