So you are trying to start this healthy living thing. Maybe you are sick and tired of being depicted as the big guy/girl in your group of friends. Maybe you had your first kid and you want to make sure that you are around to watch him/her grow up. Or maybe you woke up this morning, looked in the mirror and finally realized that it was time for a change. Whatever your reason is, you are not alone in this journey!
There are thousands of people each day who are looking to make a change in their health so that they can do more and live better. Many do not have a plan of action, but these tips that I am about to share with you can really help you kick start your journey or even keep you motivated. It is going to take some time before you get into a rhythm, so enjoy the process and don’t rush it!
Before you even start your healthy living journey, it is a good idea to take a few minutes to put a game plan together to determine what your goals are and a timeframe of when you would like to achieve those goals. Here are some questions you should ask yourself:
- How motivated am I to change?
- How much weight do I need to lose or want to lose?
- How quickly do I need to lose this weight? (wedding? vacation? special event?)
- How likely am I to stick with this? (aka how badly do I want it?)
- What could possibly hinder me from achieving my goals? (like spouse, schedule, etc)
- What foods do I KNOW need to come out of my diet?
It is best to figure out which method will work best for you based on how radical of a change you are looking for, but remember to not go over board. Small permanent successes will always beat out massively ambitious failures! Remember this:
Do the best you can, with what you have, where you are.” – Teddy Roosevelt
“You gotta have fun with the process!”- OrganicFye
Now…onto the tips!
Tip #1. Eat more real food…Eat less junk food.
I realize this concept is nothing new or revolutionary, but it is truly the first step to living a healthier lifestyle. You can go to gym, lift weights, have a great cardio session, but then go home and eat junk food. You cannot be healthy and have a crappy diet. Unfortunately, it does not work like that. Believe me, I wish it did, but they do not go hand in hand. You have to replenish your body with good foods, like organic fruits, vegetables and meats (unless you are a vegetarian like me then no meat). Processed foods and junk food is just going to keep you are square one no matter how often you workout or how good of a sweat you may get. So…
Eat good clean foods with no preservatives, antibiotics, artificial flavors or dyes, GMO, etc!
I recommend to eat organic foods as often as possible since that is what your body uses as energy. It does not know how to process anything fake so it stores it as fat instead. So start today! Clear the junk food out of your cabinets. Take the candy jar off your desk. Remove the temptations and pick one habit (or two) and remove it from your diet. Start making changes now no matter how big or small they are. The more drastic the change, the higher the possibility for drastic results, but the higher likelihood that you’ll fail as soon as you hit a bump in the road. So balance these changes with your personality. You might stumble a few times before you find a method that works for you, but keep moving forward.
Tip #2. Get some healthy recipes into your new lifestyle!
There are a ton of healthy recipes you can find online. Here is one that you can check out. It is a great idea to find some quick and easy meals to prepare that take no longer than 30 minutes. There are also some awesome eBooks out there that give you great healthy recipe ideas for you and your whole family to enjoy!
Tip #3. Cook in bulk.
For me it is easier to stick to a healthy meal plan if I prepare my meals in advance so all I have to do is either stick it in the microwave or oven for a few minutes then eat! I recommend that you cook big batches of veggie chili or soup or tofu veggie stir fry (as examples), and put the bulk of it in containers in the fridge or freezer. You can also stick them into meal size containers so you do not have to worry about portion sizing.
Tip #4. Stock up on healthy snacks!
If you are like me and you LOVE snacking then I recommend to look into some healthy snacks ASAP! It is essential to have healthy things to munch on at home, at work, or on road. Fresh fruits, chopped veggies, raw nuts, dried fruits are some of my favorite healthy alternatives!
Tip #5. Socialize in healthier ways.
Instead of going out to bars or unhealthy restaurants like Cheesecake Factory (my guilty pleasure spot), try getting together for tea, a game of basketball, or even a walk in the park. These are wonderful alternatives to going out to eat and being tempted with what you can’t have. You can even go on grubhub or yelp to look for healthy restaurants to eat at as well!
Tip #6. Find a workout partner.
A friend and I formed a workout group that met every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and we would all workout together. Since then we broke up and now I have 1 or 2 friends that I work out with now. What I am trying to get at is that having a group of friends or just a few to workout with is a great motivator. You are all striving for the same goal which is to be healthy and you motivate each other to keep that goal in mind. I love having a workout partner because they keep you accountable and who wants to let their workout partner down? I know I don’t!
