It took me one year to realize that this point is one of the most vital components of changing your lifestyle for the better, when I realized it took me weeks to start achieving what I had tried for months. Before you can make a change, you need to know how to make that change. The food that your body needs will vary depending on body type, level of activity and the results you wish to achieve. Find out what exercises you can do to achieve the results you want, find out what you can about the muscles in your body and how they work. Websites, magazines and professional blogs are all great with helping you with both nutrition and exercises so that you will actually get the results you have fought for.
2. Find Exciting Recipes
I had so much fun re-embracing my creative side, and the trips to the grocery store to make sure the right ingredients were bought increased rapidly. Delicious and colorful looking recipes that you can eat without a bad conscience is one of the main things that will make you keep going. Meal-replacement shakes may be great to grab if you are in a rush, but varied meals with new and fresh flavors will not just give your body the right nutrition but also indulge your eyes and taste-buds! Another great alternative is to create your own recipes using only your favorites amongst your new healthy options.
3. Never Try The Extreme
If you go from 0 to 100% commitment in a day you will not succeed with your goal, it is really that simple. You cannot go from a 2500 calorie diet to 1200, you cannot go from no exercise at all to 3 hours/day. Strange diets that promise you a 10 kg loss in 7 days may work in the short-run, but for all of you that are in for the long-run, wait those extra months and see results that you will be able to keep. Extreme meal-plans, pills, supplements and workouts with promises of extreme results will of course be appealing but I can guarantee you this is not the type of change your body needs.
4. Stop Thinking In Calories
Counting calories will be helpful and should definitely not be neglected. But to assume that this is all that matters is taking the easy way out, 5 cheeseburgers in one day will not be healthy despite being 1500 calories. Make sure your body gets the nutrition it needs and simultaneously adjust your calorie amount to your level of activity and desired changes. I personally found calorie-counting extremely time consuming and by decreasing my amount of refined and processed carbs and some portion control alone I was still getting the results I wanted!
5. Plan Ahead
Another key to success is to make a plan of around 5-6 meals a day with an even time span in between to make sure you will eat what you are supposed to and when you are supposed to. Buying groceries a week in advance with planned recipes for each day, and prepared meals and snacks that you eat every three hours will prevent you from conveniently buying that chocolate bar or eat that fast food. I nowadays find it very easy to decline when my friends or family offer me sweets and such since I simply know that I have another hour until my next meal which is already waiting for me in my bag or fridge. Planning your days at the gym and the workouts you will do will also make you feel more obliged to go.
6. Don’t Do It Alone
Once you have others to motivate you, you are so much more likely to stay on track. Having a “gym-buddy” will make you 10X more likely to turn up (who would want to stand a friend up?). Movie-nights and dinner parties with healthy snacks will become exciting, and by challenging each other you will run those extra miles, or do those extra reps just because your friend won’t allow you to stop. Don’t have someone in real life to share your new healthy enthusiasm? Go online, create a blog on a fitness website or tumblr and become a part of a worldwide community packed with people just like you. And believe it or not, once you get going and start showing results, your friends will quickly be inspired, true story!
My friend Lova and I always book our bodypump and boxing classes together, not once have our bookings gone unused.
7. Do Forgive, Don’t Forget
Had an unexpected “cheat” day yesterday, or even worse binged like you’ve never done before? Well if you, like me, are likely to wake up the next morning with a bloated stomach and generally feeling like a failure; please, please, please forgive yourself! If you think that a 3000 calorie sugar and fat packed intake yesterday can be fixed by eating nothing the next day then you are wrong. This irregular eating will in fact result in your body never knowing when it will be fed, and your metabolism will actually decrease. The only thing to do is to keep eating the way you should have, forgive yourself for what you did yesterday and move on. Remembering the feeling you had may motivate you to stay on your diet, but punishing yourself will do no good at all.
8. Record Your Progress
This does not only mean weigh yourself frequently but also record visible changes and taking measurements. Take progress pictures each week for yourself to look at, and if you want take measurements to that as well. It is common to feel like no progress has been made despite weeks of hard work, real evidence of progress through comparisons whether it is pictures or numbers will help you to notice the changes you have failed to notice when you look at yourself in the mirror before a shower. Also, only weighing yourself may be misleading since your fat to muscle ratio may have changed for the better despite the zero change in weight.
9. Stop Stressing
I belong to the kind of people that instantly gain weight (and acne) from stress without even eating more; stress may also result in a more bloated stomach, something which is less than desirable. Many people are also prone to eating more when they are stressed and unhappy and make it a habit to comfort eat, a small voice in my head often tells me that I truly deserve a bowl of extra sweets just because of my busy schedule. The bottom line is, try and stay calm, make sure you don’t have too much to do in one day and make sure all your deadlines can be kept to avoid bad stress-related results on your body.
Sleep is so much more important than you could possibly imagine for several reasons. First of all, if you have not had enough sleep, you are less likely to find the energy to go work out and if you do, your performance level will not be what it could have been. Secondly, the less you sleep, the less time your muscles will have to recover and improve. Finally and most accurately in my case, the more hours you stay up the more hours you have to snack – I am unfortunately a big fan of late night snacks.
These are my main points, they are easy to follow and have really helped me with staying motivated and focused. So I encourage you all to keep these in mind, stay positive and be proud of yourselves, good luck!
AUTHOR: REBECCA STAHLNACKE
Rebecca runs the amazing fitness blog ‘http://dedicationtolife.tumblr.com‘, full of great recipes, motivational images and tips just like in this article. Everyone should have a look at it and follow her as she continues inspiring on her fitness journey.