“Words can inspire, thoughts can provoke, but only actions truly brings you closer to your dreams.” —Brad Sugars
I was chatting with one of my best friends the other day and we talked about how weight gain happens and self-awareness.
She also told me that because she’s been big all her life, she wondered which journey was harder: going from unhealthy your entire life to healthy or healthy to unhealthy back to healthy.
Great reflection, right?
I told her I wasn’t sure, but one thing was certain: no matter where the starting line is, a health transformation is not easy.
Today, I wanted to talk about some dos and don’ts for a successful journey. Please note that these tips are from what I’ve learned from health professionals as well as what I wish I had kept applying to my life after high school. Let’s get started!
- Plan well-balanced meals that include servings of fruit and vegetables that you look forward to. Meal prepping is a lot of work, but it’s convenient when you’re busy crushing your goals during the week!
- Eat throughout the day. I can’t say this enough! To keep yourself from having sugar crashes, make sure you eat every couple of hours to keep your blood sugars leveled (more on this in a later post). Your day should look like this: breakfast-snack-lunch-snack-dinner (optional: vegetable snack or green tea after dinner)
- Take high-quality vitamins! I believe with all my heart that you can’t consume all the vitamins/nutrients your body needs in a day through food so you have to fill in the gaps with supplements. If you have any questions, please contact me. I’ll post about what to look for when choosing vitamins soon.
- Choose healthy alternatives to satisfy your cravings. For example, instead of ice cream, have some frozen fruit. Like I said in a previous article, you don’t have to give up your favorite foods, you just have to learn to eat them in a different way.
- Follow healthy Instagram accounts to get unique recipe ideas. It helps keeps things interesting in the kitchen!
- I know this seems like a no-brainer, but write down your health goals and be specific. Think about how you’d like to feel (sleep better, more energy, etc.) versus focusing on a number on the scale.
- Keep your workouts fun and interesting by mixing it up! If you do the same exercises day after day, you’re more likely to skip workouts. You don’t have to go to the gym to get your sweat on either. Just find what works for you and get after it!
- Speaking of fun, working out is much better when you do it with a friend or better yet, a group! Look up groups in your area on Instagram and plug in!
- Always warm up before working out and stretch/foam roll afterwards. If you’re new to foam rolling, my friend, Nate, made a video on foam rolling 101. Warning, foam rolling hurts, but it’s worth it!
- Take progress pictures! Sometimes you may not feel like you’re making progress, but you definitely see it when you take progress photos. Just make sure to take it around the same time wearing the same thing on a weekly basis.
- I hate the d-word. I can’t even bring myself to say it, much less type it. Okay, fine. D-et. There. That’s the best I can do. Anyway, don’t say you’re on a d-et. D-ets are temporary. If you look up the definition, you’ll see that being on a d-et consists of eating healthy foods to lose weight. I don’t know about you, but I want to release weight, not lose it. Why? Because when you lose something, you’re bound to find it again!
- Don’t skip breakfast. A healthy breakfast sets you up for the day. Your metabolism depends on what you eat at the beginning of your day. Either you’ll have energy you need to get through the day or you’ll be struggling.
- Do not not have a rule in place for yourself! For example, my food rule is 80/20 and 20% of the time, I get to splurge and have fun cheat meals/snacks. If you know you get to have fun 20% of the time, you won’t feel guilty if it’s planned in advance!
- Don’t eat out a lot. Restaurants usually add extras like extra butter, extra salt, extra sugar, etc. Be in control of what you put in your mouth by cooking at home more. However, don’t rule out healthy places in your neighborhood.
- Be intentional! Don’t expect to win if you set yourself up for disappointment. You won’t eat cookies unless you have cookies in your pantry. Get what I mean, jelly bean?
- Don’t overdo it when working out! Listen to your body. When you’ve hit your limit, stop. The pain/strain your feel is your body telling you, “Okay, that’s the max. Chill.”
- Don’t rush through your workouts. It’s better to work out with correct form to maximize the time you put in.
- Don’t cut back on sleep. If you’re doing everything else right like eating healthy and working out and you’re still not seeing results, chances are, lack of sleep is causing your plateau.
- Don’t beat yourself up when you fall off. There’s absolutely no sense in feeling guilty. We all have bad days. Once you recognize it, pick yourself back up and move on.
- Comparison is the thief of joy so don’t compare your successes or failures to those around you. Everyone is different and are all on different journeys. What works for them may not work for you and vice versa.
Being on a health journey is not easy.
To have a successful health transformation, don’t set unrealistic goals.
If you have 20 pounds to lose, I hope you don’t expect it to come off overnight. You certainly didn’t gain it overnight, so be patient. Also, don’t forget to reward yourself and celebrate. You better be proud when you finish a workout! Keep in mind that you’re not defined by a number on the scale.
Remember to take it one day, one meal and one work out at a time and give yourself lots of grace!
What do you think of these tips for your health journey?
Please note that this content should not be used for diagnosis or treatment of a health problem or disease and serves as informational purposes only. Always consult your professional healthcare provider before beginning any new program with any questions you may have.