The good news about falling off the bandwagon of an attempted diet, is that you can always learn from your mistakes. Everyone who has ever tried to get into shape, (or back into shape) can attest to just how difficult it is. Luckily, now that you know what doesn’t work for you—you can find something that will. Getting back into shape and living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t always take a gym membership, but it does take steadfast commitment. Here are 8 steps to get you back on the right track and kickstart your fitness and weight loss regimen.
1.) Set specific goals—To avoid making excuses, you need to have a solid plan that you can immediately put into action. Be incredibly specific with your weight loss and fitness goals so you can create a timeframe as well as an approach. Having concrete and measurable goals in mind will allow you to focus, and work hard to achieve them. Write down your specific goals both long term and short term (whether they be lose 20 lbs, or run for 20 minutes straight). Having these goals in mind is essential to getting back into shape.
2.) Inspiration and Support—To truly stick to your eating and exercise plan, you will want to find good sources of inspiration and support to keep you going. Your source of fitness inspiration could come from anywhere—your children who you want to have the energy to play with, quotes and sayings, religion, or even motivational mantras to write down and repeat to yourself each day. Find something that speaks to you, and will remind you of the healthy lifestyle you are working toward. Likewise, having a support system that can motivate you to stick to your fitness goals is essential in getting back into shape and being able to sustain your routine. Family members and friends who care about you, will always be there to lend support when you need it.
3.) Clean up your diet—Getting back in shape means changing your eating habits as well as your exercise routine. You gain muscle through exercise, but lose fat through what you eat. Whatever your goals are, you will want to focus on eating balanced meals with protein as your main source of your energy. Cutting out certain foods entirely, or cutting a large amount of calories each day is not recommended because this can lead you to overcompensate later, and gain the weight back easily. Making a lifestyle change by watching portion sizes, as well as including important vitamins and nutrients is essential to a healthy diet.
4.) Drink a lot of water— It is estimated that almost 20% of our daily calorie intake comes from the beverages we choose. An easy way to work toward becoming healthy again, and to feel better all around, is to cut out high calorie and sugary drinks. Aim to take in 8 tall glasses of ice cold water everyday. This will help regulate your digestive system, burn more calories throughout the day, and keep you feeling full.
5.) Find things you like to do—Exercise is enjoyable and fun when you find something that you actually like to do. Whether it is swimming, playing a sport like soccer or volleyball, or even practicing yoga—figure out what is enjoyable to you, and you won’t realize you are burning calories. You will be much more dedicated to an exercise regimen if you look forward to your workouts each day. Try including a friend, taking a new class at the gym, or trying online videos. Don’t let your workouts get boring—that’s when you’ll find excuses to skip them.
6.) Work out smarter, not harder—Getting a seriously awesome workout in does not mean that is has to last an hour. You will increase fitness and get back into shape more quickly if you focus on intensity rather than duration. Improvement comes from pushing yourself; and you will be more inclined to go work out if you mentally prepare for a shorter workout. Try a HIIT (high intensity interval workout) which is short, sweet and to the point. Also, always look to switch up your workouts so your body does not get used to just one exercise.
7.) Rest day—Getting back into shape and sustaining a healthy lifestyle requires a plan that you are able to stick to for a long period of time (if not forever). Rest is just as important for a healthy body as exercise and diet are. Your energy levels cannot work hard and fast for long periods of time; and if you injure yourself, it is likely you will fall out of shape again. Prevent burnout by allowing yourself a day of rest for your body to recover from your exercise and workout regimen.
8.) Make it a habit—You should not think of getting back into shape as a short-lived routine or diet. Being fit and healthy is a complete lifestyle change, so rather than viewing new eating habits and exercise routines as a sprint, think of them as a marathon. Make time for exercise each day, and incorporate eating good foods as a daily habit. Focus on progress rather than perfection. Baby steps to getting back in shape will help you live an over all healthier lifestyle.