We’re here to break it down to its simplest form for you. We’ve put together a three-step answer to the question “How do I accomplish a lifestyle change?”
Step 1: Goals
Your first step towards a healthy lifestyle is setting two goals. The first goal is your target number. Do you want to weigh a certain amount? Do you want to wear a certain size? Do you want to lift a certain weight? Being realistic is the key. If you want six-pack abs, you’ll need to put in the time and effort. Will you get up every morning before work to workout, or can you only commit one hour a few times a week?
Once you’ve set this goal, next is to figure out your deadline. Be realistic about this one too. The less exercising per week you’ll do, the further out you should set the date.
The more committed you are, the more you’ll follow the personal regimen you set, and the sooner you’ll reach your goal. Setting unattainable goals will only cause disappointment when you can’t reach them. Don’t guarantee yourself to quit.
Step 2: Exercise Plan
Once you’ve set your goals, join a local gym. Having a designated place to workout will help your focus remain constant. Find one either close to your home or somewhere between home and work. Making it convenient will remove one more excuse for not going.
Research the gyms in your target area. Pay attention to the different amenities they have to offer: the machines and how many, free weight space, what classes they offer, if a personal trainer is available, etc. For women, having a separate area/room for weight lifting could be a bonus. After all, strength training is the new cardio.
If you feel joining a gym isn’t for you, there are plenty of exercises you can do right at home. If you don’t have an at-home gym, try bodyweight exercises such as yoga, Pilates, Zumba or planking. Plan a running or cycling route through your neighbourhood to track how far you go each time. You can even find tons of free fitness videos online. The important thing is to find something you enjoy doing and works with your schedule.
However you choose to exercise, a great way to help you stay focused on your goal is to use a fitness tracker. Also known as an activity tracker, this is a wearable device that can count your steps and monitor your heart rate. Most also have an accompanying app in which you can record other fitness activities like weight lifting, bicycling, and swimming, as well as what you eat. Make it a social activity by connecting with other fitness tracker users to compare activity and create some fun competitions.
Step 3: Eating Right
In addition to your new exercise routine, you will also be changing your diet. But don’t think of it as dieting, you will simply be forming new and healthier eating habits. When most people think of dieting, they imagine depriving themselves of ‘good, delicious’ food and only eating ‘healthy, tasteless’ food. Deprivation only makes you want what you can’t have that much more.
You should make small changes at first. Ease yourself into the healthier habits. The biggest trick is simple: portion control. Eat what you want but in moderation.
Here are a few tips to make that happen:
- Use smaller plates/bowls at home.
- Pre-portion snack foods rather than eating right out of the bag/box.
- Don’t mindlessly eat while watching television. Enjoy the food: the texture, the flavour.
- Pack your lunch rather than eating out.
- When you do eat out, ask for a takeout box when the food arrives. Put up half before you take one bite.
There you have it. A lifestyle change broken down to only a few steps. To fill in the blanks, you just have to invest in yourself. Start today by taking the first steps to lead a healthy lifestyle.
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