Get In The Best Shape Of Your Life With These 4 Basic Principles

Photo: @jenniferdene

I’m a celebrity trainer and health coach, and my goal is always to get my clients feeling optimally healthy, strong and energized, and confident in their bodies. At our initial meeting many of my clients think that to get in great shape they need strict eating plans or crazy-intense workout routines, so they are surprised when I tell them that my approach doesn't involve either.

Instead, I've learned through years of experience that the best way to live a truly healthy and abundantly happy life is to follow the basic principles of whole-life wellness. These are the techniques that I use to help the best in the biz stay in tiptop shape, and today I’m going to break them down and show you how to add them into your everyday life too.

Principle 1: Get back in the kitchen.

Home cooking is the cornerstone of healthy eating. Preparing your own meals is the only way that you’ll know what’s on your plate and going into your beautiful body. We all have particular foods that best suit our unique nutrition needs, so by cooking at home you can choose those ingredients on a regular basis, and use them to upgrade your favorite comfort food dishes! The act of cooking is also a form of moving meditation; with just a little practice, chopping, sautéing, and even washing up becomes a mindful and relaxing part of the day.

Put it into action: The easiest way to approach home cooking is by choosing just two or three simple dishes to cook each week—preferably with six ingredients or less. Some of the healthiest people I know eat the same few things day after day because they know they're tasty and make them feel good. You can also make a double batch of each meal, which gives you delicious leftovers and cuts back on the amount of time you spend in the kitchen.

Principle 2: Move your body in a way that feels good.

Fitness must be fun to be sustainable, and moving your body shouldn't just make you look great on the outside; it needs to make you feel great on the inside as well. Daily movement becomes a joyous experience once you find activities that you really enjoy, and yes, that gives you permission to stop the burpees if you really hate them! It’s also important to supplement your routine with functional exercises that keep you strong and supple for the long run, which is why I love Pilates and mobility work, as well as hiking and dancing.

Put it into action: Start by thinking outside the traditional fitness box. Movement includes everything from ballroom dance lessons to gardening, which means that you don’t need a gym membership to get in great shape. Make a list of the types of activities you enjoy doing and schedule them on your calendar; plus, inviting a friend along adds accountability and makes it even more enjoyable.

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Principle 3: Connect with your real-world community.

I have to admit that I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with social media. It’s wonderful for keeping up with friends and family, making new friends, and finding inspiration, but on the other hand, the overuse of apps like Instagram and Facebook can have a negative impact on your self-esteem and self-worth. Even if you know that these images are the "highlight reel" of someone’s life, they can still make you feel disillusioned and disconnected from your own. While you probably don’t have to do a social media detox, you must designate time each week to connect with the people around you in person. Once you do you’ll notice a boost in your mood, energy, and personal sense of fulfillment.

Put it into action: While this may seem like an overly pragmatic suggestion, it really does work! Make a list of all the people with whom you’d like to connect on a regular basis, then choose three names from the top of the list and reach out to them this week with a phone call, a Skype date, or an in-person meetup. Move these names to the bottom of the list, and the following week you can choose the next three. Depending on how many names you have, you will hopefully get in touch with each name each month.

Principle 4: Remember that self-love is key.

Here’s the kicker. The only way that you’ll successfully create a healthy, happy life—and commit to things like home cooking, joyous movement, and real-world connections—is by believing that you deserve it. Self-love is what empowers you to embrace life, trust your gut, break up with negative habits, and give back to the world in a truly authentic way. Until you learn how to do this, the other wellness pillars won’t stand a chance. So whether you need to break up with your negative self-talk, upgrade your personal care routine, or get comfortable saying no to others and yes to yourself, it’s time to start exercising your self-love muscle.

Put it into action: Making a commitment to self-love is just like forming any other habit, which means it’ll take time and repetition for it to become second nature. To get started I recommend showering yourself with one act of loving kindness every single day. This may include saying beautiful words to yourself, smiling at your reflection in the mirror, accepting a compliment, taking time for relaxation, or even having a long, luxurious bath. If you’d like help getting started on your self-love journey, please join me in my free four-day self-love challenge.

Diets and deprivation are not the answer to living your best life and loving the skin you’re in, so try implementing one of these four pillars today and let me know how it goes!

Are you stuck on the roller coaster of deprivation and crazy-intense workout routines? Here's how to take health less seriously and why breaking the rules can actually help you lose weight.

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