Think back 7 months ago to your New Year’s health resolutions to get healthy and now think about where you are right now on those goals. Don’t worry, you’re not the only one who hasn’t even thought about those goals in months.
Obviously, the beginning of the year marks making promises to get healthy, lose weight, and work out like a maniac. The beginning of the year is a great time to make these goals. It feels like a fresh start but it shouldn’t matter what time of the year it is to make changes! You can have that new start anytime of the year. It’s never too late or the wrong time to get healthy and fit. I’m not excluded from this either. I have phases where I’m super motivated to work out every day and plan out my meals. There are also times when I eat out all the time (and stuff my face with burgers, pizza, or fries) and don’t incorporate any fitness into my day.
These are five tips I use on a regular basis when I’m feeling like I’ve fallen off the wagon and need to get back to a healthy lifestyle.
The idea here is to track what you’re eating, what you’re doing throughout the day to be active, how much water you’re drinking, and even how much you’re sleeping a night. There are multiple ways to do this. I prefer a phone app but you can also use a journal or Word doc. Use what works for you!
I use My Fitness Pal to track all my meals in conjunction with a Fitbit. One of the first things to go when I’m in an unhealthy phase tracking and wearing my Fitbit. Once I’m in a healthier mindset I make sure to charge my Fitbit and, when I take it off to shower, always keep it next to my outfit so there are no excuses. Wearing my Fitbit helps me also remember to track my meals and water intake. For the most part I don’t count calories but it does help me reflect on eating habits and what I can to improve.
Keeping track of everything, even for a week, opens your eyes to your lifestyle. Then you can start figuring out how you can better yourself and get closer to your goals. For example, having those numbers on my wrist makes it hard to ignore that fact I don’t move very much while I’m working or at school. I then make a conscious effort to walk around during breaks or fit in a workout if I can.
Find your workout style
I think this is especially helpful if you are getting into fitness for the first time or if you are trying to get healthy after a long break. Try out at home workout programs like Blogilates, Tone It Up, or BeachBody. There are so many options that I’m positive that there is something you will be interested in out there. You can also head to the gym equipped with instructions on how to target various areas of your body and how to do those exercises. You can find gym programs online easily and many provide guides you can print out or reference on your phone. Finally, try out fitness classes if you have option at exercise studios or your gym.
This will help you find what you’re interested in, and what motivates you to finish the workout and keep going back. What motivates me are group fitness classes. Not only do the instructors demonstrate the moves in front of you but they can correct your form. They’re also a huge source of motivation and the other people around me make me want to work out as hard as I can. By the end of a class I feel like I worked out way harder than by myself.
Buy a membership/workout with a friend
This ties into tip two and your preferred workout method. Last year, I signed up for a membership for a gym right by my house. They only offer classes and that’s all I need; I don’t need the equipment or other services in addition to this since I won’t use it. By paying for it, I’m forced to get my money’s worth, especially as a poor grad student! Even though I slacked for a few months, looking at my bank account quickly got me back at the gym.
If you don’t have the money for classes or a gym, get a friend to workout with you or keep you accountable. Even if they’re across the country, you can check in via text on eating healthy and working out. You’re a lot less likely to let that person down since they’re going to hold you to your goals. If they live close by, work out together! It makes it a lot harder to cancel, they’ll be pretty mad if they’re the only one at the gym and waiting for you.
On Sundays, I plan out my whole week or at least my to-dos. I pull up my Google calendar and Wunderlist, my to-do list app. I also reference my gym’s schedule and put in the classes I think I can make it to for the week on my calendar. This way I have no excuses and I know I work out x times that week. When you have a million other things you need to do and haven’t planned, it’s super easy to put off the workout and not go. This is one of my biggest obstacles when trying to get healthy. If you plan ahead, you’ll know where you can fit in a workout in your schedule. Of course, things come up and you might not be able to make it but you know you have a more workouts coming up.
We all know not to go to the grocery store when you’re hungry; you will buy things you don’t need out of hunger… but one thing that gets overlooked is making sure to have a list. Whenever you’re planning your week, think of what you want to eat so you have list to reference. This way you won’t be at a loss on what to eat since you have the ingredients for a meal or two already. Also make sure your being realistic. I know that I don’t always have time to cook so I buy healthier pre-made options instead of eating out. I also buy what I’m craving in moderation so I don’t deprive myself and end up binging on something else.
You might have slacked off the last few months but tomorrow is a new day! You can get healthy again anytime during the year so don’t be afraid to start back up.