You've decided to make a change in your lifestyle. You want to get in shape and start eating better. That's great! Now you check Pinterest and some healthy chick blogs, but there is so much out there! Where do you even begin?
1. Find Your Baseline. First you need to know where you are in order to decide where to go. Track your daily eating and activity with either a journal or an online tracker* like My Fitness Pal or SparkPeople. Once you know how many calories you are consuming and burning, you will have a better idea of what needs to change.
*I only suggest using these as a guideline, as they accept user input for calorie counts which are not always accurate.
2. Have a Goal -- a measurable and reasonable
goal! Saying, "I want to lose weight and tone up" is not measurable.
Likewise, trying to lose 50lbs in two months is unreasonable and
dangerous. A good rule of thumb for weight loss is 1.5-2lbs per week for
a beginner. So, a reasonable goal would be working to lose 10-12lbs in 6
3. Have a Plan. With a trainer and/or
nutritional coach, determine how many calories you need to consume and
burn to reach your goal. For example, you may find that you need to
engage in 5-7 hours of activity per week. That does not necessarily mean
that you need to spend each of those hours in the gym. Be sure to
include strength training and cardio into your plan. Cardio can be
playing in the park with your kids or jogging around the block with the
dog or going for a bike ride. Strength training doesn't have to include weights, but it should.
4. Have the Appropriate Equipment. Ladies! Buy the right sports bra! As a petite woman rocking DDs, I know
the trauma of bra shopping. My suggestion? Go to a store that
specializes in sports apparel, find the ones that offer the most support
for your size and chosen activity, and try it on. Don't look at the
price until you find one that fits. $50+ may seem like a lot of money,
but consider it an investment. Keeping those puppies in place will help
you stay focused on your workout.
Shoes are even more important. When you go into a store to buy a pair, let the salesperson know what activity you will be doing in your new shoes. Walking shoes are not running shoes are not hiking shoes are not lifting shoes, etc. If you plan to run and lift, buy different shoes! Again, this is an investment. They provides different amounts of support in different places depending on the intended purpose.
5. Have patience (and find support.) Lifestyle changes don't come easy. You may fall off the wagon. You may struggle with workouts. You may not lose weight as quickly as you'd like. Stick with it! Remember that you are doing this to be healthy and you are investing in your future. Get people on your side. Let your spose, friends, children, and co-workers know about your plan. They can help encourage you when you are feeling down and get you back on track when you are feeling weak. True story: During my sugar detox, I was eating lunch in our break room and said out loud, "Man, I haven't had a Twix in forever! I really want a Twix." And a co-worker I had been talking to earlier in the day about healthy eating habits just so happened to walk by and without missing a beat, she said, "But think about how it will make you feel after!" And with that, I snapped out of it. When you have a cheering section, you can push through the tough spots with a little bit more grace. :)