Tip #7. Use social media for motivation.
There is a ton of motivation you can find online. You can use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any of your favorite online forums for motivation and accountability. Check out OrganicFye’s Instagram for daily motivation!
Tip #8. Play outside.
It’s important to go outside every day (if possible) and get some fresh air and sunshine. You need that vitamin D! Move around, take the kids out and play, find a friend and go for a walk or kick a ball around. Enjoy the outdoors! It is a healthier alternative than being inside all day and it is definitely more fun!
Tip #9. Make water, tea, & seltzer water your default drinks.
Many people drink soda or sugar coffee drinks all day which is killing you from the inside out. Water can become your BFF and (unsweetened) tea can be very healthy. I use to drink soda like I was getting paid to do so, but now I have been enjoying seltzer water which I actually like more than soda since I can still enjoy a carbonated beverage without the sugar rush or the calories!
Tip #10. Schedule active breaks.
If you’re on the computer all day (like me), schedule short breaks every 30-60 minutes where you stretch, walk around, maybe do some squats or pushups. Exercise doesn’t have to be once a day or at one specific time. You can get moving all day which is a good idea so you can get that blood flowing through your veins. So take breaks as often as you can!
Tip #11. Get your spouse on board.
It’s hard to make changes if your significant other is resistant to change. So early on in the process (like right now), share your thoughts, your reading materials, your workouts, and ask them to help you get healthy. Don’t force them to change, but see if they can be on your team and you both can get healthy and stay healthy together.
Tip #12. Start small…don’t overdo it.
Big changes tend to be hard to sustain. Make a list of things that you would like to change in your diet, in your workout routine, or life in general and make one small change every day or even every week. It will be hard in the beginning, but you will get used to it and it will become your new normal. As long as you are progressing that is all that matters!
Tip #13. Have fun exercising!
Create challenges for yourself and your friends. Find sports that you like to play or take some dance classes. There are plenty of ways to exercise without realizing that you are exercising. I love taking a Zumba class or even doing and obstacle 5k run with friends. I forget that I am exercising when I am doing these things that I love to do since it is fun. Exercising doesn’t have to be boring or hard… it can be one of the best parts of your day. It is for me!
Tip #14. Explore berries, kale, raw almonds and walnuts, avocados, flaxseeds, quinoa, tofu, chia seeds, spinach, and tempeh.
These are foods you should begin to explore and add into your diet. These foods are packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that your body will love! One great way to incorporate some of these foods (like kale, berries, chia seeds, and flaxseeds) into your diet is through smoothies. I have a smoothie everyday and I find that I get a heaping serving of greens without eating a salad since I forget to a lot. Here are some delicious green smoothie recipes you can try! It may take some time to acquire the taste and others (like tofu and tempeh) just need the right seasonings…they don’t have to be bland! Check out these tofu recipes you can try.
Tip #15. Try new ethnic foods.
Don’t look at changing your diet as a sacrifice, but rather think of it as a joyous adventure. Want to try going meatless for a few days a week? I actually went meatless for a whole month and I haven’t turned back! Be creative with your diet by trying some healthy dishes from India, Japan, Thailand, or even the Mediterranean. It can be a lot of fun even for the whole family. Always try something new because you never know how much you may like it!
Tip #16. Last, but certainly not least…diet before exercise!
One of the easiest ways to start getting healthy is by improving your diet. It’s fairly easy to add some fruits and veggies, for example, and maybe cut back on some of the sweets. It can be hard to incorporate exercising into you life especially if you haven’t exercised in a while or ever. You may not see the results you are looking for right away with exercising, but they will come. Remember though the results you are looking for…80% comes from your diet and 20% comes from exercising. It is key to stick to your diet. On the flip side, if you start exercising don’t let that be an excuse to eat whatever you want. You can actually sabotage your results that way. It is very hard to out exercise a bad diet. It is very easy to negate the benefits of your morning run with a donut or sugary and fatty coffee drink. I am not saying that having a cheat meal (not day) is bad, but to make it a habit can really set you back.
I hope these quick tips help you start your healthy living journey or even keep you motivated. Remember you are not alone in this since I am in the same boat with you! Once you start to see the fruits of your labor though, it will all be worth it!