If you’ve perused Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram lately, you’re probably no stranger to the healthy living fad that seems to be popping up all over the place. Lately, it seems like everyone is proudly posting their Nike+ runs to Facebook and sharing their healthy recipes on Instagram (complete with the appropriate filter to make average-looking food seem high class, of course). It’s honestly kind of fantastic. In a society where obesity is becoming the norm, it’s refreshing to see a new demographic changing the standard and raising the bar for how we treat our bodies. It’s amazing to see the transformations people are capable of, and we should absolutely be inspired by it. That being said, if you’re interested in losing weight or adopting a healthier lifestyle, all of this can seem like information overload. Where do I start? What do I eat? How should I workout? Fret not, friends. I’ve broken it down for you as best I can, into what I think are the best tips for starting the journey towards a new, healthier you (sorry, that’s super tacky – but it’s true).
Write down your goals. Are you interested in losing weight or dropping a pant size? You’ll quickly find out those two don’t always go hand in hand. Are you interested in building strength? Eating better? Feeling better? Ideally, if you want a healthy lifestyle to stick, the latter should be the first goal on your list. Whatever your goals may be, write them down. Do it. Now. Pull out the pen and paper. You’ll need them written down so that in three months, when you curse yourself for signing up for this, you can remind yourself of why you started.
Tackle food little by little. A total pantry makeover is a grand idea on paper, but isn’t realistic when starting something new. Start with little goals that are easier to accomplish instead of expecting your body to adjust to a complete change in diet. Are you a fast food fiend at lunchtime? Vow to pack your lunch every day this week. Replace your normal afternoon bag of chips with an apple. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your healthy habits won’t be either.
Run, walk, dance, lift, bike and yoga. Ok, so maybe not all of those. But be willing to try more than one form of activity until you find one that you like. There are always going to be days you’d rather not go to the gym, but for the most part, you should get some kind of enjoyment out of the activity you’re doing. Running isn’t for everyone, and neither is yoga. It doesn’t matter how you get active, just get active.
Tell someone. The only thing harder than losing weight is doing it alone. “Going public” with your weight loss and health plans is often hard to do, but totally worth it. The support system you gain from friends and family, not to mention the accountability of people wanting to see you succeed, is limitless once you’re willing to open up about your goals. Vocalizing them is important, and you’ll probably find a new gym buddy in the process.
Be inspired. Over and over again. It is your job to motivate yourself. Don’t expect anyone else to hold your hand. Do what you need to do to feel inspired – Google before and after pictures, make a motivational board on Pinterest, post those goals you wrote down to the front of your refrigerator to keep you from snacking. Do it over and over again, as needed. Repeat.
Set yourself up for success. Be realistic. Be smart. Don’t try to wake up on your very first day and eat “clean,” run 5 miles, get a strength training session in and still find time to bake cookies for your kids and fold the laundry. It’s not going to happen. Unless you’re a super hero, in which case, we should chat. Set small, attainable goals you know you can reach. Once you build the habit, you’ll feel confident and in control – and that is the golden combination for building better habits upon better habits.
It’s not rocket science, but it is hard. I know, how should I know? Because I’m a professional weight-loser, of course. I struggle to find balance each and every day, but I’ve lost 70 pounds and I’m not stopping yet. Stick around, friends. Because I promise you to inundate you with the information, motivation and general kick-in-the-pants you need to succeed.