Is fitness and nutrition important to your health? Of course it is but how do you start the health process? How do you begin eating healthy and exercising while blending it into your lifestyle? Is it best to begin at home or buy a gym membership? What is more important eating healthy or exercising? Well as you know fitness and nutrition are extremely important and they don’t work without each other. How can you have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with no jelly. That is how health and wellness work too. Without both aspects being foundations to your life then you will continue to yo-yo diet and not find the results you’re looking for. Changing your health can be easy with baby steps. It is not all doom and gloom and implementing simple changes in your daily life can unravel all the bad habits. Next thing you know is you will feel better inside and outside. All you have to do is take that first step. I can outline how I was able to transition into healthier living with three simple phases. Now this is not a step by step playbook article here but more of an overview. Unfortunately, everything about health and fitness can’t be covered in this one article but this can show you how easy and within reach your goals are. The three different phases can be started all at once or by slowly adding in each component.
Phase one – Going back to basics in exercising
First, throw out any notions that you have and start with a clean slate. Don’t worry about what you will look like, how much weight you’ve lost or about not eating french fries. Think about your body as a temple, I know that sounds funny, but remember the old saying that you are what you eat. Well that goes for exercising too. That first step onto the school bus when you’re a kindergartner can be scary but you’ll soon realize that the bus is full of kids you can play with. The same goes with fitness and nutrition! Yes, there is work involved but if you make it fun it becomes easier. Utilizing health apps to track exercising and eating habits can be helpful as well. Plus, by gaining the perseverance to keep going you will become a new person. And I guarantee you will like the person you will become. So, set some goals and remember to keep moving towards living a healthier, happier life.
So, with that being said, what is the first step to the healthier side of life? The first phase can be different to many people. I began exercising first with slow, steady one or two-mile runs every couple of days. I wasn’t speedy and I ran at times that fit my schedule and most times it was at the peak of day. I had days that I felt great and not really that great days but I kept going. The key was doing something everyday. One day was a bike ride with kids, gardening (even pulling weeds), taking a walk after dinner, or washing your car. You can even reduce it to more simplistic ideas of swapping out a certain way you completed a task in the past with new methods. Examples would be parking your car farther out in a parking lot, taking the stairs, or using a bathroom in a different part of your house or at work? By adding new hobbies, different activities, and throwing wrinkles into your daily habits you can see that the path is easy to follow.
You should be able to find some fitness activities to do every other day like running, yoga, spinning, or playing basketball at a local YMCA. Besides cardio and stretching routines you can mix in body weight exercises like push-ups, sit-ups, and pull-ups that are free or use free weights, machines, or resistance bands. There are all types of ways to exercise. If you like to run every other day. Then run fast one day, farther and slower the next time, and in the middle on the other time. Then if lifting weights go for 45 minutes to over an hour two to three times a week and mix in different exercises with different body parts. Make sure you have rest days and as you become healthier and stronger you will get a feel for what your body is telling you. Listen to your body as you push it to new heights.
Phase 2 – Kicking in the kitchen
Next phase, adding some nutritional value to your valuable life. Seems simple enough to do. But in reality it can be very difficult but by maintaining your goals and pushing through you will become closer to your personal goal. So how can we make it simple to start eating clean? Do we drive with our eyes closed to ignore all the impulse generators. Bad idea, but maybe we could reduce fast food to once a week or only grab one item if you do indulge. Start bringing in lunches to work is a wise way to begin losing a few hundred calories a day. Switch out sandwiches for wraps, water for soda, and grapes instead of cracker type foods. Have a day with fish a week and grilled or baked is best. Sprinkle in beans, nuts, and all types of legumes because well, they are awesome! Skip meat meals for a day or two a week. It is simpler than you would think just make the health food and close your eyes and taste with your tasting senses not your vision sense. This health food tastes better and is better. Sure, you will still crave all the other stuff because I definitely do. Pizza, hamburger, and those ole pesky fried spuds are some of my weak spots and you can have them still, in moderation. Picking one for the week is okay with me but kick butt in the gym or play an intense game of tag with your kids.
I can pump out a thousand ways to eat cleaner and you can read them online but you have to actually follow through. So by starting slow with a few really easy, healthy eating habits you can start achieving your goals. Like adding whole grains instead of white, bleached grains, adding more veggies and fruits, a lot more, and drink more water. Drink water, drink water, and then drinking more water is key because most of the times you’re thirsty and not hungry. Even though it is difficult to tell the difference but sometimes by drinking the water alone it will help fill you up. So kick back and have another cold glass of ice water, or some green tea and focus on what you’re putting into that temple of yours.
Counting calories is one way to help. Utilize the food apps and make a plan to limit your caloric intake without killing yourself. Understanding the value of a calorie will help you see how unhealthy foods full of sugars, fats, and grease has no nutritional value and is full of empty calories. Having knowledge will increase your chances of wanting to know what is in the food you eat and looking to try new foods. There is a whole world of fruits, veggies, beans, spices, grains, and nuts that can be transformed into the best dishes. All you have to do is get cooking. So eat 3 to 4 fruits a day, a few cups of raw veggies, and a couple of cups of cooked veggies a day and you will see incredible results. You can still get your protein from all the greens, nuts, and beans. You can of course still eat fish, seafood, poultry, and other meats but you don’t need them as much as you think. I like to throw lentils, oatmeal, and beans in with whatever I have and shape them like a meat. That works for me and all you have to do is find what works for you.
Phase 3 – Rocking with help
So we’ve made it pretty far down the road and you’ve had some help but you’ve been the strongest ingredient. You’ve learned to eat cleaner, smarter, and have fun exercising. Next, is to keep the whole movement going. Find friends, family, or co-workers who are interested in what you’re doing. I know you’ve been talking about counting calories, running 5ks, or that you made tacos with shredded carrot and zucchini with no cheese on a corn tortilla. They’re probably annoyed but who cares. You feel better, happier, and have a more positive outlook on your life, so find people who want to live there with you. The first place to look is in your own house but by now they must be on board in some way, I’d hope. Then find friends to help when you don’t have it for that day, week, or month. Because just powering through on your own can be a daunting task. You can work out and eat by yourself but having people in your life similar to yourself can help ease the health load. So keep up the hard work, remember to try to find unique and fun ways to eat and exercise. Don’t become dull and keep it fresh. With that being said find those fitness gurus in your life or make one out of your wife.