We’ve all tried, or know someone who has tried a diet, or a New Year’s resolution to help them get healthier. However, it ends up being a train wreck, and if we’re honest, sometimes pretty entertaining to watch. There is a major reason that New Year’s resolutions, diets, and other new trends don’t work – they have an end date! Imagine if Rose from the movie, Titanic, said “I won’t let go… until I get bored,” instead of the quote everyone loves, “I’ll never let go, Jack. I promise.” If she said the first, the movie would be ridiculous, just as diets and new “promise you’ll get healthy trends are ridiculous. The truth is, diets aren’t what help you become healthy, the h
1. Eat to live, don’t live to eat.
It’s said that abs are made in the kitchen. If that’s true, then health is also made, or destroyed in the kitchen. When we view food as an energy source and have a better understanding of how it affects our bodies, we have a greater chance of using food as a resource, and not simply a taste bud satisfier. The first habit you should try to ingrain is that food is meant to help sustain you, and satisfy your bodies needs, not just your appetite. This will require some rewiring of your brain, so be patient, and work on changing your eating lifestyle, not just trying a diet. So next time you’re in the mood for some sugar, think about how it will affect your body, not just how it will taste, and remember that you should eat to live, not live to eat.
Pro Tip: Count your calories for an entire month with an app, such as My Fitness Pal. This will help you get a good picture of what you should change with your eating habits. Then, use a calorie calculator to help you know how many calories a day you should be eating to achieve your goals.
2. Set SMART goals for yourself.
One of the reasons that you see the gym get crowded every January and then fizzle out after a month or two is because people either lose motivation, lose track of their goal, or don’t know what to do next. To help against this, try and consistently set SMART goals for yourself. These should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relative, and Timely. For example, instead of having a goal of losing weight, have a goal to lose 10 pounds in 8 weeks by going to the gym 3 times a week, and eating 1,500 calories a day (only an example). When you use a SMART goal, it’s easier to stay motivated because you can track your progress much easier. Then, once you smash that goal, set a new one. The worst thing you can do is give up after hitting your first goal.
3. When exercising, get your heart rate up.
We’ve probably all seen the person who comes to the gym and is doing all of the right exercises but is on their phone the entire time distracting them. They never put out enough effort to raise their heart rate. Whether you’re a fan of cardio or weights, make sure you’re doing exercises in a way that increases your heart rate to at least 140 beats per minute and is consistently over 100. This will help burn fat, increase endurance, and get you to the level of fitness you want quicker.
4. Get plenty of sleep.
This is the one that I think most everyone can really get behind! When you work out, whether that’s cardio or weights, tears in your muscle will occur. These tears are what make you stronger. There are two ways to really help your body repair these. The first is your nutrition. Healthy eating increases the rate at which your body repairs your muscles. However, the second and just as important is your sleep. Your body will mainly do these repairs while you are sleeping. If you don’t get enough sleep or are constantly having your sleep interrupted, it is much harder for your body to repair itself. So while you’re working towards a healthier life, don’t neglect your sleep!
5. Take time to plan outside of working out.
Stress releases toxins into your body which can make it harder to lose fat, concentrate, and focus. So make sure you take time out of you day to plan your day or week. This helps you feel like you have a little more control over your schedule and allows you to prioritize certain tasks. When you feel like you have more control, are able to accomplish important tasks, and see that you’re sticking to a plan, stress tends to dissipate. So instead of waiting until the last minute to do forgotten things, take a few minutes and get a plan together so you’re ready to conquer what lies ahead.