Make this year your best yet!
The holidays and football season are behind us; you’ve had an entire month to settle into your New Year’s resolutions, get your matching workout gear and join the gym. Now, it’s time to get started. Yes, we’re all familiar with the annual routine of saying, ‘This is the year; this is the year I get my lifestyle, diet and exercise underway.’ Well, I have news for you. This really is the year! Last March, I decided to make some simple lifestyle changes. I’ve lost 30 pounds, and I’ve never felt better. Here are some simple tips that will get you started on the right track.
First, don’t be drastic. In order for any program to work, it needs to be a realistic lifestyle change that can be sustained forever. This is true for your exercise regimen as well as your diet. If you have not exercised regularly before, it is not realistic to imagine that you will exercise two hours per day, seven days per week for the rest of your life. Develop a realistic workout schedule that works for your lifestyle. Determine if it will be mornings or evenings, and commit to working out three to five days per week.
Second, consider getting some professional help to get you started. A personal trainer is a great resource who can educate you on the proper way to workout, determine what will work best for your body type and help you develop a good routine. For the budget conscious, you can do group training sessions as well as doing a short-term commitment with a trainer just to get you started.
Your diet is the most important factor in developing and living a healthy lifestyle. Some people believe that they can eat whatever they want because they work out regularly. Those people are wrong! I am not a fan of very strict and regimented diets, because they are unsustainable. I suggest being sensible and reducing things that are not good for you. It is also important to allow yourself the infamous cheat day, where you allow yourself to have whatever you want. The cheat day gives you something to look forward to, instead of going off your plan regularly.
When I made my lifestyle change in 2014, I instituted a 5-2 dietary plan. Monday through Friday, I removed alcohol, red meat, starch, carbs, fried food and sugar. During those days, I consumed a lot of fruits, vegetables and lean meats (such as seafood, chicken and turkey). When the weekends came, I indulged in whatever I wanted. This schedule made it easier to maintain discipline during the weekdays.
It is also important to have someone with you for the ride. Ask a friend, spouse or colleague to join you with these lifestyle changes. Doing it as a pair or as a team makes the process much easier, as you can all encourage and share your results with one another.
Let’s all get healthy together in 2015! Remember the basics:
Consider professional help.
Create a realistic dietary plan.
Allow cheat days.
Bring someone along for the ride.