Whether it's hitting up your local gym, working with a personal trainer, grabbing a buddy and some equipment and squeezing in a workout at home, or finally, taking care of that dreaded spring cleaning, there are so many different ways to be active. And, this goes for diet as well. Getting ready for beach season doesn't mean you have to eliminate anything from your diet or skip meals. What might work for one person does not necessarily mean that it's going to work for you, either.
For me, getting in shape is about being healthy. Yeah yeah, we all want to look good, but this is really just the cherry on top of the sundae--how about getting fit, eating right, and feeling good about it? Because let's face it, you can have a great body, but if you don't have the confidence to flaunt it, then it's worth nothing.
1. Don't over-exercise / based on personal experience, I know the downfalls to exercising too much. First, you get run down. Okay, if all you're doing is working out and maintaining a diet that (somehow, perfectly) supports all of your workouts, then you might be able to do something extreme. But how long will it last? If you aren't able to get enough rest in between workouts and eat properly to support whatever workout you're doing, you won't see results. This, my friends, will only lead to frustration. Your body needs rest. Finally, over-exercising can lead to injury. Luckily, I've never really had to experience this, but you can imagine the injuries associated with over-training.
2. Eat to live, don't live to eat (and get the most bang for your buck!) / we've all heard this one before, and it's in reference to portion control. Portion control doesn't mean you have to measure everything you consume down to the calorie. Although, depending on your diet and nutrition goals, perhaps measuring your food is important to practice. Get the facts (see 8) and find what works for you! On a budget? No problem. This doesn't mean you can't eat healthy. Buy whole foods like fruits and vegetables, and whole grains. As for protein? Beans, legumes, and eggs are all inexpensive sources of protein.
3. Stay positive / and what better way to stay positive than with a workout buddy? Grab a friend who has similar goals to you. Check out videos and workouts online to do together at home or at the park. I like BodyRock and the girls from Tone It Up! Most importantly, though, motivate each other! It's amazing what a little partner work can do to improve your workouts, and your self-esteem!
4. Fad diets are so last year / find a diet that works for you! Today, there are tons of different diets that we can pick and choose from: low-carb, Atkins, gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, paleo. But no one diet is going to work for everyone. It may take some time to figure out what diet works for you (it took several years for me), but let me tell you, it's well worth figuring out!
5. Sustainability / based on my experience, most people are impatient. And when it comes to losing weight/gaining weight/getting the body or health they want, people are no different. When making changes to your fitness routine and diet, it's important to make sure that these changes will function for the long term. In hopes of seeing instant results, people will restrict themselves of certain foods (and therefore, certain nutrients) or try to exercise a lot. What good will these changes be, though, if after you've lost the weight/gained the weight/achieved the body or health that you were looking for, your body starts to crave those nutrients you were restricting and you get an injury from working out too hard? My advice is to make gradual changes to your diet and fitness routine, and long-lasting changes.
6. Don't compare / everyone is different, find what works for you. You can look towards images of beautiful women in the media, but remember all the work that goes in to making these women look this way. Every body is unique. So, while you can turn to pictures of women in magazines and determine whether you find them beautiful or not, it's not healthy to obsess about their bodies and the way they look. Again, it comes back to finding a diet and fitness plan that works for you and most importantly, makes you feel great from the inside-out.
7. Indulge / don't restrict yourself. Whether it's a rest day that you're keeping yourself from taking or a brownie that you're resisting biting into, it's important that you allow yourself these things (or whatever the equivalent might be for you). You might try to eat healthy all of the time, but it's important that every once in a while you treat yourself. And, if you're trying really hard to stick to a new diet or fitness routine and fall off the horse, don't worry. Don't feel guilty, don't beat yourself up. Just get back up and get going!
8. Don't play dumb / get the facts, read! I could go on in length about the lack of nutritional literacy prevalent in society, but let's keep this short and sweet. Nutritional information is constantly bombarding consumers, is often confusing, and sometimes contradictory. Read a lot and refer to numerous sources. And again, find what works for you.
9. Find a support group / I don't mean AA, although if some sort of weight loss support group works for you, then by all means, do it! What I mean by "find a support group" is to simply surround yourself with people who care about your health and well-being, people who care about your health goals. This is different than a workout buddy. This is anyone/everyone who will support your goals.
10. Love yourself / this one sounds so easy, but when you think about how critical we are of ourselves on a regular basis, it should come as no surprise that I would include this as one of my top ten steps to a healthier you. Make an effort to eliminate self-criticism, trust yourself, forgive yourself, acknowledge your efforts, and take time for yourself.
What are your best tips for a healthier you?
Follow my blog with Bloglovin
images via brown dress with white dots, the littlest rebel, mojo's movement, get fit or die, fitness magazine, miss alyssa dawn, and pinterest