So, you want to get healthy? Good for you! You’re already at the second phase of making it a habit by reading this article. The first is just thinking about it, and the second is putting pen to paper (or eyes to screen).
Basically, there are three essential things to follow right now that will help you in the long run:
- Eliminate any anticipated timelines you expect to reach your goals. Most of this comes from infomercials like Instagram and is not realistic.
- Please don’t call it a diet. It’s a lifestyle change, and it’s hard work. Not the type of thing you want to do twice, trust me.
- Write down your schedule. I promise you the people who plan out their schedule Sat-Sun are much more productive. It doesn’t have to be exact, but pretty close. You won’t have to do it forever. Eventually, working out and eating healthy will come naturally to you. What you want to schedule is meal prepping and gym time around work, school, and family.
This all will require the support of your spouse or partner. For example, it’s almost impossible to eat a salad while everyone else is having pizza. Hopefully, if they are doing it with you, then you two can support each other, but if they aren’t, it’s important to explain how things will change and how you need their support to ensure your success.
Healthy Regimen Tip 1 – Find a gym
If you don’t have a gym membership, it’s time to find one. Working out at home is hard, even for the most dedicated fitness professionals. I can’t stress your proximity to the gym enough. Hopefully, you are in an area with lots of gyms to choose from, and you can choose one close to your house. Don’t go for all the frills like saunas or basketball courts. What you need is a quick 5-8 minute drive from your house. Bonus points if it is on your regular drive home.
Healthy Regimen Tip 2 – Scheduling the gym
Scheduling the gym is something that you will play around with for the next few weeks. Are you more of a morning person or a night person? If you have work from 8 am-5 pm, Mon-Fri, you will go before or after work. I know both those times sound horrible right now, but if you can stick it out, it will get much more accessible. I always vote to go in the morning, but I am the type of person that is less likely to go to the gym as the day progresses. Fatigue, hunger, and a lack of motivation usually win as I drive right past the gym in the evening. Also, the gym is much more manageable in the morning. The crowd is much easier to navigate around, and there are fewer people than at 6 pm.
While you are first starting, don’t expect every workout to be top-notch. About 1.5 weeks in, the motivation will begin to leave, and the very act of going to the gym will become painful. Here’s what you do when this starts to happen. Go anyway! When your alarm goes off for work or school, do you shrug it off and go back to bed? No, those are not optional in most peoples’ lives. Please don’t make the gym optional, rather make it a requirement. Even if all you do is go and walk on the treadmill, half the battle is just getting there.
Healthy Regimen Tip 3 – Meal prep
Let me tell you a bit of the secret why people can’t keep the weight off. We are conditioned for instant gratification in all areas of our lives, especially for eating. Both sit-down and fast-food restaurants have ruined the concept of cooking dinner nightly. The best way to eliminate this problem is by prepping all your meals. When you’re first getting started, they don’t even have to be healthy meals. They have to be cooked at home.
Healthy is ideal, but it takes a bit of time to ween off the sugar your body uses. Also, healthy doesn’t always mean salads for every meal. I love a good salad, and I can’t even do that. So take some time and make some Pinterest boards about some new fun meals.
In your schedule, draw out what everyone will eat each night and pick one day to cook all of it. Cue the eye rolls for the leftover haters (I’ve never understood this, I love leftovers). This will also take some playing around. It will be mainly regarding portions and having enough to feed your whole tribe. Don’t forget lunch! Your wallet and your waistline will love you for meal prepping.
Healthy Regimen Tip 4 – Gym time
Finally, you’ve gotten a gym membership, scheduled the gym, got cute gym clothes, Bluetooth headphones, and a fantastic water bottle. Your preparation is complete, and your family supports you 100%! So, you get to the gym, now what?
For gym newbies walking into a gym is very overwhelming. If this is you, take a deep breath and go for a walk on the treadmill to get your bearings. Pinterest and Instagram are excellent resources for finding good workout routines, and most of them help you learn the basics. If this isn’t enough, then consider hiring a trainer. Trainers play an important role in helping you achieve your desired goal. They also help you get familiar with the gym and keep you on track. Making an appointment is a great way to make sure you will go.
Behavioral studies have shown that it takes 28 days of doing something to make it a habit. So take this as your first goal, 28 days of exercise in the first six weeks. After that, be sure to create a new plan, always short-term, in the beginning, so it is easier to follow. As far as weight loss is concerned, a healthy goal, according to the CDC, is 1-2 pounds a month with a good diet and exercise.
Be good to yourself, this is a rough road, and you need to support yourself instead of breaking yourself down.