Changing your life does not happen overnight, and working on a healthy lifestyle change is going to take time. Don’t expect to eat a salad today and suddenly be thin when you wake up tomorrow. If you are planning on starting a crash diet, then this article is not for you as crash diets were designed to last a short time and quite honestly, when people drop weight from crash dieting, they tend to gain it back when the diet ends. A healthy lifestyle change, however, is something that will last a lifetime. You just need to know how to get started and how to really ensure that your change is worthwhile, is not a fad and is one you are physically, and mentally, prepared for.
Are You Prepared?
When you are considering a complete lifestyle change for better health and fitness, you must prepare yourself mentally for the change. If you’re not ready, it won’t last. It’s Important to know that you want to change things and really feel determined to do so. This means that you need to be ready to work hard, eat healthy and sweat hard to reach your fitness goals. If possible, hire a personal trainer or even find a workout buddy to help keep you motivated and on track at the gym or when working out at home.
You can exercise several hours daily but if you are cramming the wrong foods into your body, you are not going to lose weight or get in shape. What you eat accounts for up to 70% or more of the amount of weight you will lose and the muscle you will build. This does not mean you need to skip having your favorite foods, but over time you need to learn to eat the right foods and the right portions of foods, even the foods considered junk. It’s best to start with a detailed meal plan that includes foods you like as well as foods you are willing to try when working towards a healthier diet.
Don’t expect your weight or health to change overnight. Many people start working out a few times each week and eating a healthier diet yet seem to believe that they should see or feel a major change quickly. That extra fifty pounds (or more) did not add itself to your body in a week, and it is not going to go away quickly either. You need to take time to get to know your body, your metabolism and your own strength and until you feel comfortable with all there is to know about you, change will not happen. If you rush things by starving your body of nutrients or overdoing it at the gym, sure, you will probably lose weight rapidly. Unfortunately, a starvation diet is not sustainable and once you start eating again, the weight will come back. Taking it slowly and eating right and getting the right amount of exercise will allow you to lose weight safely and keep it off in the long run.
Exercise the Right Way
Many people try to cram as much cardio into their exercise routine and they forget all about weights. Yes, cardio is great and it’s important to get your heart rate up, but if you want to burn more calories, lose more fat and build or tone your lean muscle, it is important to incorporate weight training into your exercise regimen. For best results, and better health, try to do at least three cardio sessions weekly and no less than two sessions with weights. If you don’t feel ready to pick up the weights, take it slowly and start with some light weights during squats or when walking. It’s important to take time to build your body up to make your lifestyle change worthwhile. According to the American Heart Association, staying active through exercise is one of the most important things a person can do for their heart and overall health.
When you decide to change your lifestyle, whether you need to lose weight or you simply want to be healthier, you need to be consistent with your actions. Stick with your plan for at least 30 days and you will be surprised at how ‘normal’ the healthier life will feel. Be sure to keep a log and write everything down that you do daily. Even if you feel like you ate far too many potato chips, write it down and don’t let the little slip ups deter you from continuing. Stay on track and remind yourself every day why you are working on your health and fitness. It may take months, or even years, but if you stick with it, you will get where you need to be.