It seems to me that many individuals are seeking a healthier lifestyle, but struggle with where to start. Some questions I often hear are: Is it bad that I eat this? What should I start eating? What’s the best work out?
In my opinion and based upon my own experiences, I believe that there are 5 great places to start. There are no overnight fixes, but if you implement these small changes, then you will be on the road to forming habits that will serve your health, not hinder it.
1. Stop cold-turkey or ween yourself off of soda.
-I understand what it’s like to have a routine with what you drink (I’m a coffee drinker). That said, I also understand that some people fail at quitting soda cold-turkey. Whichever way you choose to stop drinking soda, do it. It’s worth it–and there are plenty of alternative drinks that are chock full of nutrient dense wonderment. Swap the soda for Kombucha, coconut water, or something as simple as adding lemons & limes to your water.
2. Fill your refrigerator with food you would be proud of eating.
-There’s nothing that will enable you to keep making poor food choices more than having that food around you all the time. Shop for good, whole, real food. Think: vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, plant based milk (coconut or almond milk), free range eggs & grass fed beef. Also, find a non-gmo protein powder that you like and keep that around for a quick protein smoothie. Buy organic when you can.
3. Practice the 90-10 rule.
-Nothing turns me off quicker than hearing about over-obsessed eaters who are on the verge of a full blown mental disorder because of their relationship with food. The point is not to fear food, it’s to focus on good food and eat that the majority of the time. Aim for this: 90% of the time, eat the good stuff–like I listed above. The other 10% of the time, let yourself eat dinner out at your favorite restaurant, or enjoy a glass of wine with your significant other. It’s about balance, not being neurotic about food.
4. Find a fitness routine that you have fun with.
-There’s a great quote for this one; I can’t say it better than Laird does:
“Fitness doesn’t have to be a duty. It doesn’t have to mean charts and graphs and heart rate printouts. It should be a pleasurable part of your life, and it should include things that you do purely because you enjoy them. Fun is an ingredient that people often forget in their fitness program.” -Laird Hamilton (professional surfer and world-class athlete)
I can tell you first hand that I have not been a runner since a young age because it’s a chore that I must do. I run PURELY because of how it makes me feel. I feel happy, relieved, de-stressed, empowered, strong and revitalized every time I run. Nobody else has to understand why you do what you do, or why you run 10 miles a day, or why you spend hours in the gym. The important thing is that YOU are being true to what makes you happy in fitness. So, find a routine that makes your inner light shine and do it daily. Turn on your favorite music, dance a little if you want to, and challenge your body. 🙂
5. Don’t forget to lift weights. (this elaborates on #4)
-I think this one is incredibly important because of my own experience with lifting. So, here’s a story:
I have been an athlete for as long as I can remember, training for various sports. The running aspect of my training was always easy for me–I went out and did it because, at the risk of sounding corny, it fueled my soul.
However, I knew that I “should” be lifting too.
But, I didn’t enjoy it as much. I was so stubborn. I thought, “I like to run, it’s good for me, so that’s what I’m going to do. Screw lifting.” Luckily, with age I’ve become increasingly less stubborn about fitness. I am more open to new things if I believe they will truly benefit me.
About a year ago, I started lifting. I mean, REALLY dedicating myself to lifting–making it a priority. I lift every day now, with a rest day every week or so. Despite being sore and feeling a little weak at first, I almost immediately felt stronger and more powerful. My body started to change, I was becoming a bit leaner.
But, how could I be enjoying this process? I didn’t like lifting. My point in all of this rambling is that sometimes if you step outside of your comfort zone or what you think you’ll have fun doing, you’ll be very pleasantly surprised. You’ll find out that you grow to love it because it is positively impacting your body.