It should go without saying that a fitness journey is just that. A journey. It’s an on going process and I hope that it will continue to remain that way. It’s no secret to those close around me that over the past couple of years, coming up to three now, I have been increasingly more involved with my health and fitness. Like many others, my initial intention was weight loss, and whilst I did achieve that, it soon became a stepping stone to a whole new lifestyle entirely. I’m no expert in fitness and can’t say I have a coaching qualification of any sort but what I do know, I’ve learnt from first hand experience. Having said that, here are some things that I feel are vital for everyone to know and some things that are not quite vital but certainly quite helpful.
- Losing weight is about changing your lifestyle.
It sounds like i’m just saying what everyone else says but honestly if the goal is to lose weight then what do you do when you’ve reached that goal? Do you just stop everything you’ve been doing? The healthiest way to lose weight requires a change in your lifestyle, because you’re essentially getting rid of what’s bad for you and replacing it with something that’s good. There are no shortcuts because if one day you decide to stop then all those bad habits pop back up and your efforts are wasted. I believe the key to losing weight is to start by changing your lifestyle in small ways so that you are forming new habits, good habits, that eventually will make the biggest difference to your life. For example, drinking hot/warm water when you wake up. Eating a banana each day. This is a change regardless of how small and it has such a profound effect. You’re giving your body something good or you’re doing something good for it and it knows it. In return, your body rewards you with little accomplishments, like if you get your 8 hours sleep you feel less lethargic. The same goes for exercise. If you decide you are going to work out it can’t be one intensive week at the gym and then two weeks off, your body will understand that it was just a one time thing and you’ll wonder why nothing’s changing. You won’t see any changes through inconsistency. Build a routine that is constant and continuous. You could maybe decide that you’ll go to a group exercise class three times in a week at a time that fit around your schedule. Make it so that your body is so used to the new habits you can’t live without them. Trust me, when you do something good for your body you will feel like you can’t live without it. As you eventually build new habits your body will adjust in wondrous ways because you’re treating it right.
2. Lifestyle means commitment.
I hate to say it because it seems quite obvious that some form of commitment is required if the term lifestyle is used and yet this is the hardest aspect of getting and staying fit. Sometimes I think the prospect of failing in the middle, missing a workout, binge eating, is what stops people from going for it in the first place. I’d be lying if I say I haven’t done it myself, but once you throw away the idea that you’re going to fail you’re pretty much ready to get started. You’ll realise soon enough that when you miss a workout, or when you end up binge eating, it’s not a failure it’s all part of the process. If you do ever binge eat, you need to tell yourself that no matter what, the routine that you set yourself up for is still in place. Once you’ve gotten into your lifestyle of good habits the little bumps along the way won’t even make a big difference because when you’re back on the treadmill you’ll realise that it was more like a treat for you than a disaster. Throw away the idea that somewhere along the way you’ll give up. If you’re committed then trust in yourself that you can stay committed for the rest of the journey, because you really can. Remind yourself every time you miss a workout, that it’s because you wanted to relax and not because you couldn’t be bothered. If you weren’t bothered you wouldn’t have started in the first place. Really commit to living not only a healthier but a happier life.
3. The very essence of lifestyle, is time.
Surprise surprise, everyone’s favourite tip. I feel that this point is very underrated. It doesn’t seem to stick in anyone’s mind despite how many professionals, amateurs, anyone who knows anything has said it. People hear this and they dismiss it. The reason why I am even attempting to share this point is because I found that it is so, so, important to first understand and accept that losing weight takes time. Think of losing weight as a healing process because in theory it is. Imagine all the bad habits you’re stuck in as bruises, cuts and broken bones. Instead of beating your body to a pulp in a second the only difference is you’ve done this slowly and painfully. You’ve slowed your bodily functions down so that they work inefficiently and you’ve damaged your body to the point that you’re bed ridden. The only way to recover is to be patient with yourself and your body’s healing time. You’ve beaten yourself up but you know for sure that one day you’ll be able to stand again and you’ll be as good as, if not better than you once were,but this doesn’t happen in a day, a night, or even a week or two, because you have to train. You’re training your body to get into the best possible physic it can be in and training means constant, continuous effort over a long period of time. It’s not always easy and it’s not always fun but if you want to feel golden again you take the time to go through each step carefully so that it’s golden and only golden that you feel, nothing else.
