In my last post on starting a healthy lifestyle I talked a little about nutrition and about the very first step to getting healthy, the “throwing-all-the-junk-out”… Remember? (If you missed it, no worries, go ahead and read it now) So now I´m going to just sum up real quick the steps I suggest to starting a healthy lifestyle. It´s a real sum up of well the first steps. There is so much more to a healthy life than these tips, it´s rather a process, a journey. But you have to start somewhere and this is perfect for anyone, who doesn´t know where and how to start.
But no matter why you are starting, if it´s for loosing weight or being fitter, healthier, always remember: You are beautiful! Just the way you are. And the lifestyle change won´t make a different person out of you. It´ll bring out your potential, it´ll help bring out your best, help you be your best and most important of all, make you feel good about yourself and your body. It´s not easy sometimes, but it´s definatly worth everything, I promise you. If you ever feel like quitting, DON´T, keep on going. You´re strong, you can do it! Just think about how you´ll feel after that workout or that fat, greasy burger. Which do you choose?
But now let´s get started with the actual post.
- As we already talked about: Throw all your junk food/Fast food/artificial food out. That way you won´t have the temptation to eat, what you know is calling you from behind that kitchen door. I know it´s hard, but that way you´re helping yourself help yourself 😉 Meaning that without the junk food in your kitchen, you´ll actually have to go to the store to buy something, so the chance of you taking an apple instead, is much higher. As we already talked about, you don´t have to throw out everything, you can keep a few things and reward yourself maybe after a week or so. But, enjoy it in moderation! With that said, to step two.
- Make a meal plan. This is optional, but I highly recommend it, that way you know exactly what you need for the week, you don´t have to stress out if you run out of something, when cooking and it is also a great way to stay motivated and keep your discipline. If you have yummy recipes to look forward to, it´s easier not to drive to McDonald’s on your way home. Also if you are very busy, you can choose recipes you can cook before hand, so you can eat healthy too even if you have little time to cook.
Now, take the good old internet or any cooking books you have lying around and decide what you want to eat when. (For busy people who cook before hand, I suggest the good old “Chilli con carne”, any soups or quick salads) Then write it down (there are many meal planners available online, or if you want the exact one I created, write me and I can send it to you via e-mail) and make a shopping list, also including all the basics you may not need exactly for your chosen recipes. Things like apples, milk, yoghurt, bananas, eggs, honey, oatmeal…
- Now that you have everything thrown out, (and even a healthy meal planner, with a shopping list) it´s time to stock up on some healthy food, meaning going shopping and discovering all the fruit and veggies your supermarkets shelf has to offer. If you have a farmers market nearby, it´s even better, but for those of us living in the city; we´ll have to stick to our supermarket. It´s really quite easy, everything that is fruit and vegetables, especially fruit, you can buy much of. (Apples I can never have enough of, because I snack on them, use them for my smoothies, in the summer I am constantly making fruit salads,… and stored in the fridge they taste so much better! – my little secret) Cheese, Eggs and Butter also last long and you need those a lot, so go ahead and buy that. For milk, buy only as much as you know you´ll drink within say five to six days. If you have a meal planner, buy everything that you have written down. If you want to see my regular shopping list, I´ll post that for you.
- When you´ve stored all the food in your kitchen and everything looks much more colorful, you know you did it right. The next step is getting inspired and experimenting with cooking the food you´ve just bought. I have a few recipes on here, if you´re interested. I´ll also post new ones in the near future, but in the meantime get out your Mom´s cooking books and get in the kitchen!:-)
- Now that your body is getting the nutrition it needs, we can move on to moving it. Moving your body is so important. Also called exerting yourself. Start with easy things like taking the stairs, instead of the elevator, and either running them, to get your heart rate up, or pushing through your butt and legs at every step, really feeling and squeezing your muscles. Walk to work, ride your bike, instead of taking the car. Get up at least once every hour and move around, if you have a job sitting or if you´re in school. Take breaks and use every possible chance to break a little sweat.
