Before you begin your journey for a healthier lifestyle, you must think about what exactly you are trying to accomplish. Are you trying to feel better in general? Are you looking to get competition ready? Are you just trying to feel comfortable in your own skin? These are all factors you must take into consideration – someone that is just trying to improve their general health is not going to apply the same lifestyle changes as someone who is prepping for a competition!
More often than not, people are led to believe that they must give up the things they enjoy in order to achieve their goals; this is never the case! Sure, you may be in the middle of a shred and trying to decrease your fat, but depriving yourself of those carbs 24/7 for too long will lead to a crash (fun fact: did you know that the safest amount of time to make a drastic diet change, such as a calorie or carbohydrate cut is 3 months?). It is so common for people to torture themselves by giving up the foods they love because they are body obsessed – there is a difference between body conscious and body obsessed. Be aware of what you put into your body and how you treat it, but don’t make it something that runs your life in a negative way.
Here are my top 5 secrets to maintaining a happy, healthy lifestyle and leaving just enough room for fun along the way:
1. Pay Attention to what You Put into Your Body: Remaining conscious of what you are consuming on a daily basis is the first step toward success.
• How much sugar are you eating?
• Are you aware of your portions?
• Are you eating your daily portion of fruits and vegetables?
• How is your water intake?
These are some examples of the questions you should be asking yourself on the daily so that you can figure out the areas which need improvement!
2. Limit Your Alcohol Consumption: Whether you are in your early 20’s and still a social butterfly or love that glass of wine after work to decompress – I will never ask you to completely give up on alcohol. Like with most things, moderation is key! If this is the difficult part for you because you’re a beer drinker like me or still trying to figure out your limits, take baby steps. A glass of red wine a night won’t kill you, but an entire 30 rack will – allot one night a month for your real partying if you must, other than that, make it a personal goal to have ONE glass of wine.
• Replace alcohol with other drinks like protein shakes, power coffees, and teas. My personal favorite type of tea is green tea with lemon and ginger during the day, and chamomile with a splash of coconut milk and a tsp. of honey at night.
• Drink water! I know, it’s not as fun as alcohol, but when the craving hits sometimes it’s just to DO something and not REALLY because you want a drink! Squeeze some fresh lemon in there to make it 100% natural lemonade!
3. Indulge in Cravings with Healthier Options & in Moderation: If you’re anything like me, you’ve got a little bit of a sweet tooth (chocolate is my guilty pleasure!)Instead of going crazy in the kitchen with tons of sugar and butter, opt for healthier ingredients:
• 100% Pumpkin
• Carob Chips
• 100% Pure Maple Syrup or Organic Honey
Don’t feel like going all out and baking? Experiment with new protein shake recipes! Use natural ingredients along with the above such as:
• Whey protein (chocolate and vanilla are my favorites) – experiment with plant based proteins too!
• Coconut Milk
• Instant Coffee
Smoothies and teas are always a good option here too; not in a chocolate mood? Opt for a smoothie of coconut or almond milk, frozen berries, and bananas!
If you’re really craving one of those caramel covered double chocolate brownies, absolutely indulge! However, with treats like this, it’s best to limit yourself to one and accompany it with a hot cup of tea or black coffee to ensure you’re satisfied. 🙂
4. Move Every Single Day, if Even Just a Little: Not everyone has 30 minutes to an hour to spend in the gym every single day, but do yourself a favor and get moving! Our bodies were built to move; I work a sedentary desk job during the day, so by the time I leave my body is begging me to get moving. When you move, your spinal fluid will be able to move freely and traverse the span of your body, allowing for healthy joints and ligaments; sitting for too long leads to a buildup of this fluid and increased back issues! Examples of how to move every day, even a little bit:
• Park far away from your destination and walk
• Take the stairs
• Take a lap every hour if you work a desk job
• Participate in a yoga routine as you are winding down from the day
• Do a 15 minute ab circuit
• Do jumping jacks, sit ups, pushups, or body squats
5. Have Patience with Yourself: You may be displeased with where you’re currently at, but if you’ve taken on a healthy lifestyle there is no end in sight. You have the rest of your life to reach your goals and I promise you’ll meet them before then! This is a learning experience through and through; you will not get your nutrition down the first time you try, you will not master the gym within your first month, and you certainly will not become a guru because you gave it ONE attempt! Keep at it, stay positive, and all things shall fall into place.
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Need some inspiration for achieving your goals this year? Check out my blog from the MS Connect website The Endless Possibilities: http://www.msconnection.org/Blog/January-2018/The-Endless-Possibilities.