Punctuality, particularly first thing in the morning, has never been my strongest suit. I’m such a motivated person throughout the day, and that fire can stay strong well into the evening hours when I should be winding down; then getting up and running in the morning is hell. I read this fantastic article from Foundr about some important tips for getting better sleep, which makes mornings a bit more bearable. These are tools I’d teach to clients in therapy and they’re proven to help.
The gist is:
Make yourself a to-do list for tomorrow
Adjust your mindset and think differently about mornings
Have a routine to help yourself turn down and cue your body for sleep
They also threw in some #neuroscience and a link for these awesome morning oat recipes! So basically you must check out this fantastic article and get on track to have more productive and stress-free mornings.
So I’ve made it through 21 days of “clean” Paleo-ish Crossfit-eating! Yay! I’ve lost 13 lbs since my weigh-in on day 1. I also measure about 2 inches less around my waist and 2 inches around my buttocks. I feel great and I’m so glad I did it.
I had a few cheat meals and definitely noticed the change in water weight when carbs are cut or added back. Read about why this happens here: Understanding Body Weight and Glycogen Depletion. Although a good portion of initial weight loss is from water stored with glycogen, continuing on a healthy life path will lead to fat loss and muscle gain with time and dedication.
But the bottom line is: if you’re on the fence about making healthy changes, it’s sooo worth it!
Today is a day for turning over a new leaf; like so many Americans, I struggle to maintain a heathy weight. While exercise is super-important, nutrition is the key to making an impact and living healthfully, so for the next 21 days I’m going to make some drastic changes to the way I eat. Coupled with intense workouts, I’ll be feeling great inside and out in no time. I’ll be posting plenty of recipes, but I also wanted to share 10 tips for making the necessary lifestyle changes to become fit.
The Starting Point weighing yourself has always been the standard, but taking other measurements is important too. Not seeing the scale budge can be disheartening, but using a tape measure to see how many inches you’ve lost is another indicator of progress. Take a picture of yourself in a bathing suit on day 1 and you’ll have before-and-after pics to see how well you’re doing. Set solid goals and write them down. I like to use pairs of pants as benchmarks, trying them on periodically until they fit comfortably.
Arm Yourself with Knowledge there are many conflicting theories out there (no-carb diets vs. the food pyramid, for example) and it’s important to approach health and fitness from an educated standpoint. Talk to personal trainers and nutritionists (insurance may cover the costs of visits), read credible sources, and figure out a plan to save time and maximize your benefits. (Personally, I will be eating a modified version of the Paleo diet that my Crossfit gym planned for me–it’s an interesting concept that you can read about here.)
Find Your Sweet Spot hate running? Try a kickboxing class instead. Working out doesn’t have to be a drag. There are so many ways to get your cardio in, and many gyms offer fun classes like Zumba or dance (look here too). Read a book on an exercise bike or listen to music while you jog. Don’t forget about strength training either. Many classes incorporate strength training aspects, plus there are a variety of machines and variations so see what works for you.
Have Healthy Fun working out in the gym is a good way to structure your routine, but theres’s so many great outdoor activities to get yourself moving that won’t even feel like exercise at all. I like taking long walks, kayaking, hiking, biking, rock climbing, tennis, and swimming, just to name a few. It’s always great to try something new.
The Buddy System Works exercising with a friend not only makes it more fun, but you can challenge one another and push yourself more than you might have alone.
Use Social Media letting your friends know you’re making healthy lifestyle changes is a great way to get support. It’s also a way to hold yourself accountable, and you’re less likely to get swayed into unhealthy activities if people know you’re giving them up. Check-in when you go to the gym, tweet links to healthy recipes you find, and follow fitness pages on Instagram. Plus you may even inspire someone else.
Remove Temptations get rid of as many junk foods and unhealthy snacks as you can from your house (and office, if possible). It’s easy for your will power to go out the window with those cookies calling your name, but you’re much less likely to go out to the store to get them when a craving strikes. Try to get support from the people you live and work with and ask them to stop buying chips (or cookies or whatever your weakness is).
Cook in Advance have healthy snacks and meals ready-to-go so that when you do get hungry, a good choice is right at your finger tips. I like to make a large pot of turkey chili or soup for my go-to snacks and just pop them into the microwave when I want a snack or need something quick.
Log It All using a food journal is a great way to increase awareness of your eating habits. The best way is to track your foods and activity with an app; I use LoseIt! but I’ve also used Fooducate in the past. You can find more info on those and 62 other great fitness apps here.
Plan a Reward despite all the benefits you’ll find in how you look and feel in a fitter lifestyle, it’s nice to give yourself a gift every once in a while. Set milestones along your path to your goal and do something extra for yourself when you reach them. Pamper yourself with a massage or pedicure, or get a new pair of jeans now that your old ones are too big. I’m going to get myself to a new pair of running shoes if I keep on track for 3 whole weeks. You can treat yourself with forbidden foods too–but only in moderation. Cheat meals are actually very beneficial, you can read more about them here.
If you’re on the fence about making lifestyle changes, it can be hard to get started but once you do, you’ll pick up momentum. Over time you will adapt to the changes you made and find that the fit life is fantastic! #fitlife
As a follow-up to last Monday’s post about creating healthy habits, I’ve been reading more by the same author (Tony Schwartz) and found this article, The Skill that Matters Most. I find it so fascinating that health ties into every aspect of life; I mean it makes perfect sense, after all we are always in our bodies, so it only makes sense that keeping the vessel a well-oiled machine is necessary for success. But still, the power of a healthful routine cannot be underestimated. Taking care of oneself keeps not just our minds and bodies sharp, but allows us to conquer all the obstacles that we encounter.
Considering my work as an addictions counselor intern as well as a research assistant in a university social and affective neuroscience lab I was thrilled to find this Harvard Business Review article, Why You Need to Make Your Life More Automatic. The main point of the article is “the more of our key behaviors we can put under the automatic and more efficient control of habit… the more likely we are to accomplish the things that truly matter to us,” (Schwartz, 2012).
Also, aside from it’s relevance to my work, I am in the process of doing what I would call a “life overhaul” lately; I have been trying for the past several months to revamp my agenda of healthy daily habits. 9 months ago I ended my 10 year career of cigarette smoking–which I am so proud of myself for, however I let that be a detriment to my waistline. I allowed myself to make excuses for unhealthy eating and neglecting to exercise because I was “so busy with work and school” and “quitting smoking is so hard”, but enough is enough so I’ve been working hard to re-incorporate an exercise regiment and more healthful food choices into my daily life. I’ve been doing well going to the gym for a few months now, but I’ve got a long road ahead of me. If you’re interested in learning how making healthful choices into healthful habits can change your life, check out: Why You Need to Make Your Life More Automatic – Tony Schwartz – Harvard Business Review.