No matter which aspect of your life you want to change and make healthier, the key is to do so in small steps. It’s frustrating to know you’re not happy with your lifestyle and that you really want to be healthier, but there is next to no other self-motivation to actually do something about it.
It’s difficult to break old habits, it’s easier to stay where you are and complain about everything, and it’s demotivating when you don’t notice any changes or results after the first five minutes (even when you know that’s an irrational measurement). And what makes it worse, for many of us, is seeing other people’s progress and transformations.
We need to stop comparing ourselves and expecting the exact same results. Every body is different and responds differently. It’s time to make the changes we want and look forward to the results that will come eventually. Living a healthy lifestyle is easier than you think and make it out to be in your head. You just need to know which small steps to start taking and enjoy the snowball effect that follows.
When it comes to exercise
If exercise is supposed to make you feel good, why do you feel like you’re dying while you do it and for the three or four days that follow that session? How is that supposed to motivate you to keep going?
When it comes to exercise and your “get fit” journey, you need to acknowledge that the positive is that you’re starting and it will only get easier the more you pursue it. The first thing you need to do is set some fitness goals and write down what it is you want to achieve. This will allow you to track your progress. And when you set your goals, set both big and small goals. Write down how much weight you want to lose, but also write down how many situps you want to be able to do in a minute. You’ll lose motivation if you only have your end goal in mind that will take some time to get to.
Now, it can be difficult to figure out an exercise programme if you’re not working with a personal trainer. And while following a few Pinterest posts is a good way to ease yourself into exercising, you’re going to need a more established programme if you want to notice results. And they aren’t all daunting to follow, you just need to find the right one for your fitness goals.
The best part about video workout programmes is that you, firstly, you don’t feel like you’re exercising alone, secondly, you can do most of it at home and, thirdly, you can do it at your own pace and increase your reps as your strength and fitness improve. With videos, it’s also easy to see how a move is supposed to be done in order to obtain the best results and they, generally, provide modified versions of an intense move for those with injuries or who are, as of yet, unable to do the full movement.
And if you find yourself starting out well but slowly phasing out (because that’s what happens when you skip one session and “promise to make it up” but never do), go to a sportswear shop, head to the ladies sportswear section and buy yourself some new gym gear. Sportswear in South Africa can even be bought online if you want to make it even easier for yourself.
When it comes to diet
Everyone will tell you that you can’t expect results on exercise or diet alone, you need to work on both in order to get to where you want to be and lead the ultimate healthy lifestyle. But that doesn’t mean you start cutting everything out from “Monday”. Your body will likely go into shock and that’s not what you need.
When it comes to diet, the main culprits of unhealthy eating are sugar, bad carbohydrates and overeating. If you want to start somewhere, start by cutting out your second helping of dinner, that extra breakfast muffin and the “just one more” block of chocolate. The secret to a healthy diet is moderation.
Sugar isn’t good for you but, unfortunately, it’s in almost everything we’re used to buying and eating. If you could cut down your sugar intake, it will make such a difference to your healthy lifestyle and you’ll eventually get to a place where you don’t miss it, save for the occasional celebratory cake.
You are the only person responsible for what goes into your body and no one is telling you not to enjoy what you eat. Taking less sugar in your tea and coffee and cutting out fizzy cooldrinks will also make a difference.
Living a healthy lifestyle is easier than you think if you take it one step at a time, at your own pace and set realistic and achievable goals. It’s not about making drastic changes from the word go and hoping it works out. You need to find what works for you and once you get into a groove, it will become even easier.