We’re easing out of the New Years motivation and lots of resolutions are still sticking. But how far is too far when you’ve drastically changed your daily routine? Being healthy is a great aspiration but part of being healthy is listening to your body and recognizing its needs. Not every person is built the same so not every person will react to diet alterations or cardio in the same way. Here are 5 ways you can rest assured and know you’re doing all the right things for the new, healthy you without falling into the pit of obsessive fitness habits:
1. The key to fitness is the habit behind it.
When it comes to exercise, think long-term. Body builders are not created in a lab overnight and having the expectation of such a quick change is an unattainable goal. Look at P90X, the Fit Girls Guide, Insanity; those are all programs that last for an extended period of time. They start out slow then incorporate more resistance and endurance as the days go on. Following a pre-made routine or creating one around your own desires has to have longevity.
2. Calories aren’t the enemy!
They make energy for us to function. Decreasing the amount you consume at a rapid rate, especially all at once, will deplete your body’s energy levels causing fatigue, sickness, headaches, lack of focus, and it could get a lot worse. A diet is a very fickle thing. “Diet” does not mean you merely eat less or only have raw foods. Webster’s Dictionary defines diet as “food and drink regularly provided or consumes”. If you eat 3 meals a day, have a couple of snacks in between, enjoy a milkshake, but walk to and from your daily activities, taking out all but those three meals will not be good for you. Focus on removing bad things from your diet. Do you snack on fresh fruit or do you eat a bag of Lay’s? Replace processed foods for natural ones. Cut out dessert a few days of the week. Small changes will have your body responding smoother to the change.
3. Water is critical.
It is recommended that we all drink a half-gallon a day. Staying hydrated is key for working out so that when you sweat, you don’t pass out. When you have a food craving or are feeling tired, don’t jump to a chocolate granola bar or latte; have a glass of water. It will give your mouth and digestive system a fixation. Think of it is a trick you’re playing on your body; it thinks it’s getting something, and it is, but that something is H2O instead of MetRX100 bars.
4. Listen to your body.
Any feeling of dizziness or tingling is not the good type of pain. If you have a workout buddy, make sure you’re honest with them if you’re not feeling 100%. You don’t want to mistake feeling weak from hunger with feeling weak due to lack of muscle. You do want to feel the burn of biceps growing and the exhaustion in your lungs from a great sprint. The difficulty level will get lower over time. When it seems easy to do your workout, you should switch it up or add an extra set.
5. Do not listen to Instagram!
Kayla Itsines is so great! But she is not you and she is not me and we should not expect to be her overnight. Self-esteem is HUGE for mental well-being which is a part of being healthy. Even though it cannot be measured, it’s important for a healthy person to be happy with themselves. What you can track is your weight and measurements. Record your stats regularly and look back at it when you feel down. This is what is going to make you feel better! There will be no extreme results that you can merely look at each morning. When you look at your reflection each day, you don’t see the slight shifts in size or shape. Having a record of it will keep you motivated. Seeing your friends and family next time you’re home will be a great testimony to all your efforts.
Healthy goals and a smart lifestyle are so important! But stay realistic. All of the obsession over scheduling your life around the gym or what to eat each day of the week doesn’t make for a fun life. And what’s the point of giving yourself the gift of a long healthy life if you’re going to be so strict instead of enjoy it?