We all know that we need to exercise more, eat better and set some goals for ourselves. Sometimes it takes a little “extra motivation” to actually follow through on these recommendations!
The bottom line is that most of us know what to do. We just need a little push in the right direction to actually do what we know. I have been down this road and I know firsthand that having someone to encourage and motivate you, along with a solid plan to change, makes a world of difference. With that in mind, here are some of my best strategies for making lasting changes.
Set Goals – You will be amazed at what you can accomplish with a clear goal and a firm deadline ( or lifeline, as I like to call it.) It’s also vitally important to remain focused on the reasons you have decided to change.
Get Support – There is strength in numbers. It’s harder to make healthy changes when people around you are not willing to do the same. Most people list uncooperative family or coworkers as a reason that they give up on their attempts at living healthier. Any group of supportive people will do, but for extra motivation you may want to join a group of people with similar goals or join one of our free classes.
Prepare Ahead of Time I pack my meals each day, along with the water I need, and I advise everyone I am coaching to adopt a similar strategy. This way, they won’t be tempted to succumb to unhealthy temptations from the vending machine.
Eat Your Veggies This is the mental shift we need to make most in America, taking the emphasis off of processed and refined foods that are virtually devoid of nutrients. Vegetables also take up more space in the stomach and have fewer calories so they fill you up and allow you to lose weight more easily.
Eat more often Most people eat in response to hunger, which causes a dip in blood sugar and a craving for unhealthy food for a “quick fix.” This is what keeps the fast food and junk food industry going. I eat each of my meals and snacks before I get too hungry. A good way to lose weight is to feed your body a steady stream of nutrients throughout the day, that way you won’t get so hungry in the first place.
Prioritize Protein – Adding some protein to your meals will help you feel full and sustain you longer than carbohydrates alone. It also minimizes the body’s production of insulin. I recommend lean meats, eggs, and low fat dairy (cultured if possible.)
Train Consistently – Exercise provides the activation energy to get the ball rolling with weight loss and muscle gain. Anything is better than nothing, but for the best results strive for a minimum of three hours of exercise each week. That’s about 30 minutes a day.
Perform cardiovascular and resistance training If you simply restrict caloric intake in an effort to lose weight, the body will lower it’s resting metabolic rate and the body will break down muscle tissue. Resistance exercise, or strength training, prevents this loss of muscle tissue. I recommend weight training and cardiovascular exercise at each session, but you could also alternate your training days. This is a one-two-punch that knocks out stubborn body fat! The body relies on energy from stored carbohydrate called glycogen. Once the carbs are depleted through weight training, it begins to utilize stored body fat more quickly during cardiovascular exercise. This kicks fat burning into high gear!
Keep these simple strategies in mind and you can begin making great progress towards a happy (and healthy) holiday season.