This picture with 30 Seconds To Mars was taken in April 2010
I've really seen a difference in how I carry myself now compared to January. This is easily one of the best ways to help beat depression. I used to feel trapped that I could never look the way I felt and would constantly look at other girls I admired style wise and knew that I could never look that way without a hope and a prayer. You may have heard it in an infomercial, but it's definitely true: This is not about dieting and spending hours upon hours at the gym (I haven't needed a gym since I started!) but a lifestyle change! Diets are temporary and normally lead you to over eat after they're done. This is a change you're making for your health and overall well being.
So here are the things that I have learned this year so far that have helped me conquer my eating habits and lack of exercise and have led me to lose almost 50lbs!
Tip #1: Don't Start By Making Hard To Reach Goals!
When I started working out and kicking my poor eating habits to the curb, I wanted to set a goal for myself. I always knew that the end goal would be losing around 50lbs but I didn't want to keep the number 50 in my head at first because that is a HUGE goal to set for yourself when you're just starting out. So, I started by trying to lose around 10lbs a month. It relieved some of the pressure off knowing you have a lot of weight to lose but going for it at a reasonable pace. I didn't have the opportunity to be on The Biggest Loser (I wished! lol) so I knew I just wouldn't be losing a crazy amount at first so I went at my own pace with a small number in mind.
It's also important to mention that you need to give yourself time! You can't expect to lose a lot of weight within a short amount of time! Your body needs time to adjust to its new eating habits and work out routine. It's easy for us to compare ourselves to celebrities and their abilities to lose weight super fast and think we can do the same but what you may not realize is that it will cause some serious implications! First they're in the gym for hours every day and eat like mice! lol.. They have an image to uphold for the sake of their careers that isn't exactly something for us regular people to look up to. It's not natural to drop a lot of weight within a month or two. Once you get going by doing it the right way at your own pace you will notice that your body will adapt to the changes and lose weight on its own time!
I started working out in February because I knew I wasn't going to be showing skin anytime soon and I was hoping by summer time, I'd have the body that matched the way I felt on the inside! Whether you're aiming to lose 10, 20, or 50lbs, remember to pace yourself. Set small goals for yourself that will eventually lead you to accomplish your bigger goals in the end!
Tip #2: Find Something To Inspire You!
When I started, I clipped a few outfits that I liked out of fashion magazines that I wanted to use to help me strive for. This is not to say that I couldn't wear a couple of them in the state I was in before but I would not have been comfortable in putting myself out there in an outfit that hugged my curves in all the wrong places. I knew I needed the confidence to wear them and the right body type to show them off well.
I would always dream of a wardrobe as big as Carrie Bradshaw's in Sex and the City but knew I couldn't pull off half (or not even close to a quarter!) of those outfits she boldy wore but I let it motivate me to strive for it.
You can also keep pictures of inspiring people close by while you're working out to help give you that extra push that you need. My mom is an inspiration to me and I've turned to pictures of her to push me to better myself and not give up.
Have you been imagining wearing that itty bitty string bikini on the beach one day? Or finally wearing those amazing skinny jeans that you've had your eye on for a while but don't think you can pull off just yet? Clip it out of your magazines and make it visible to you when you're exercising and eating right. If you have inspiration around you to help you stay comitted to your goals, you're definitely on the right path to success!
Tip #3: Find Out What Workout Routine Works For You!
If you enjoy running or jogging, start doing it. If you like cardio but can't afford to go to a gym or sign up for classes, buy a workout dvd. The ones I enjoy doing are by Jillian Michaels and the Insanity workout program. It's very important to find out what works for your body type and metabolism. I used to do strength training to lose weight and that did absolutely nothing for me! And make sure to exercise for at least 30 minutes as that's when the body starts to react to what it's doing. And try to workout at least 4-6 times a week. This will speed up the weight loss process a lot faster as opposed to only working out 2-3 times a week.
