Back in high school, I had the metabolism of an 11-year-old boy. I could eat a cinnamon roll for breakfast, a quesadilla with queso for lunch, and a 12 count nugget meal from CFA for dinner without gaining an ounce. I don't know why exactly, but I'm glad I took advantage of it when I could. My only cardio was walking from class to class and the most amount of weight I lifted was my laundry basket that filled up by the end of the week.
I never had to worry about eating healthy or racing to the gym every day after school. And you bet your bottom dollar I got a huge slap in the face from reality after my freshman year of college. I completely underestimated the decrease in my metabolism due to no longer being up and at it, every morning at 6 am like I did a year prior. I didn't realize how often I was eating healthier snacks in my parents home versus grabbing snacks from the vending machine before class. My eating and exercise habits went downhill so quickly and by the time I realized it, I was already self-conscious about my body. So I decided at the beginning of September to change the way I treated my body to lose weight, get toned, and simply feel better all around. Today, I'll be sharing some small tips you can do too to lead you into a healthier lifestyle.
Start by waking up earlier in the morning.
I have found that when I wake up at 6 am for my spin class at the gym (I know, it's rough), I am more alert throughout the day, I am getting more things accomplished before noon, and I'm burning double to triple the calories I regularly would. Some days, I don't have class until 12 and I find myself sleeping in until 10, going to class, and coming home to nap again. The days are long and seem to cause me to be more sluggish. But after my workouts early in the morning and a nice hot shower, I feel more awake than usual and I'm ready for the day.
Add more probiotics and vitamins to your daily routine.
I started taking probiotics last year while I was sick and have yet to stop since. The entire point of probiotics is to help your immune system and to provide good bacteria for your body and digestive tract. While keeping your immune system healthy, you can also promote less bloating and contribute to small amounts of weight loss and your body processes the good bacteria. You can find the probiotics in some yogurt, drinks (such as Suja sold in Publix) and specific probiotic supplements. As for the vitamins, taking a daily essential vitamin can improve your health and how you feel. For example, I found myself getting super dizzy and nauseous after some intermediate workouts until I began taking an iron supplement. Now I'm less weak after a long period of exercise and I tend to have more energy.
Choose 3 foods to give up.
If you know me, you KNOW about my love for food. But as I began this journey, I have come to be more conscious about what I'm putting in my body. Yes, I absolutely have my cheat days, but really putting an effort into dropping some foods that aren't nutritious for your body are key. The three foods I chose to drop are sodas, dipping sauces, and candy. All three things are empty calories I am adding into my body that are completely unnecessary. I have chosen other foods to give up as well, such as large amounts of cheese, bread, and chips, but the previous three were part of my daily eating habits and needed to go before anything else.
Document your workouts and meals when you can.
My Apple Watch hypes me up like no other. When I leave my spin class, I have completed my exercise goal of 30 mins a day already and am only my way to closing my daily goal of burning 500 calories. Nothing makes me feel better than seeing results instantly and knowing that my body is working hard. Of course, the watches are expensive and require a good amount of time to decide on the purchase, so I suggest an alternate. I also have an app called MyFitnessPal that allows me to track my steps daily, every meal I eat, my daily amount of water, and I can also manually plug in my workouts. This allows me to see a bigger picture of the entire day and how many calories I have left to eat.
For example, my daily calorie intake is usually about 1,300 calories so I can lose weight. I simply plugged in my age, height, current weight, goal weight, and amount of daily exercise. From there it will give me a goal to reach every day. As I type in foods or scan the barcode on the original product's box/bag, I instantly add the food to my journal. That way I am tracking every calorie, carb, protein, and fat gram that I consume. You can also plug in your workout and how many calories you burned according to the machine so that it knows how many calories you can eat to maintain a good weight. I highly recommend this app to anyone and everyone willing to put in the effort to track your health.
Drink water and stay hydrated.
Want clear skin? Drink water Want to curb some after dinner cravings for dessert? Drink water. A headache coming on? Drink water. Tummy ache? You see where I'm going with this. Water is so essential to weight loss in many ways. One is the fact that your body needs water during and after every workout. You will feel way less sluggish and nauseous after a workout if you keep your body hydrated at all times. Secondly, to process foods and keep your body regular, if you catch my drift, water is so essential. You don't have to do the gallon water jug challenge tomorrow, but replacing other drinks with water and being more aware of your daily intake will result in your body craving it more and more.
I know none of this is easy. Trust me, I struggle with my love/hate relationship with the gym daily. And yes I crave a pizza every time I see one posted on my friend's Snapchat stories. But if you put in the work to make small changes in your health habits, it will pay off. The start is never easy but the ending results are so worth it. Whatever the end goal is for you, get out there and get started. Results won't come overnight and won't ever come without you pushing yourself to be better. We only have one body and we have got to start taking care of it.