Whether you are new to working out and nutrition, or a pro, it can be hard to stay on track. Routines get boring. Eating the same foods over and over is tiring. You may be putting in a bunch of work in the gym, but you're not seeing results, so you may be discouraged. You may not know where to start in terms of what workouts to do or what foods to eat. Or, you may be insanely restrictive. Here's some personal tips that have helped me find my balance in health and wellness.
1. Embark on this journey for you. No one else.
The minute you start modifying your body in any way, shape, or form for another person is the minute you start to fail. You must start on the path of a healthier lifestyle for yourself. Don't lose weight or eat less because you want someone's approval or validation. Making life changes for yourself is the first step in the right direction.
2. Switch up your workouts.
If you do the same workouts consecutively for weeks on end, your muscles will get used to it, so the workouts will not be as effective. Instead of just doing the treadmill for cardio, use a stair stepper or a stationary bike—perform HIIT, or go outside for a run. You can make your own variations of strength training exercises for specific muscles groups as well. Switching it up will not only help your body grow stronger, but keep your mind sharp and alert.
3. Find healthy substitutions for your favorite meals.
One of the hardest parts about changing your diet is giving up the foods you enjoy. Just because you're eating healthier, it doesn't mean that you have to say goodbye to pizza forever. Look up healthy recipes on Pinterest or other social media platforms. Research nutritionists' advice for eating out. The recipes and hacks you will find may surprise you!
4. Don't worry about the scale.
Don't obsess about the number on the scale. Unless you are under medical supervision, focus on how your clothes feel. Focus on how much energy you have. Focus on how your mood changes. The destination is to be happy, not picture perfect.
5. Rest days are necessary!
Don't forget to give yourself at least one or two rest days a week. Without rest days, your body will be at a greater risk of injury due to overuse. Plus, rest days give you a chance to reset and recover from previous workouts. Rest days are when our bodies work on transforming. Appreciate them!
6. It's okay to splurge every once in a while.
Again, the focus is to be blissful not only physically, but mentally. Allow yourself to have a cheat meal/day once a week. It helps me stay on track when I am craving something. Plus, life is too short to miss out on food or drinks during special occasions.
7. Inspiration is easier to find than you may think it is.
Not only is the internet good for looking up recipes, but it is good for inspiration. I like to search motivational quotes and save them for later. Also, Instagram's fitness influencers are amazing. Most are individuals who are certified personal trainers, and/or sponsored by popular workout brands such as Gym Shark. Not only is it convenient to have a workout to save for later, but the influencers spread messages of positivity. Some of my favorites are Natalie Bally, Brittany Lupton, and Johanna (Grow with Jo).
8. Mental health is just as important as physical health.
While you may be improving your physical health, it is significant to check on your mental health. If you are feeling stressed, depressed, or anxious for a prolonged period of time, don't hesitate to reach out for help. Take mental health days. Do yoga. Meditate. Talk to friends and family. Seek professional help if necessary. Without good mental health, you won't have good physical health.
9. Love yourself throughout the process.
I know that it may be hard to love what you see in the mirror now, but the future you will not be possible without the present you. Love yourself and your body, while taking steps towards your accomplishments. It's about the path, not the destination. If you don't love yourself now, you're not going to love yourself later.
10. Water, fruits, vegetables, lean protein, healthy fats, and whole grains are key.
These things are staples to fueling your body. Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day. Eat fruits and vegetables with every meal for vitamins and minerals. Substitute processed grains for whole grains. Go for unsaturated fats such as avocado, nuts, coconut oil, and olive oil. Finally, consume lean protein such as chicken, fish, beans, chickpeas, eggs, flaxseeds, and tofu.
I have become a brand new person physically and mentally since taking the leap of faith deciding to change. Taking the road less traveled will not be easy, but difficult roads lead to beautiful destinations. I encourage you to make healthier lifestyle choices because it has benefitted my life in all aspects. You've got this!