We (our society) have become so lazy, always sitting around, at work, at home, at the doctors waiting room, in the car, in the bus, when we´re eating, when we´re sitting in a café talking to our friends, on a date at the restaurant, on the cinema, in front of the TV, in front of the computer…. constantly we´re sitting. And thant´s not good for our body’s. Think about it,our generation has enormous problems, our heart disease rate and the obesity rate is going up so fast, it´s really shocking. Through the luxury, we call it, we built ourselves with computers, where we can do everything with the click of a button. The things the generations before us had to move, in order to do that. Things like shopping, washing or cooking. Our grandparents may have had different problems, but they didn´t have to worry much about overweight, an immune system that is so weak a little flou can have you missing a week in school or work, also heart problems weren´t a big problem then. Why? Because they were moving. Walking to buy food, cooking the food, walking across a room and from shop to shop, to find what they were looking for. Washing the laundry. Those things required moving. But we´ve built ourselves a world, where we don´t have to move anymore. What I´m saying is, to really take every chance to move. You´ll be on your way to a healthy body, just building on that. It´s really not time consuming, so no excuses there! Also when I´m talking about an active lifestyle, I mean moving as much as you can.
- The next step is to take time ideally every day, to train, to workout, whatever you want to call it. Your body wants to be strong, it´s in our genes, so help it achieve it´s goal. When you´re feeling tired, you may confuse it with your body needing energy in form of food, but mostly all your body needs is physical action, in order to decrease stress, to be able to focus longer and fight tiredness. It needs that training. I recommend training and sweating at least thirty minutes a day. You can split that up throughout the day. Maybe do a ten minute workout in the morning, to kickstart everything, then jog for twenty minutes in the afternoon. That really doesn´t cost much time. And you can slowly build up on that, increasing the intensity, the reps, the sets, the distance you run.
There are two ways of training. One is doing cardio work, for heart health, to get your sweat on, build up your endurance and you also need cardio to loose weight. That´s the first thing I recommend, starting with cardio. You can do practically anything: ride your bike, jog around in the park, swim, ride on your roller blades, go skateboarding, play soccer, play basketball/volleyball/lacrosse/football, dance…. Enjoy what you´re doing; that´s very important for staying motivated. Do something you love, as long as your moving and sweating it doesn´t really matter what exactly you´re doing. With that process, you´ll notice your endurance building up and then, but also before, you can go on with targeted training of your muscles: strength training.
For that, the gym is a classic, but you don´t neccesairaly need one in order to train. You can find at home workouts in magazines, books, on DVDs or Youtube. There are so many workouts out there. Just take a look around, try out different things and find what works best for you.
When it get´s to working on your strength and building muscle, pain is your best friend. Yes, you heard me right. Without the pain of the working muscles, you won´t get very far. I know it´s really hard and especially for beginners, but part of the process is feeling the pain, fighting it and really starting to love it. When you begin, you´ll feel really awful working out, I´m not going to lie to you, you´re going to want to quit. But the key is to force yourself to keep on going, because it´s going to pay of. Pain is temporary, pride is forever. And: Pain is weakness leaving the body forever. Think about that. You´ll feel reborn after you´ve really fought the pain and have completed a hard workout. The sore muscles the day afterward are the result of you working hard and your muscles regenerating. You are going to love that soreness, I promise you!
When you´re getting started, try different things, you may not like Pilates, but yoga is so your thing. Or the other way around. Find things that you enjoy, that make you feel alive (after dying;-)).
- A next step could be making yourself a workout planner or following a pre-designed one. Really planning every workout, so even on days when you feel real crap, you´ll have to workout: make it an appointment with yourself. One you can´t move around or reschedule. That way you can build the discipline you´ll also then have for tasks that aren´t connected with doing sport.
When you´re making yourself a planner, choose your favorite workouts, take a normal year planner and plan away. I like taking two really hard ones and one “easier” one. If the two hard ones are Workout 1 and 2, then my planner would look like this: Day 1: Workout 1, Day 2: Workout 2, Day 3: Workout 1, Day 4: Workout 3, Day 5: Workout 2, Day 6: Workout 1,.. You get the idea. You can also “rest” a whole day if that fit´s you better. But if you want my planner, I´ll be making for the coming month, I can post it, just let me know! You can also follow other planners. Do whatever you feel best with.
Those were the basic steps I recommend for starting the journey of a healthy life. I hope it helped, if it did, please let me know by liking! You can also follow my blog now, without being logged into WordPress, just click the “follow”-button on the bottom right and you´ll be informed of new posts of mine via e-mail!
All the best to you! You are amazing!
(Smoothies Part 2 will be coming soon! I just got a new blender and now I´m busy making all kinds of smoothies!)