So you want to get fit/healthy/lose weight, but you just aren’t sure how or where to start?
It can be a scary thing, making a huge life change, but trust me, it’s worth it. I’m here to share with you 5 tips and tricks to make the process of changing your lifestyle less scary and daunting and more exciting and inspiring!
First things first, I am NOT a nutritionist, doctor, trainer, or other medical professional. I am simply a regular person who looked at a picture one day and couldn’t believe she was looking at herself.
Here is that picture:
This picture changed my life. I simply could not believe I was looking at myself, that this was what everyone else saw when what I saw in the mirror was so much different.
Anyway, that was my turning point and here I am now:
Here’s a little side by side:
What started as simply a diet for me has become a lifestyle. Through a combination of healthy eating, working out, and cheat meals here and there, I have shed approximately 50 lbs and then went on to add another 10 back of muscle.
I am CONSTANTLY asked what I did, what program I used, what I eat, etc…. which I love and is one of the reasons I started this blog. I WANT to share what I did because it is so life changing and I hope that others can follow.
So, without further ado, here are my 5 tips and tricks to getting started in those first few weeks of your new life.
1. Find your inspiration piece
I love this tip. For the first year of my journey (yes, the whole year) I had a bathing suit hanging in my room. It was a bathing suit that I had ordered because I loved it so much, but when it came it was too small. So there it hung, very visibly, in my bedroom where I could always see it and would periodically try it on. It was that constant reminder of my fitness goals.
For you, this could mean an old piece of beloved clothing that no longer fits or a new purchase that you are working to fit into! I don’t suggest using pictures, especially not of others. This is about you getting to your healthiest body; Not about you attaining someone else’s healthy body. Also, it helps to have something you can try on so that you can physically feel your progress. It can get pretty exciting!
I would share a picture of my inspiration piece, but I no longer have it because it’s actually too big now!
2. Educate yourself about what you are eating: Start looking at food labels and learn your necessary caloric intake!
So, in the beginning I was eating so many things that I unknowingly assumed were healthy and good for me, but were not necessarily so. Or, I was eating way over the specified serving sizes.
This includes eating incredible amounts of hummus (yum) on pita chips. So delicious! But not necessarily healthy, especially not if you are actively trying to lose weight.
Also, peanut butter. I just love peanut butter and, assuming it was healthy (which it can be), I was eating as much as I wanted rather than checking the serving size.
Pay attention to those labels and be aware of those serving sizes. Watch the calories in different foods as well as the sugars, sodium, and fat. Try to find foods with a greater fiber content than sugar (yogurts especially, watch those yogurts!).
Something else important to do is to learn your necessary caloric intake. Seriously, just google it. You will be able to see how many calories a day you should be eating in order to lose weight. It differs from person to person based on your height and current weight. I think for me (5’2), I ate about 1250 calories daily and lost about 1.7 lbs per week for the first few months!
3. Get your heart rate going during those workouts!
I’m sorry to say, but just putting on workout clothes or stepping into the gym won’t start melting off the fat or building the muscle.
It’s going to take work. You will sweat. You will be sore. You will probably want to stop no less than ten times during your workout in the beginning, but don’t.
I see so many people making the same mistake that I made in the beginning: low intensity cardio. Get that heart rate moving (at a healthy rate of course) with some high intensity and interval workouts! I usually go with a hill or random option on the cardio machines. You can switch it up during your workouts, but if you aren’t tired or sweating, then you need to get it moving in order to see results! An hour cardio routine on a level one will not have the same results as 30 to 45 minutes on a level 5 or more using a hill routine or some other interval workout.
So, the lesson is, don’t forget you are working out! Keep it moving and get that heart rate going and sweat dripping!
4. Buy yourself a cute workout outfit (or two… or three!)
Who doesn’t love new clothes?? Remember when the first day of school rolled around and, as much as it pained you for summer to end, you just couldn’t wait to show off those back to school clothes?!
Think of your workout clothes the same way. Whether you are hitting the gym, jogging through the park, going to a workout class, or even staying home for your workout, it helps to be excited to get those clothes on and get started.
Even now, when I hit a slump where I’m not so psyched about going to the gym, I treat myself to a new workout outfit. Then, I’m so excited to wear my new outfit, that I HAVE to go!
Now, workout clothes can get a little pricey. All of mine for the most part are from T. J. Max and Marshalls. They have a phenomenal active wear section with very reasonably priced clothes. I take my gym wardrobe very seriously because nothing gets me more excited than a well coordinated outfit!
5. Utilize your social media
This is my most important tip for those first few weeks. I cannot express how truly helpful it was to utilize both Pinterest and Instagram as launching points in the beginning and even now!
Pinterest is phenomenal to just educate yourself in the beginning about what foods are actually healthy, how to cook and portion nutritional meals, and workouts for different parts of your body. I suggest creating some boards to get you started for each working out and healthy eating.
It can be overwhelming at first. I suggest beginning with Popsugar (type it into Search). They have great workout routines that I still incorporate into my routines today. They are also step by step and super easy to follow either at home or in the gym with clear pictures and instructions.
Instagram is my favorite way to learn new workout routines and get inspired. There are so many fitness gurus posting workout videos daily it sometimes almost feels like you have your own personal trainer! Personally, I like being able to watch workouts in action in order to see how they are done.
Simply type “fitness” into search on your Insta and scroll through the different pages until you find people who you can relate to. You will get a feel as you go for users who you gear more towards.
Once you follow one person, Instagram will automatically suggest other similar users. Check them out! You can never add too many in the beginning.
There are also lots of great pages that highlight healthy eating. Be sure to add those too!
Also, bookmark the workouts and foods that you want to try. That way you won’t be in the gym trying to remember what you saw. You can quickly go into your bookmarks and check out that new exciting workout you simply can’t wait to try!
All in all, these are my 5 tips and tricks to getting started on this lifestyle change. They will hopefully make the transition a little smoother, less stressful and scary, and more fun and exciting!
It might not be easy, but it will be worth it.
I hope these tips help get you started and stay tuned for more advice on what to do once you are on your journey!
Please let me know in the comments below how these tips help or if you have anymore to add!