Commitment is CRUCIAL in this step as this is what will get the blood flowing and the weight loss in motion. If you have big occasions coming up where you think you might be eating a lot, don't let that stop you, just add an extra workout into that week to prep you for the extra calories that will be consumed. It's also very important to push yourself to make the best effort possible during each exercise because this will get the blood pumping and the sweat dripping which is what you need to lose weight.
Tip #4: Eat Very Well!
I was a huge junk food lover and would normally have chips and dip (regular rippled chips and dill pickle dip was my fave!) or candy each day of the week. I loved how it made me feel in the moment but after eating it I would immediately regret it. In order to start your fitness journey, you NEED to cut it out. If you workout and eat junk food, you're basically fighting against all the good you did for yourself because the calories you burned were replaced as well as doubled.
I wanted everything tempting to be out of the house when I first started so I would never have the urge to eat badly and have something close by to fuel it with. Fruits and veggies are really the best things to eat followed by chicken. I'm ALWAYS eating fruit and found that it really did satisfy my sweet tooth. If I needed something sweet and tart, I would go for pineapple or strawberries. If you love ice cream and absolutely don't think you'll be able to live without it, then go for something from Skinny Cow. I've had some of their stuff, even though I'm not that big on ice cream, and it's quite good.
My favourite veggies to get are the frozen packages from Green Giant Essentials. They range from ones specifically for providing antioxidants to fibre. They are great and an affordable option for anyone that doesn't have the time to buy produce to combine it all together. I'm also a big fan of salads! My favourites are spinach and mixed greens. The darker the leaves are, the better it is for you! If you make it a habit to eat mainly salads or veggies for dinner, you are going to get to your fitness goals faster.
If you're a meat lover, go for chicken or turkey. Keep eating steak to a minimum and if you love bacon, eat turkey or chicken bacon instead. I've also bought extra lean ground beef for meals as well. Look for Extra Lean though!! This is a great move to make health wise, since you've shaved off a ton of fat and calories that would've been in that meal you were planning to have!
Try to avoid carbs at all costs if you can. Go for whole wheat pasta if you need to have it and limit the bread that you eat to only whole grains. White bread and rice are terrible for you, but I think you already know that!
Tip #5: Monitor How Much You Eat!
This will be hard to do in the beginning since you'll probably be craving what you're used to eating. Try to downsize your portions of things and slow down your eating as well. You may find that you feel hungry when you're actually thirsty! I haven't tried to count my calories but I've made it a point to monitor what I was eating during the day and how much. I've also cut down on snacking. I usually only eat 4-5 times a day and the portions are smaller than what I was normally accustomed to.
If I happen to be around sweets or chocolate, I make sure I don't go crazy with it. I will have a little bit of it if I really want it. Don't push yourself to have something that you know deep down you're not in the mood for.
Tip #6: Make Water Your New Best Friend!
Drink it all day, every day! I cut out my love for pop. I was a huge fan of Cherry pop (I seriously love any pop with cherry in it) and had to give it up in order to commit. That's not to say that I've never drank any since, I will drink Coke Zero on the weekends (500ml bottle) but never a bit 2 L bottle of it. I replaced my love for pop with my new love for water. Do you realize how good it tastes after a long workout?! If you can't stand water, then drink flavoured water and drink 8-10z of it every day. I used to have UTI's all the time but now that I mainly drink water, I haven't had one in more than 6 months! Even when I'm drinking something carbonated on the weekend, I always make sure to be drinking water with it. I know alcohol is a concern for a lot of people since it's something they enjoy having quite a bit during the week. But, if you limit it and chase it with water, you're definitely helping yourself stick to your weight loss goals!
Tip #7: Stay Informed On Your Progress!
I started by measuring myself every couple weeks to track my progress and then started weighing myself weekly. You don't have to do any of this as often as I have, but it's important to keep updated on how your body's been changing. This will help give you some insight on what has been working for you and what hasn't. It is also a mega confidence booster! I know it's easy to beat yourself up over seeing a number you may not like pop up on the scale, but just commit to doing better during the next week. It's in your best interests to keep going and not give up then to let one moment of weakness prevent you from attaining your goals. Mark down your progress on a calendar or a notebook. Sometimes, however, constantly worrying about what it says on the scale is not a good thing. Because you are going to be gaining muscle as you build your cardio and strength, so if the numbers on the scale or the measurements aren't changing the way you'd like, remember that you're body is adjusting and muscle weighs more than fat!
