Every year, on January 1, we vow to make the year ahead our healthiest and fittest yet! But somehow that resolve disintegrates as the days, weeks and months go by, and life starts “getting in the way."
Start fresh in 2014 and follow these simple tips to help you stay on board your very own fitness bandwagon! You can do it!
1. Get real.
Wellness doesn’t happen overnight, so be patient with yourself! Long-term results are best achieved through small, gradual changes. Want to lose 10 pounds? Aim for ½-1 pound a week. Want to run a 5K? Start by running 1-2 miles every few days. If you go all out and push yourself too hard, too fast, you may find it difficult to maintain new habits and end up giving up altogether.
2. Make a date with yourself.
You’re busy, understood. Assess your schedule and figure out where exercise can fit into it. Even when things get really hectic, there's always a little time to spare somewhere. Then make dates with yourself and stick to them. When you’re overwhelmed by commitments, routine can help you stay on track.
3. Keep it fresh.
No matter how and when you choose to move your body, it should be enjoyable and for the purpose of celebrating it, not punishing it. Hate the treadmill? Try a Zumba or Bar Method class. If you're already going to the gym regularly but find it hard to stay motivated, try something new to revive your resolve and boost your fitness level.
4. Pair up to pare down.
Ask a friend or your significant other to go on a hike with you or to join you for a yoga class. Having a “partner in crime” not only makes exercising more fun but it also helps keep you accountable… Even better, research shows that couples who work out together develop a stronger bond.
5. Have a plan B.
Last minute obligations are bound to pop up on occasion, making it difficult for you to stick to your gym routine and other healthy practices. Be prepared for those moments by keeping your running shoes under your desk or in your car, and stash some nutritious bites in your purse.
6. Give yourself a break.
Everyone gets sick once in a while or has a totally crazy-busy day. When going to the gym is the last thing you feel like doing or you couldn’t resist that mid-afternoon brownie, don’t beat yourself up! Tomorrow is another day. And remember: moderation is the key to healthy and long-lasting results.
7. Ditch fad diets.
Fat-free snacks, 100-calorie packs, energy bars… These so called “health foods” are not real foods. They're addictive, chemical and preservative-laden products that con our brains into thinking we're full, yet leave us feeling ravenous again in no time.
8. Instead of fake, overly processed “diet” foods, eat real foods.
Make sure they're made from fresh, whole, minimally processed ingredients. And lastly, never starve yourself. Restrictive eating slows down your metabolism and deprivation only leads to cravings and future binges.
9. Pay tribute to H2O!
For peak performance and energy, and to reduce cravings, drink plenty of water, or other unsweetened beverages like green tea throughout the day. Aim for two big bottles a day.
10. Dream on.
It’s called beauty sleep for a reason. Skimping on sleep can work against you and cause weight gain by raising appetite-stimulating hormones, such as cortisol. Besides, the better rested you are, the more likely you are to get up and hit the gym! Aim for a minimum of 6-8 hours of precious slumber a night.
11. Spoil yourself.
Whether it’s dropping a dress size, running an extra mile or trying a new exercise class, celebrate each milestone you reach. Regular post-workout treats, like a latte or a mani can motivate you to exercise longer and more frequently. The key is to remember to keep these small and healthy so you don’t cancel out all your efforts!