Getting into shape is something that many of us plan to do during our lives, often on multiple occasions. You may have chosen ‘lose weight’ as your new year’s resolution, or maybe you have just become sick of feeling unfit as you go about your daily business. Whatever it is, making this decision to transform your body and up your fitness levels can only be a good thing, right? By taking care of your health (and it’s just you who is responsible for it) you can ward off a whole range of different potential health problems and hopefully live a longer, happier life as a result.
But what many of us find that it’s not quite as simple as just cutting out all the rubbish food from our diets and heading to the gym four times a week. Doing both of those things is going to help you lose weight of course – but you need the motivation to make those lifestyle choices in the first place. When it comes to health and fitness, many of us are happy to talk the talk, but do we actually walk the walk? There are plenty of reasons why actually putting these good resolutions into practice is not quite as straightforward as a lot of us think it will be. Work gets in the way, running a household gets in the way, we’ve had a bad day and just want to curl up on the couch rather than go on a three-mile run… the list is endless. What this all boils down to is that really, your mind can be your worse enemy in the fight against the flab. If you’re not goal-focused, you will soon find yourself making up any excuse under the sun in order to avoid an after-work gym session. Do you really want to get yourself into shape and embrace a whole new you? Here’s a top tip: it all starts with your mind.
In order to have any hope at all of losing weight or building muscle (whatever your fitness goal is) you are going to want to first make sure you are knowledgeable about what will work for you. If you are still eating processed food and doing the same few exercises every so often, you can’t expect to achieve the kind of results you’ve set in your head. Take the time to educate yourself about what kind of food is good for you, and what types of exercise you need to be doing.. There is so much information out there these days that there isn’t really any excuse for poor lifestyle habits. Watch some health-focussed programs on TV or use the internet to read up on what kinds of things you need to be paying attention to. The Exact Formula for Weight Loss is a science based solution, which includes simple math and a bit of discipline. Read it, stick with the program and achieving your ideal weight and maintaining it for life is all but a guarantee. You can also use other sources to fill your head with relevant information, such as social media or the websites of professional fitness bloggers. Just remember to take some of these outlets with a pinch of salt, as not all of the fitness and lifestyle bloggers will be qualified dieticians, nutritionists or personal trainers. Becoming educated is about giving yourself access to the facts, and then you can choose to move forward in whichever manner you wish.
Know your urges
In today’s modern and fast-paced world, most of us don’t really think about our actions all too much. Many people fall victim to simply going through the motion, creating habits as they go – some of which can end up being pretty detrimental to a healthy lifestyle. For example, if you’ve worked solidly through the morning, you may tell yourself that you deserve a treat at lunch, and then you pop out of the office to grab some fast food. Or, perhaps you know that when you have a particularly rough day at work, you flop onto the couch the second you get in and have a couple of glasses of wine. There isn’t anything wrong with either of these things: unless they have become habits. Habits form very easily, often without us noticing, which is why they can be so hard to get rid of. Try and be a bit more mindful of your actions that relate to food and exercise. If you find yourself canceling a gym class or heading to the drive-thru on your way home, ask yourself why that is. Often we can get into bad health habits because of emotional triggers such as stress, anxiety or sadness – even boredom can lead to over-eating and long nights binge-watching Netflix from your bed. You can visit websites such as 101nootropics.com for more information on how your mindset and emotions can affect your health and fitness, both positively and negatively. When you notice your mind heading towards a specific urge, make a point of intervening. It will take practice, but by recognizing your urges and being able to act on them, you will put yourself in a position to make much healthier decisions.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
We live in a very strange society where asking for help is often regarded as a sign of weakness. Many people embarking on a journey of health and fitness will try to do the whole thing themselves; only to find that it is way too difficult and that they fall off the wagon quickly. This can be incredibly demoralizing, so never be afraid of needing a bit of help with the lifestyle you want to live. In fitness terms, you may want to hire a personal trainer as someone who can give you sound exercise advice and who can also hold you accountable for your training. Food-wise, buddy up with someone at your workplace who you can go for healthy lunches with. After all, there’s nothing worse than trying your best to eat healthily, and then someone cracks open a tin of cookies at 11 am! Having someone else by your side can help you keep much more motivated as you will be emotionally invested in their progress as well as yours.
Set realistic expectations
One prime reason for many people falling off the fitness wagon is that they set unrealistic expectations for themselves. Ever looked down at yourself after a week of doing sit ups and wondered why you don’t have a six-pack yet? Or, on the other hand, did you think you would be at the gym every night after work despite already leading an extremely busy lifestyle? Set realistic expectations for both your body and for the time you are going to be able to dedicate to working out/cooking from scratch. A good idea is to start small, and then build your way up. Practice a few easy meals to get yourself started and aim for three workout sessions a week, not necessarily six. That way, you can celebrate each little milestone which is great for your self-esteem – much better than diving in headfirst and then feeling like you have failed when it doesn’t work out. As far as physical results go, pay attention to your body. You might not have lost a great deal of weight yet, but do you feel fitter? Stronger? Can you see great muscle definition on your back and shoulders? If so, you’re doing something right – be patient and the results will come!