If you think you might need to record your calories in order to stay aware and keep track of your calorie intake, then go for it! To find out how many calories you need to have each day, you can check out this website. In cases like this, ignorance is definitely not bliss and could take you right back to where you started!
Tip #8: If You Slip Up, DON'T Give Up!
So, you slipped up and gave into that craving for a Quarter Pounder with Cheese and super sized fries and drink. Or you just couldn't miss out on a night with the girls and ended up drinking more than you had anticipated. The first thing that's going to pop into your head is "Well, I've screwed up already, might as well keep doing it!". NO, NO, NO! The last thing you want to do is give up! Whether you might short or long strides towards your goals, it is important to keep going!
Did I mention that when I started my new lifestyle change that it was RIGHT before my birthday? I planned to go out for my 25th birthday and have a good time, which meant that I'd be drinking A LOT! I went out to dinner and ate what I wanted, then pre-drank before going to the club where I drank some more. Yes, I felt guilty about it.. but I just kept on truckin'. Thankfully I didn't own a scale at the time, so I didn't know exactly how bad my drunken weekend was. If you slip up, please don't head for the scale to find out the results of it! That's going to be an immediate downer when you need to just continue on and let it become a thing of the past.
I don't want to advocate that you should never indulge in your sweet tooth. It's good to have that day out of the week where you can give into your weakness. Just try to stick to having one or two days off maximum. I know there's no way to get through this without having some chocolate or chips here and there but keep it to a minimum!
Just remember, if you do have a moment of weakness where you end up eating more of the bad then the good, DON'T let it stop you from achieving your goals. Just take it as a learning experience and move on from it.
Tip #9: Make Sure The Company You Keep Is Supportive!
This is a very important part of this lifestyle change because those around you are most likely going to influence you to do well or poorly. If you really want this for yourself, you're not going to let them interfere with your progress. You can tell them, whether it be a boyfriend or friends, to support you during this time and to limit eating junk food or drinking around you so you can stay on the straight and narrow path. My husband enjoys eating chocolate and chips but I had him limit eating it in front of me in the beginning. He still eats that stuff now but it doesn't bother me now the way it would before.
Tip #10: Fight For It!
It was a constant struggle for me a couple years ago when I started trying to lose weight up until this past January. I couldn't keep myself motivated and determined to stick with it and I'm sure this feeling resonates with a lot of you guys as well! But let me ask you a question if you're thinking about taking this step towards a healthier and happier life but are unsure: If you can't do this for yourself, for your own well being, then who are you going to do it for? You really need to fight for change for yourself because we've all got one life to live and we shouldn't be living with many regrets especially something like this. Every morning when you get up an extra hour early to work out before getting ready to go to work and you're having second thoughts; fight it! If you've just came home from work and had a miserable day and can't fathom the idea of working out when you feel so miserable; fight it! I don't think I could count the times when I would waste time debating on working out and realizing it was time wasted when I could've gotten some exercise in to feel better! Exercising releases endorphins in the body and instantly makes you feel better. Fight the negative thoughts that make you want to give up because in the end you're only fighting against your own happiness and making a better life for yourself!
And these are my top 10 tips for achieving your fitness goals and becoming a healthier and happier you! If you would like to see another fitness post about my work out routine, then let me know in the comments section or by shooting me an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Whatever your decision may be after reading this (long) post, I hope I've at least inspired you to not give up on yourself and your goals. If you need to make this kind of change in your life for the sake of your own health and well being, don't let negative thoughts and people stop you from living the life you dream of living :)
Disclaimer: **I also wanted to mention that results are different for everyone. This post is about my experiences and what has worked for me during my lifestyle change. It all depends on the amount of time and effort that is put into it WITHOUT going overboard!**
"The worst loneliness is to not be comfortable with yourself" - Mark Twain