Take it from a girl who loves chips, cake, cookies, fries, ranch, chicken nuggets, candy (you get my drift, right?). Take it from the same girl who yo-yo dieted for several years wondering if I’d ever be content with my physique. So many of us strive to be in good shape, but we aren’t willing to make the sacrifices necessary in order to get there? Personally, my biggest change occurred when I made my healthy lifestyle SUSTAINABLE. I did NOT stop eating the foods I love, and I did NOT become a gym rat overnight. But I’m here to tell you there is no crash diet and no 30 day workout plan that is sustainable. It’s just not practical! So instead of starting 2020 off with a miserable fitness challenge or meal plan, I invite you to shift your goals toward building a LIFESTYLE of happy health. For today’s Friday Five, I want to share 5 things that I’ve utilized over the past 12-18 months to maintain my mental and physical health. This is no overnight cure-all, but it’s something that you can use as a guide along the way. Don’t be too hard on yourself! Physical change takes time, but I promise you’ll reap the benefits of the mental shift immediately!
It’s 2020, ladies! A new start, a clean slate, and a chance to kick your fitness goals in the butt.
- Be active, but choose an activity that you ENJOY (or at least don’t dread). Why is it that a minute on the treadmill goes by exponentially slower than a minute off the treadmill? If you take anything away from this post, it’s this: There is NOT a right or wrong way to be active. Calories are calories. The girl who burns 300 cals on the treadmill and the girl who power lifts her way to burning 300 cals are ultimately reaching the same goal. Instead of forcing yourself to be active in the way that society tells you to, try out different methods to find out what you enjoy! The options are endless: swimming, jump rope, stairmaster/treadmill, circuit training, strength training, HITT, hiking, walking, cycling. Different strokes for different folks, y’all. And don’t let the lack of a gym membership stop you! Find your niche (whatever and wherever it may be) and stick to it. In order to build a sustainable healthy lifestyle, you have to choose an activity that you won’t dread every day – one that will keep your attention!
- Don’t over-commit. Set realistic goals and expectations. Don’t get me wrong – dreams and visions are important. But in order to reach that dream, you have to set smaller goals along the way. Think of it this way: your dream is the finish line, and your goals are the checkpoints. If you want to start working out, set a goal of completing a workout twice a week. Once you’ve hit that goal, bump it up! I’ve come to realize that most of us (myself included) end up quitting when we set unachievable goals. Start small, and work your way up to fulfilling that dream.
- Treat being active in the same way you treat your job. This was a tough one for me at first. I was the QUEEN of excuses. But shifting my thought process is what led me to becoming someone who works out 5-6 days a week (and enjoys it!). Picture one of these circumstances: You’ve had a long day at work. You have family coming into town. You didn’t get much sleep the night before. A friend asked you to go to dinner. It’s rainy or snowing. It’s nice outside, and your friends want to go on the lake. The list of potential excuses is endless. But my question to you is this: how many of those things would keep you from going to work? My guess/hope is not many. My lifestyle shifted when I started treating the gym as a mandatory task rather than an option. It’s not a question of IF I’m going to be active, it’s WHEN I’m going to be active. If I choose to skip my morning workout, you’ll inevitably find me at the gym after work. Add being active to your everyday to-do list, and don’t allow your day to end without checking off that box! Whether it’s a 20 minute walk around your neighborhood or a 60 minute sweat sesh at the gym – something is always better than nothing. Prioritize the things that will empower you to reach your goals.
- Stop comparing your progress to someone else’s. This was the detriment to my success for the first several years of my fitness journey. I would watch what I ate, workout several times a week, and I still didn’t look like “her.” I also have a great accountability partner in my husband – we almost always workout together. But it used to drive me insane watching weight fall off of him while I couldn’t seem to shed a single pound. This past year, I finally realized that we are all so unique (praise God!). Our bodies don’t function the same way. In the same amount of time it takes you to burn 200 calories, I might only burn 100 doing the exact same exercises. In the same way, eating a burger and fries may not affect your physique at all, but just the thought of eating that causes me to swell up like a blowfish. Go at your own pace. The only person you need to be competing with is yesterday’s version of yourself, not the girl who has the metabolism of hummingbird.
- Find what motivates you. There is not a single person I know who has natural motivation to be active. HONEY, I WISH I DID. During the beginning stages of my fitness journey (and even now) I really had to dig deep to find motivation to be active each day. I had to hop in front of a mirror and remind myself of the purpose. My advice to you is to find something that motivates you to be active. If you love music, spend some time creating a workout playlist to use during your workouts. If it’s caffeine, save your designated beverage for before your workout – it’ll give you something to look forward to! If it’s the thought of indulging in a splurge-worthy meal for date night, figure out what you need to burn in order to make the meal worth it! Personally, I fell in love with the Alani Nu Mimosa flavored Pre-Workout. The taste is 10/10 (seriously SO GOOD), and drinking it gives me the exact amount of motivation I need to power through my workout in the mornings – I use it as motivation to get out of bed and get my rear end to the gym.