Healthy living isn’t an easy thing. And it’s all the more difficult when you are overweight or haven’t been going to the gym or following a diet plan for the longest time. Starting is the hard part but harder still is following through on your plans and keeping at it. I have struggled with weight for a large part of my life and though I’m no longer overweight, I still struggle to look better, feel more energetic, and generally be a fitness driven person.
Though the year 2017 started on a good note, health-wise, I have in the last month or so fallen behind on my fitness goals. Blame the gloomy, unpredictable weather of February-March or simply the laziness to head to the gym when all the good ones are on the other side of town, I haven’t been getting as much exercise as I should be. And for me (I’m sure this is true for many), when I fall behind on my exercise plans I usually give two hoots about what I eat too. No exercise, plus eating whatever I want and my jeans feel tighter and I can actually feel the belly flab when I sit down to work.
From April (which starts tomorrow), I have vowed to eat better and restart my exercise regime. But I have made similar promises to myself at the start of February and March too and I have failed badly both the times that this time I’m doing it differently. I have consulted my fitness instructor friend and also a dietician to determine how I can incorporate changes that will stay with me despite the weather conditions, and my own intrinsic motivation factor. Here are three expert-recommended things that I plan to do from April to bring the fitness spring back into my step.
Find something you enjoy doing and start from there
I know people who took up running because they felt it would make them lose weight. They didn’t like it but they did it anyway and needless to say, they didn’t do it for too long. So one of the things you have to keep in mind while starting to exercise is beginning with something you like doing, whether it be a dance class or simply taking a walk with your dog in the evening.
Find something you like doing, something that doesn’t feel like a chore and take it from there. You will be more likely to stick to it when you enjoy it. I’m going to hula-hoop and jump on the trampoline every morning because I love these activities and could never tire of it. I have even invested in a mini trampoline and I’m already super excited to begin exercising (reading: playing).
Have a partner and track/compare the progress you both make
Find a workout buddy, or get your spouse or partner to take up the banner of fitness along with you. You are more likely to keep at your fitness/diet goals if both of you eat well and exercise rather than if only one of you takes it up. If you need outside help, consider a trainer. Contrary to popular belief, trainers aren’t all that expensive. Well, they are. But you don’t have to find a personal trainer.
You can opt for a gym membership that will provide you with a trainer. Your trainer can then advise you on the kind of exercises you should be doing, and what you should be eating so that you know you are doing it right. I’ve taken a gym membership for three months to test the waters first and have also talked to the trainer there. He will be monitoring my workouts each morning and keeping track of my progress. Also, I have roped in a neighbor friend to go on walks with me every evening.
Make weekly meal plans and stick to it
For many of us, cooking dinner every night is a frustrating, time-consuming process, even if you know your way around a kitchen. And it’s because of this very reason why we often falter in our diet plans. Most of us are guilty of eating healthy for a day or two, till laziness to put together a decent meal kicks in and we find ourselves gorging on store bought food or eating out.
Experts recommend that you plan your meals well in advance – at least for a week – so that you know what you’ll be eating on which days and are mentally prepared for it as well. It sounds simple enough but it really works, they say. You will be less likely to deviate from your set meal plans if you plan them ahead of time rather than trying to decide when dinnertime is just an hour away. I have also decided to not eat meat on alternate days of the week and have planned my lunches and dinners accordingly.
Focusing on your clothes size, waistline, reflection in the mirror, and so on are all short-term motivators.
Relying on them guarantees any stumbles you have along the way will make you feel horrible about yourself and set you back to square one. Instead, concentrate on the long-term benefits while using the immediate ones as a motivational push. Make fitness and diet plans because you love yourself and want to be the best, most healthy possible you that you can be, whatever size or shape that involves.
The writer lost over 20 kilos by just changing her eating habits and exercising in 2016. She believes you are what you eat and swears by drinking enough water as the easiest way to lose weight. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org