4. Spend your time doing something you love.
When I first started working out, the only kind of exercise that had me motivated was Pilates. I hated any kind of cardio and to be fair kind of still do because my stamina is atrocious. I also found that I preferred working out on my own in the comfort of my room so that I could do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. This happened to be the one of the most important decisions I had made (after commitment and all.) At the time, Pilates was something that I genuinely loved doing, I didn’t like going to the gym, running the treadmill or generally any kind of running, I didn’t particularly like lifting weights either. I found joy in simply doing Pilates by myself. I say simply but anyone who has done pilates knows that it gets pretty hard. The point is, I found that following Pilates videos online was the best thing for me because not only did I enjoy the workouts I could see it was making a difference, I started noticing changes and that made me feel good. Feeling good with what I was doing made me want to keep doing it and this drove everything else in my life that I mentioned above. A year or so later, I noticed that whilst I enjoyed pilates, I had become so used to it that I could no longer feel its initial effects on me. The really sweet muscle pains and the sweat drops down the forehead. So I tried out other things like indoor cycling, swimming and body pump classes. The trick is that once you’ve got a routine down, you can try a variety of different methods of working out and find one that really makes you love working out. If you love what you do, there’s nothing to stop you from doing it and you always have something to look forward to. If you get bored with what you do then you know that there’s something you have to change.
5. When you’re doing something you love you will feel happier.
As cheesy and as cliche as it sounds, it’s quite literally the biggest lesson I’ve taken away from the whole process. I now find that keeping fit, exercising, eating good foods is something I can’t stay away from. It’s formed a part of my identity and I make sure that whatever I’m doing, I always have time to take care of my body and that’s all because I feel a whole lot happier knowing that I’m doing something right. After persevering through it all the changes are that much sweeter so just know that you have something to look forward to and that whilst the climb is incredibly tough the view is completely worth the while.
The tips below will hopefully give you a little kickstart.
6. Drink Green Tea.
I never imagined that there’d come a day when I’d say that I love green tea, but those days have come. I think I may have gotten the idea from a youtube video or videos for that matter but when they say that green tea detoxes, it really does. You only need to drink one mug in a day, and it’s got a bitter taste so adding honey, or lemon will give it a bit more flavour. Like I say these are just tips, so feel free to carry on having your standard black tea with milk if you wish. I started off having a mug a day and that’s now turned into at the very least three mugs a day because I feel it’s effects and I feel incomplete without it now.
7. Drink a cup of warm honey and lemon infused water in the mornings.
Drinking this on an empty stomach straight after you wake up works wonders. You instantly feel refreshed. If you have any sinus problems it clears your nose and chest and it’s extremely helpful to your digestive system if you know what I mean…
8. The clean pee trick.
By pee, I literally mean pee. I have to admit I heard this one from Cassey Ho, “Blogilates” on youtube. It was such an old video but I still remember watching it quite vividly and it’s stuck with me since. So if you’ve heard of drinking eight glasses of water and you can never stick to it then maybe try sticking to this. Just keep drinking water until your pee is clear. Essentially, urine is the toxins inside your body being released and if your urine is a clear transparent colour this is inevitably a very good sign. From experience I can say this works, keep drinking water, stay hydrated, especially if you’re working out.
9. Do not go on some special kind of diet.
If you’re eating and working out regularly and healthily then you will not need to change that. Diet by definition means the food that you eat. You just have to be aware that the foods you are eating are not detrimental to your health. So quite undeniably if you’re eating KFC breakfast, lunch and dinner then yes, you need to change your diet. However, if you’re having a cereal that contains chocolate ingredient then there is no harm done I promise you. That being said you’d be a bit reckless if you had a whole packet of cookies for lunch and a packet of crisps too.Is it detrimental to your health? Yes. Because of the sugars and fats. You can have a chocolate bar in a day but is it really necessary to have chocolate chip cookies too? Everything in balance is alright – it’s funny that I’m saying this but that pie chart (excuse the pun) for a balanced diet they showed us back in primary school, well that pretty much applies to reality.
Details of a balanced diet can be found by typing it in the google search bar. Have fun.
10. Restore your energy.
There used to be days where I would work out and not have a substantial meal to eat afterwards and this really worked against me. I didn’t do it on purpose, mostly I was just careless, nevertheless although it’s obvious it needs to be stated that not eating enough whilst working out regularly can make you tired, at times more tired than you used to be when you didn’t work out, so make sure to eat a snack after you work out and then a good amount of food for each of your meals.
I hope that these few tips help in some way or another and I would be happy to answer any questions you may have about either what I’ve written or just in general about my fitness journey. I wish you all the best on yours.