Easing Back into a Healthy Lifestyle

A HOW TO GUIDE

by Rebecca Solomon
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Beginning any new task is daunting, particularly when the end goal appears unforeseeable.  When the final aesthetic goals of fitness seem far away, people turn to quick fixes such as fad diets and unsustainable workout routines in an attempt to ‘fix the problem’.  These decisions can take a toll on any person both mentally and physically.  But the good news is… there is a better way! No diets, no crazy workout routines, instead, the adaptation of a new lifestyle which will gradually and sustainably help you achieve your goals. The following are some tips and tricks to help the modern (and BUSY) women/man achieve his/her health and fitness goals.

Make a Workout Schedule

Both resistance training and cardiovascular exercise are needed in my opinion. Cardio such as walking, running, and spinning burns calories and helps in the maintenance of proper heart functioning. However, resistance training which is often overlooked is equally needed for the maintenance of a healthy weight.  As you age, the body’s bone density and muscle mass deplete. To maintain proper metabolic function, weight training is imperative! Building strong muscles means burning more calories at rest, ultimately resulting in a healthier body weight.  For beginners, I recommend at least 2 days of weight training a week along with at least 3 days of cardiovascular exercise.  While this may seem like too much time, you can combine the two activities! Moves like jump squats and burpee’s get your heart rate up and your muscles burning!

 Change up your routine

Fitness does not have to be boring! Keeping fitness fun will not only improve your adherence to exercise, but it is actually proven that changing the FITT (frequency, intensity, time, and type) of your exercise routine will yield better results.  For fun workouts ideas check out my Instagram page @bodyby.becca. 

The ’80-20’ rule- Flexibility is Key

The ‘All or Nothing’ mindset is inherently destructive.  You don’t need a 1 hour workout or a perfect day of clean eating for it to “count.” No one is perfect and your healthy routine won’t be either!  I use the ’80-20’ rule when discussing healthy lifestyle habits with clients. Meaning, 80% of the time you make consciously healthy decisions (intuitive eating and exercise) while 20% of the time strict adherence is not necessary.  Just as one good meal won’t make you healthy, one missed workout wont make you unhealthy!  I have found this strategy to be attainable for both myself and clients; in turn, resulting in the greatest rate of long term success. Eat the ice cream once and a while, it won’t kill you.  Mental health is just as important as your physical health!

Macronutrient Essentials

No, you don’t need to count calories or macronutrients, but awareness of what is going into your body is key. In order to look and FEEL your best, the body requires all three macronutrients: carbohydrates, protein and fat. Try to include all three categories every time you sit down for a meal. If you miss one during one meal, make up for it the next! Again, flexibility is key.

Examples of carbohydrates include: vegetables, grains, fruits.

Examples of protein include: chicken, salmon, quinoa, beans.

Examples of fat include: avocado, nuts, olive oil.

*** Note that the caloric value of fats is necessary but DOES add up fast, so I recommend measuring out these foods before consumption.

Drink Water

Tip: drink a full glass of water before every meal to help curb your appetite.

The benefits of water consumption cannot be reiterated enough! Drinking water promotes weight loss by removing the by products of fat from the body. On top of that, it fills your stomach, helping you differentiate between real hunger and thirst, which your body can misinterpret as hunger.

Take a Well Rounded Approach to Fitness

The benefits of eating well and adopting healthy lifestyle habits go far beyond the physical. The mental changes you experience are immeasurable. Of course, the specifics vary depending on the person. From my experience, I have less self doubt and stress, along with more energy, confidence, and happiness since adopting a healthy lifestyle.  Unknowingly, these benefits manifest much more quickly than the physical goal and seep into all facets of your life: relationships, work or school, and social life. Being consciously aware of these changes will help you appreciate this amazing journey and the progress you have made so far. 

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