My Healthy Lifestyle Essentials

My Healthy Lifestyle Essentials

This is the first year I have ever made New Year’s Resolutions. I had a list of goals for many aspects of my personal life – to improve my finances, my career, and, like every other person in the United States of America, my health and weight.

I hate to be a cliché, but like so many others, I knew I needed to make a change when it came to my lifestyle and health. I was in a rut – an almost 27-year-long rut if I’m being honest. I’m not an athletic person. I never had much confidence in my ability in sports, and although I was on soccer and basketball teams growing up, I was never a star player.

Being an adult has been liberating. No more gym class! No more forced exercise! For a while, my metabolism could keep up, but sometime after I got married my habits got the best of me. It turns out that being a foodie who isn’t into exercise isn’t really the best combination. I hopped on the scale on December 31, 2014, and saw the largest number I’d ever seen in my life. It was time to make a change.

My husband is a super athlete. He played and excelled in every sport in high school. He’s a state champ racquetball player, and played basketball, football, and baseball growing up. We couldn’t be more opposite in this regard! Since becoming an adult, he’s tried a few different workouts and diets over the years, including a stint on P90X when I was in college. Since he was far more of an expert than I am, I turned to him for advice about setting realistic goals and finding a plan I could stick to in the longterm. Luckily for me, he agreed to stick to the plan with me!

When you lose 15 pounds in a matter of a couple of months, people generally ask you how. Turns out that it isn’t rocket science. I don’t have a gym membership, I’m not into weight loss supplements, and we haven’t changed where we shop for groceries. It really is as simple as this: eat healthy and exercise.

That can be easier said than done, though. Luckily, there are lots of tools that can help us out while we try to make smarter decisions. Here are the things that have helped me along the way. Although we haven’t always been perfect about always sticking to the plan, I am still in the best shape of my life thanks to these tips

Get a fitness tracker.

I know, I know, they’re a bit expensive, but they’re totally worth it. I have a sedentary lifestyle – I wake up, sit at a desk for 8 hours, take my dog on a walk, and sit on the couch to watch RHONY until I go back to bed and do it all over again. Some days, I only get 1,500 steps by the time I get home from work. My goal is 10,000! Although I don’t hit my goal every day, my Fitbit Flex motivates me to get moving – even if it’s just by parking in a spot a little further away, or taking the stairs. Every step counts!

Take note of EVERYTHING you eat.

I recommend creating an account on MyFitnessPal right now. Seriously. MyFitnessPal calculates how many calories you should eat each day based on your current situation and your goals. The app contains a HUGE database of food from restaurants to the foods you’d cook at home. Resolve to log every meal, snack, drink…no matter how bad it is. It has changed the way I view food. As my husband likes to say, it’s all an equation – calories in vs. calories out – but it’s more than that, too. This app lets you know if you’re over on sodium and sugar, or if you’re low on iron or potassium. It truly has helped me make better decisions about what I eat.

Start Blending

I’m not a big fan of breakfast before 10:30 a.m. I’m not a morning person, and feel sick at the thought of eating so early on work days. Plus, my life is hectic – I need something convenient that I can take with me on-the-go. I have thought about juice for a while, but I don’t believe in spending $13 for a small bottle of juice, nor do I believe in spending $500 for a juicer. So, for my birthday in January, I put a Nutribullet on my wishlist – and I couldn’t be happier that I did! Every morning, I load my smoothie up with all the good stuff – lots of kale, plain Greek yogurt (don’t use flavored – it adds lots of processed sugars!), frozen fruit, and coconut water. The smoothie is the color of an avocado, but it tastes delicious – I even made all of my coworkers smoothies one morning to prove it to them! The ingredients are inexpensive and the smoothies kick start my metabolism with lots of protein, iron and nutrients. Look for deals on this little blender at Sam’s Club.

Work on Your Fitness.

This was the part that embarrassed me and scared me the most. On January 1st, I couldn’t do a single push up. Not a one. I was so discouraged. Listen: if you’re in the same boat, keep at it! What I didn’t realize, as a novice workout-er, is that you can build up strength fairly quickly. I started doing body weight exercises 2-3 times per week, with tips from my friend Kim of Kim Hardewig’s Boot Camp (she has a great e-newsletter!) and some free videos from Turbulence Training that I found online. They kicked my butt, but I got so much accomplished in just 30 minutes of exercise. I saw noticeable changes in my body within 2 weeks (and was able to do multiple push ups in a row!) I also started going to hot yoga classes at Modo Yoga and Body Alive and fell in love with the feeling I’d get after completing a class. I’m still a beginner yogi, but I think I may have finally found my “sport”!

I know it can be hard to stay motivated, but with the tools above, I’ve found that it a little easier. I’ve learned that knowledge really is power – it’s so important to have tools that inform you about your health and encourage you to make good decisions in the long term. It’s also so much easier to have a partner on the journey to good health – nothing beats that kind of encouragement and motivation!

Do you have health and fitness goals this year? What are your healthy lifestyle essentials? How do you stay motivated in your healthy lifestyle?

Until next time,