Starting anything healthy for yourself can seem like a challenge. And not the nice kind, like the running-man challenge. It’s sort of like the lemon challenge and the raw onion challenge mixed together. While entertaining to watch, the process and the aftermath are not so attractive. Whether it’s eating healthy, working out, joining a gym, hiring a personal trainer, meal prepping or even grocery shopping, the beginning stages can feel like a herculean task. With anything new in life the key is to just start! If you have decided to lose weight, start eating less junk or exercise more. Just start, begin to eliminate the junk food one at a time, start by walking more or by cycling, take the stairs at work, spend parts of your lunch break doing some simplified workouts. Beyond starting, beyond pushing yourself to begin this new journey of yours, there is more to be done. The ending of June will mark the sixth month that I have been on my own personal fitness journey. If you haven’t already, please read about my “Life-Saving Fitness Journey” here; it details my humble start to a healthier and longer life. So after you’ve started what comes next? Here are 5 tips that helped me get started on my own fitness journey!
Tip #1: Dress the part! Now I’m sure you’ve heard the saying that relates to dressing for the job you want, or dressing for success. The same can be said for working out and exercising. If you are serious about those workouts, you can apply the same saying to your new lifestyle. When I know that I have a date at the gym, I try my best to dress that way beforehand if I can. For example, I have gotten into the habit of changing into my gym clothes at work before I leave. It not only encourages me to drive to the gym, but it also decreases the time that I spend in the change room. And on those days off, after I have my breakfast and my morning coffee, I make sure that I put my gym clothes on, even if I have to run errands first. While I’m running around, being in my runners or my yoga pants is a constant reminder that I have a date with the gym later.
Tip #2: Create a daily workout schedule. If you are a type A person like I am, schedules and lists are bae! They not only give me a visual reminder, but they keep me on track and build the consistency needed to ensure that I form a good routine. I do this by creating a set of workouts that I plan to do while at the gym. I usually focus on two to three muscle groups per session and rotate them throughout the week.
Tip #3: Get into the habit of making a weekly menu and grocery list. This was harder for me to accomplish in the beginning because I am not a fan of planning my meals. I sometimes get into a funk and have to question myself like, “what if I don’t wanna eat a salad for lunch on Wednesday?” “What if I end up going out for dinner on Sunday?” What if? WHAT if? WHAT IF? The main role that a menu plays is to provide you with options of foods to eat throughout the week that fit within your eating style. It also allows you to save money by not eating out as often. And it puts less stress on you to figure out what you can and cannot eat throughout the week.
Tip #4: Invest in at-home workout equipment. This can range anywhere from a jump rope to a treadmill. Even a yoga mat as a start will be beneficial. There will be times when your day is just too long and you LITERALLY CANNOT! I have those days way more often than I would like, but they happen and that’s okay. Spending 30 minutes jumping rope, doing aerobics, using an elliptical or treadmill is better than not doing anything at all. Invest in something that you can do at home for those days when going to the gym is a task too hard to complete.
Tip #5: Although this is the fifth tip, it is the most important. This is what I have built my newfound eating style around, and that is to listen to your body. I know you might be thinking, but, Trudi, how? Your body is smart, depending on how and what you feed it, it responds. Think of a person that is lactose intolerant. When they consume milk or any dairy products, their body usually reacts negatively. Your body is constantly communicating with you; it could be how you feel emotionally after you’ve eaten to how your body physically reacts to certain foods. You can see a naturopath or any wellness specialist to find out what you can and cannot eat depending on your body, allergies, intolerance and so on. I have seen both a naturopath and a nutritionist in the past and have adapted some of their tips and suggestions on how I currently eat. But for the most part, I eat according to how and what my body likes and dislikes. Listening to your body is key.
These are just a few of the tips that I have used along my journey. I will expand on each in future posts. For now, just get started!