Today I want to talk to you about some of the initial changes you can start to make to get you off to the best possible start on your health and fitness journey. Some great initial steps involve movement, nutrition and mindset changes. You don’t, by any means, need to do all of these at once but all aspects are important in making long lasting lifestyle changes.
1 – BECOME MORE ACTIVE IN GENERAL
It’s essential, in doing this, that you remain realistic about what you can do to begin with. If the idea of full workouts or even long walks are a little daunting right now, just start making a more conscious effort to become a more active person in general. Every bit counts and you can take baby steps if need be – whatever feels right for you.
Each week just aim to be a little more active than you were the week prior. The more active you become, the easier it becomes to build upon it. Consistently building on your fitness over time is always better than going too hard too fast and burning out.
2 – BECOME KINDER TO YOURSELF
You really need to lose the all or nothing attitude. It’s hard to get rid of. I totally get that but it’s essential that you wave goodbye to this kind of thinking and start being nicer to yourself.
If you have a bad day, if you skip workouts, if you go a bit overboard with a night out – all is NOT lost. It’s not the end of the world and you absolutely haven’t failed. We’re working on a lifestyle change here, not a short term, quick fix. There will be ups and downs, we’re living real lives in the real world. Things won’t always go to plan.
Getting angry at yourself for things you have done that cannot be changed isn’t at all helpful. It’s not worth the energy. Draw a line in the sand and move forward in trying to be the happiest, fittest and healthiest you possible. You’ll be surprised how much impact a change in this attitude can have.
3 – SLOW DOWN
When we decide we want to start doing something about our health and fitness, it’s very easy to just go crazy and just launch into doing everything at once. It’s important, though, that you stay realistic and sensible. You need to be sure that you can maintain the changes you are making without running yourself into the ground.
Take the time to set proper goals and try to focus on just 1-2 changes at a time. It’s not a race. You’re far better off changing a couple of things for the long term than your whole lifestyle at once for a far shorter time.
Take the time to think about what YOU would really like to achieve. It’s really not about anyone else. It’s your journey, your rules. What do YOU want to achieve?
4 – STOP DIETING
This is probably one of the most important ones! Dieting in its traditional form just doesn’t work. If it really did work, it would have worked the first 50 times we tried it. It’s just not sustainable in the long term and can seriously mess with our minds and bodies.
Instead of ‘dieting’, start eating more mindfully. Start being more conscious of the decisions you are making around food and eating but ditch the food rules and ‘good’/’bad’ labels. When you feel physically hungry, stop to think about what you think would really satisfy you rather than automatically choosing the ‘good’ option. When you feel satisfied (as opposed to overfull), stop eating.
We want to be working toward following our natural cues for hunger and fullness rather than following strict rules that we have accumulated across our lifetime. A great resource to learn a whole lot more about an appropriate that doesn’t involve dieting, check out a book by Dr Rick Kausman called ‘If not dieting, then what?’. Can’t recommend it highly enough.
5 – SURROUND YOURSELF WITH THE RIGHT PEOPLE
Making changes to your lifestyle can be quite a challenge. As I mentioned before, there are always ups and downs. It’s super important to surround yourself with the right people. Positive people. People who will cheer for you when you make progress and people who will support and pick you up when things feel like they’re turning to crap.
I can’t emphasise how much difference it can make to have positivity in your life. And how much it can drag you down if you are bombarded by negative all the time. If you don’t have any positive, supportive people in your life, see if you can find a group of people who are in a similar position and are facing similar challenges. Come and chat to us over on our Facebook page if you’re not sure where to start.