You may have reached the point where you know you want it’s time to make a change in your health. The good news is the internet is pouring over with tips and advice on how to make it happen. Unfortunately, this can become confusing and even intimidating when you’re first starting.
But living a healthier lifestyle doesn’t have to be daunting. It’s actually fairly simple! Keep reading this guide on how you can kick the overwhelm and start your fitness journey today.
Start With a Goal
One of the best ways to transition into any new lifestyle changes is to identify and establish some goals. Knowing what you want to accomplish gives you more clarity on what you’re doing. It provides structure for how to make the dream of your new life a reality.
The rule of thumb for setting goals is to follow the S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-based) method. This framework makes sure that your goals realistically set you up for success. When creating a goal, start with a visualization of where you want to be and reverse engineer portions of it.
For instance, say you want to be able to fit into all your old dresses. The goal may be to lose 20lbs (or a certain number of inches) in 45 days. This goal is specific, you can track it and it’s on target with your overall vision.
It’s a good practice to sit down and flesh out all the details of your goals. Ask yourself why you’re doing it and how you’ll feel once you’ve reached them. This will be a great reference to come back to if you get off track.
Find a Type of Exercise You Love
Most fitness tips might advise you to go grab a gym membership at your local fitness center. But that’s not realistic─ or even enjoyable─ for some people. So, instead, focus on finding a way to move your body that you really like.
When you find a form of exercise you actually prefer, you’re more inclined to stick with it. The important part is to get into the habit of intentionally working out and decrease being sedentary. Here are some types of physical activity you can get started with:
- Weight training
- Sports (tennis, wall climbing, etc.)
Choose one or two to begin with and see how you like them. Don’t feel pressured to do everything at once when you’re first starting. Learn to listen to your body and track your results to be sure the activity you chose is progressing you toward your goals.
Audit Your Dietary Habits
Diet is the part of starting a fitness journey that most people get discouraged by. There are so many questions about what’s right and what’s harmful.
Should you be vegan? How much protein is enough? Are carbs really off-limits (because who wants to live without pasta)?
The first thing to do that can make eating healthy simple is to start with an audit. Take a few days to track your regular eating behaviors. Then, write down details in a journal. Here are some things to keep watch for:
- How often you eat
- What times you eat
- How you feel when you eat the most/least
- What exactly you’re eating
- How you feel after you eat each meal
- Average caloric intake
Once you’ve collected some data on yourself, you can move into adjusting habits that aren’t beneficial for your health. If you notice that you eat more at night then maybe you should evaluate your nightly routine. If you notice that you’re undereating then it might be best to meal prep or try intermittent fasting.
The main purpose of an audit on your current dietary choices is to be able to consciously redirect into a healthier version. Be proactive and honest with yourself about where you can make improvements.
Take Steps to Eat Healthier
Once you’ve figured out your eating habits, you can start to shift them. It may sound cliché but just an increase in your fruits and veggies intake can make you feel much better. Aim to eat more whole foods and less processed foods.
Some of the main culprits to keep an eye on include sugar and sodium intakes. Also, be consistent with drinking water and staying hydrated. You can eat more foods that are high in water content and try to drink at least half your body weight in ounces.
If you want to be a little more strict, calculate your TDEE (total daily energy expenditure). This is the number of calories your body burns based on a formula that incorporates your body stats (age, weight, etc.) and activity level. Depending on your goals, you’ll either add or subtract based on that number to lose or gain weight.
You can also track your macronutrients─ protein, fat and carbs. This will help to make sure your body gets the right amount of these fundamental nutritional components each day. You can use tools like IIFYM (If If Fits Your Macros) and MyFitnessPal to help you monitor intake from your meals.
Find a Community
Going at anything hard alone can be lonely and makes for a more challenging time. Consider joining communities of people that have the same goals and focus as you. You can start by searching right from your computer or phone.
Check out groups on Facebook or other social media platforms. You can also join any available small group classes at your local gym and meet fitness friends there. Don’t be afraid to put the word out that you’re looking for some new connections to help with getting fit and living healthy.
Hire a Trainer
Exercise and nutrition might just be a task that’s too large to tackle on your own. And that’s fine. If you need extra support and guidance, consider hiring a fitness professional.
A certified personal trainer and nutritionist can help customize a plan for your body specifically. They’ll also help you monitor results and make changes to keep you on track with your goals.
Start Your Fitness Journey Today
Transitioning to a new lifestyle is difficult─ plain and simple. But there are so many amazing benefits on the other side that you can’t let the blank page discourage you.
Follow these steps to get started on your fitness journey today. Remember to stay consistent and always give yourself grace─ it’s a marathon, not a sprint. For more tips and advice on living a healthy life, check out the fitness section of our blog.