So many people have been telling me that my blog has inspired them to get started or encouraged them to continue their journey and honestly, that means the world to me because that was the goal. But a lot of people have been asking me how I got started and then it hit me, duh, that should have been my first blog post! How to get started on a healthier life!
*Me and my trainer in 2014
Well for me it was simple laying out the plan:
1.Become more active…work out more!
You may be saying to yourself, well if it were that simple, I wouldn’t need your help and obesity wouldn’t be the fastest growing disease in the country. Well you are right and wrong. It is simple but you have to train yourself to believe that, it took me a long time to get to this realization however. Let me explain further what I mean…
- Become more active…work out more!
In order to lose weight you have to have a calorie deficit, meaning eat the calories you need and burn off the ones you don’t. Not everyone can afford a gym membership but you don’t need to. In the warm weather you can walk or run outside and you can do many at home exercises (YouTube Bodynomics or exercise videos such as Anowa Adjah Power Physiques, or even Wii/Xbox workout games) to achieve results. If you can afford a gym membership, such as Planet Fitness for $10.00 a month, that works as well!
I started my healthy lifestyle journey my freshman year of college by purchasing a gym membership and going to the gym with my best friends about 3-4 times a week. The “bread and butter” for me to really kick start my weight loss was cardio but paired with weight lifting. During my college years I mainly focused on the treadmill, the bike and the elliptical and did not do as much weight lifting as I should have, which is why I didn’t immediately see the results I wanted. I would do 30-40 minutes of cardio and play with the weight machines, leg machines, machines targeting abs and even arms.
In more recent times, where I’ve seen faster and more substantial results, I have been going to the gym about 5 times a week, doing 45 minutes of cardio (running on the treadmill, elliptical, bike and/or stairs) and doing 30 minutes of weightlifting, focusing on a different section of the body each day. Sundays I usually start with leg day and alternate between arms and abs/backs throughout the week.
Not only do I feel better and more physically fit, I look better! I am developing muscles, toning, slimming down and I can do more! I have tendonitis in my knee and back aches from a car accident but with working out I barely feel pain anymore. Working out also reduces stress. In the beginning it is hard to get into a routine for sure but as Aristotle proclaimed, “we are what we repeatedly do,” and studies show that it takes on average 21 days to form a habit. If you continuously and faithfully put forth an effort to get at least a 30 minute workout in at least 5 days a weeks (or 3-4 if you are really stretched for time), your body will eventually adapt and you will feel weird whenever you miss a workout.
- Eat better!
All four years of my college career I had a gym membership…but I also had a meal plan and both are important to my healthy lifestyle change. I was working out and sweating in the gym but had a horrible routine for eating and ate crap honestly. I remember my diet most nights, chicken tenders or a chicken sandwich with French fries and an iced tea. I had a nutritionist and a trainer but was still not doing what I had to do. For those looking to get started here are really a few simple changes that you can make that will really make the difference.
- Drink lots of water! Trash the teas, soda, sweet coffee beverages and all juice! I try to drink 100 ounces of water or more a day and it truly makes a difference. Green tea is not bad, but not with a ton of added sugar. Most people don’t realize how much unnecessary sugar they intake that is hidden in the drinks they choose. Additionally, lemon water is delicious and a natural detox.
- Never skip breakfast! Breakfast is the most important meal of the day! Seriously, even if you need to grab a cup of oatmeal or cereal, never skip out on breakfast.
- Have a balanced plate, vegetables and protein are super important!
- Try to make healthier choices, such as whole grain or brown rice over white bread/rice. Ground turkey over ground beef. Limit pork and beef intake. Skim milk over whole. Less cheese and butter. Skip the potato chips. Seltzer water over soda. Fruit over candy. Greek yogurt over sour cream. Substitute applesauce for your baking needs. Sweet potato fries over regular fries. And so many other super easy tricks that can save you so much calorie wise. Whenever you are wondering if you can make a healthy substitute quickly Google!
- Moderation is key. You can still have your cheat days and your favorite foods just be careful with portion sizes and how much you eat. I love pizza so on my cheat days I will make my pizza using whole grain dough, salt free marinara and my veggies of choice!
- Be prepared. I do my meal preps weekly and only purchase the foods I know I should be eating so that I always have something good to eat at hand.
- One personal choice that I made that has really sped up my metabolism is to eat every 2-3 hours. I will eat breakfast, a snack (Greek yogurt or granola bar), lunch, a snack (hummus and pretzels/carrots) and dinner. I feel like I’m always eating but this method has worked for me! (I also switch up the snacks/meals to whatever I’m feeling that week.
I am in no way claiming to be an expert and don’t have all of the answers, but I have been finding things that work for me that have also worked for others. I don’t have a ton of money so I can do this while on a budget and know that my changes now will save me money on obesity related health issues later.
Just by slowly incorporating healthier changes into your life you will gradually begin to see more changes. Slowly swap out bad foods for goods one
I know that this was a longer blog post but I really hope it helps someone! Check out some of my progress pictures below dating from 2011, 2012 and more recently April 2015 (left to right)! It has not been the easiest goal that I’ve set for myself but certainly the most rewarding.
Starting weight: 220
Original Goal Weight: 175
Current Weight: 162
New Goal: 155
I’ve lost several dress sizes, bra sizes, ring sizes, a shoe size and many inches off of my waist!
Anyone have any progress pictures that they’d like to share or methods they used to get started? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org