Fitness Fridays. This segment is quickly becoming my favorite to write about. I look forward to it every week. As mentioned in my previous posts (here and here), I’ve quickly turned into quite the fitness fanatic. What’s wonderful is that in the beginning it was all about losing a couple of pounds and toning up. I thought I could easily spare 5lbs, so I did. What I didn’t realize is how quickly this decision would turn into a dedicated, long-term commitment. It wasn’t something I expected, but I now fully understand the difference between a diet and a true lifestyle change.
A diet is a short-term fix; people go on diets to lose a little weight for special occasions or just because, with the hope that they’ll keep the weight off. The problem is that once they lose the weight, they fall right back into their old habits which causes them to gain it all back. The diet starts up again and the pattern ensues. It’s a vicious circle. A true lifestyle change, however, differs entirely. When you consciously make the decision to eat better and exercise more, there’s no need to be so stuck on “I need to lose 10lbs” or “I need to flatten my stomach” because you’ve simply made the decision to live better. When you exercise and eat right, the weight will fall off and your muscles will tone up, but you won’t necessarily be focused on these specific things. You’ll be focused on the fact that you’re living better - eating better, feeling better, and doing better not only where your health is concerned, but in all aspects of life. It’s a beautiful thing and I encourage you to put your body to the test. Your body is capable of so many amazing things and the realization of your own strength, determination, and endurance is an indescribable feeling.
After the BodyRock post came out a couple of days ago, my email and facebook inbox have been flooded with questions, so I thought I’d compile an advisory column answering those that are frequently asked. The two questions I’ve been asked most are, “How do you stay motivated and what drives you to continue working out?” and “How do you fight cravings and continue a healthy meal regimen?” I hope this helps:
Fitness Advice From Me, Kristen Leigh
1. Start slow. Work out 3 to 4 times a week for 30-60 minutes. Once those endorphins start flowing, you’ll feel great and will want to keep feeling that way. About 3-4 weeks in, you’ll feel a need or a desire to work out often. And when you skip a day or two, you’ll start to feel the negative side effects. That right there should be enough to get you back into your fitness regimen. At least, that’s what does it for me.
2. Resist urges by packing healthy snacks in your purse/bag/car at all times. Stock your fridge and pantry with healthy foods. If you don’t have “bad” food in your house, then you won’t eat “bad” food. Cut out soda, coffee, and anything sugary. Drink more than 8 glasses of water a day and stick to natural drinks like green tea (Arizona Brand Diet Green Tea is my favorite!) Eat lean protein (chicken and fish), salads, and lots of veggies. Invest the time to find and try out new, healthy recipes.
3. If urges tend to hit while you’re driving around and see a fast food restaurant, try to avoid streets where there are multiple restaurants. I actually changed my route to and from work so that I wouldn’t pass any fast food restaurants. Out of sight, out of mind.
4. Make fitness a priority, just like work, laundry, or cleaning. Find time to fit it into your daily schedule and realize that the more you work out, the more energy you’ll have, which makes all of your other priorities easier to complete. More energy = not tired = easier to get other things done.
5. Find a fitness buddy. I don’t have one, but my mom and sister downloaded the LoseIt! App which is what I currently use to track calories and exercise. We added each other on the app so we’ll comment on each others’ workouts and updates. It’s easy to stay motivated when you know someone’s watching you.
6. Make a Pinterest “Fit-spiration” board. Pin photos or quotes that inspire or motivate you to get fit and stay healthy. Download the app on your phone and whenever you don’t feel like working out, browse the pictures on your board. Works like a charm!
7. If you dread running on the treadmill or being on the elliptical, try other forms of exercise such as biking, yoga, Wii Fit, Just Dance, Zumba, BodyRock, or other fitness-related Youtube videos. These are all ways to burn a lot of calories and they’re fun too! And ladies, don’t be afraid to lift weights- heavy ones at that! You won’t become big and bulky, just toned, muscular, and lean. I promise.
8. Most importantly, realize that your decision to be fit and healthy is not a diet or a short-term plan. It’s a lifestyle change. It’s okay to indulge every once in a while, but staying healthy is all about moderation. Too much of one thing usually isn’t good. Find a balance that works for you and stick to it.
What’s currently working for me: Think of exactly why you’ve decided to get fit and stay healthy. Write your reason with an erasable marker in the corner of your bathroom mirror. This motivates me every morning, and also every evening. Mine is, “Yesterday you said tomorrow.” Constant reminders of why you started will help to keep you going. If you’re tired of starting over, stop giving up
And by all means, if you have questions, want to try out some new recipes, need some new workout routines, or simply need a boost, don’t hesitate to contact me. Email me, send a DM via Twitter, or send a Facebook message. I’m always happy to lend a helping hand because I love seeing people make the choice to live better.
After all, the first step to living a wonderful life is making the decision to start.