Okay the title is a little tongue in cheek obviously. But I wanted to write a post for people as an intro so to speak about how to get started with healthy living/weight loss. I wanted to write this after having a conversation with my cashier at the grocery store yesterday. She was asking a lot of questions and reminded me of how I felt over the years of learning about fitness, nutrition, and health in general. And I know that many many people feel the same way, intimidated by dieting and overwhelmed by all the options. So here is your quick guide to start living healthier and losing weight.
1. Start moving. Seriously. You can walk around the block, pick up a dvd you already have at home, chase your kid around the living room, play with your dog. It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you are not sitting down. Being sedentary is one of the biggest problems we have as a society. A lot of us sit in a car to commute to work, then sit at a desk all day, then sit and watch tv. This has to change, not just for weight loss, but for cardiovascular health. One of the first things I bought myself when I started losing weight for GOOD was a fitbit. It tracks everything you do for movement and gives you goals it hit daily. You don’t have to start with INSANITY or P90x…you can start with marching in place for 20 minutes while you watch tv to start establishing the workout habit. Start with where you are now
2. Replace your beverages. One of the easiest things to do as a beginner is to start drinking water. If you drink juice or pop, starting now replace that with water. Yes, you need to replace your diet pop too. You can add lemon or lime or oranges or cucumbers to your water to add a flavor boost. The reason for this is that for one, getting rid of juice and pop eliminates sugars (real and artificial) from your diet helps lose weight right off the bat. For two, drinking water and being fully hydrated helps you stay full. I’m sure you have read this before, but the hunger, thirst, sleep, and sex desire feelings all are very similar. And most of us are not hydrated because it’s annoying. Going to the bathroom all the time, carrying around water are not fun and can be really annoying…but it will keep you from thinking you are hungry when you are actually really looking for a drink of water. Lastly, you will notice your sugar cravings will change since you aren’t putting so much sugar in your body. Start with aiming for 64 oz of water a day and work up to a gallon. I promise you will
3. Start making simple swaps. Okay let’s start with the truths. 1. We all know fast food and junk foods like chips and candy are not good for our health/weight. 2. We all know that our portions should be much smaller than we would like. Can we accept those 2 statements as fact? Okay with that said, let’s start making simple swaps to bring out diet in line with a healthy diet that we just agreed on. So for example. Have an apple (and heck, add some dip if you really need it) instead of a candy bar. Skip the McDonalds and make a casserole ahead of time and bring that portion to lunch at work instead of going to the drive thru. Skip the giant bowl of pasta at a restaurant and go for a salad with dressing on the side + a smaller portion. Things like this are not painful but start bringing you closer and closer to a clean diet. When you are just starting out, these types of swaps are accessible and easy to swallow.
4. Find support. This is crucial for most of us in any phase – beginner to advanced. You need to find people that have your back, that you can be honest with, and that you can talk to when you are stressing and they won’t tell you to go ahead and eat a whole pizza to solve your problem. It can be the internet (FB groups, Instagram (which has an incredible fit fam!)) or a family member, a personal trainer, a coach (like me!), or anybody else that you know will have your back. It’s best if this person is already living a healthy life or with you on your journey so you have someone who can empathize with your struggles. If you are doing a specific diet plan like Weight Watchers or any of the Beachbody programs it is built in. You can use sites like spark people to also find a good fitness/diet community.
Now of course there are many many ways to jump from these beginner steps to more intense things. Some people go from zero to buying insanity and following the nutrition guide or doing the ultimate reset and jumping right in. That is of course an option. The point of this is to help give people that are not ready for that kind of leap some basic steps that they can follow to get started and start seeing success. It’s also good for people that have chronic pain or anything that would prevent them from being able to do something intense.
Questions? Let me know!