Whenever I am out to eat, I always keep my eye out for the healthier options. I plan my day around going to the gym, to make sure that I do not miss my workout. I make sure to pack healthy snacks throughout the day (so I surround myself with healthy choices), and I drink water like it is my job. I am a positive person and I can see the light in dark situations. This process has not been just a physical change to my body; it was completely holistic (mind, body, and spirit).
But with saying that, I still eat pizza, sometimes I still have a diet coke when I wake up in the morning, I like to enjoy a beer, and yes, ice cream is still my addiction. But the only difference between my now and me a few years ago is that, I eat this stuff in moderation. Maybe 2 pieces of pizza is not “moderation” but I don’t eat it that often, so when I do indulge, it won’t kill me. I’ve learned to enjoy the taste of vegetables, snack on healthier foods, and I’ve learned balance. Most importantly, I have learned to love myself. How will others be able to love you if you don’t even love yourself?
So here are some tips that I wish I would’ve know at the beginning of my journey. I have had many different ups and downs, times where I didn’t want to live like this anymore because it was difficult, but in the end, I found my way. I figured out that anything worth having does not come easy, and that includes a healthy lifestyle, especially in a society where fast food is more promoted than gym memberships.
Tips on how to adopt a healthy lifestyle:
Take it slow
This is not an overnight change. There have been countless times where I have gotten down on myself because I was not seeing the results that I wanted to see. Instead of letting this get you down, just remember that this is a long process and it might not even happen in a year.
This is one of the places that many people go wrong, and I was one of them. Advice: do NOT believe everything you read on the Internet. Example: If you see something that says "lose weight fast" or "blast your back fat with this workout" ... it is probably not an article to trust. You don't "blast" back fat. You exercise and you EAT HEALTHY. And as for the "lose weight fast" article... I can already promise you that is false. You don't lose weight fast, this is a slow process. If you can lose weight "fast" then it probably isn't very healthy. But, don’t get me wrong, there is some good information on here, but if this is something that you are absolutely committed to doing, it might not be a bad idea to set up an appointment with a nutritionist or a personal trainer, just to get some base information on everything, it will be well worth it to be safe and healthy. There are so many things that I didn’t know until I began my major (Kinesiology).
Do not skip your workouts
Something is always better than nothing. If you have 10 minutes, then utilize those 10 minutes. When you skip a workout, it is so easy to snowball effect. Learn to plan your day AROUND your workout, not plan your workout around your day. If you want to see changes, this lifestyle needs to come first; it needs to be your priority. There are SO many times that I don’t feel like waking up early and hitting the gym on busy days. I tell myself that I can have an extra hour of sleep and fit my workout in later. But while I am running that idea through my head, I am turning off my 4:30AM alarm off, and hopping out of bed. Sometimes my intrinsic motivation is not enough. Sometimes it helps me to remember that Justin will have to be awake when he doesn’t want to be and he will have to do a workout that he may not feel like doing… but does he have a choice? No. Therefore, neither do I. So thank you Justin, thank you for the bit of extra motivation you give me, sometimes I really do need it. Sometimes I may want to slap you and I may give you attitude when you push me, but please know that deep down, I know you’re right.
As I said before, this is a holistic change. This is something that takes discipline and a lot of effort. We are so quick to judge, make a negative comment, or give up. Keeping a positive outlook will help you in so many aspects of your life. I have gravitated so many people towards me in my life just because I am positive. Becoming more positive is hands down the most valuable lesson I have learned in life. Do I get my let down sometimes? Yes. Am I too quick to find the good in people? Probably. And in the end, does it bite me in the ass? Sometimes it does... But guess what, sometimes it DOESN’T.
Do it for yourself, not anyone else
I know a girl who would completely restrict her food intake and spend about 3 hours at the gym every single day when her boyfriend was away at school. But the thing is, when her she saw him, her entire diet was changed and she barely made it to the gym. It was completely obvious that she only lived a “fit and healthy” lifestyle for someone else. But it was also to a very unhealthy extent. You could see a complete change in her body and attitude when he was with her. She was not as friendly, and you could see her muscle definition start to diminish. When you decide that this life is for you, make sure that it is FOR YOU. It makes me sad to see people who don’t love themselves enough to do this for THEM, not only someone else. I mean, hell, I love looking good for my man as much as the next woman does, but he is not the sole reason that I take care of myself. This is not a temporary ‘diet’ and this is not something to make you look good, this is something to make you FEEL good… looking good is just an added bonus ;)
Share your progress
Find a social network, message board, or a group of people in person and share how far you have come. Take pictures; write down your goals and how you plan to reach them. Every bit counts. You will want to look back on this and see how far you have come. There are so many options on where to share your progress, and there are plenty of people out there who want to see your progress AND who are also inspired by your progress.
Remember: There is no end goal!!
If you are trying to lose weight, great! That is a great goal, but what happens when you are finished? What happens when you have reached that goal? Do you go back to your old lifestyle? Well, that isn’t an option because you will right back where you were when you started this process. Once you have reached your initial goal, it is time to set new goals.
One thing that always makes my blood boil is when people tell me “Rachel only goes to the gym because you make her.” No. Rachel goes to the gym because Rachel enjoys taking care of her body. Whether or not she is naturally built small means absolutely nothing. Yes, she is naturally skinny but let me tell you, I’ve seen that girl naked and she is made up of COMPLETE muscle. She is a size 0 and yet she still gets excited when she tells me that she had a salad for lunch or she hasn’t had soda for a few days. Does she need to watch what she eats? Most of you would say no, but the correct answer is YES. It doesn’t matter what size you are, you should ALWAYS make the decision to be healthy no matter what size you are. Rachel—I am SO proud of the progress you have made and I am even more proud of you not letting the opinions of others get to you.
Have faith in yourself and keep going. There is motivation everywhere; you just need to keep your eye out for it :)