Kickstart your new healthy lifestyle with these 30 simple tips
Sick of feeling tired and rundown all the time?
Sick of being overweight or feeling self conscious?
Finally running out of excuses?
Over trying everything to get in shape only to fail every time?
Well, I understand. That was me too.
During my late teens and early 20’s I would spend almost every single weekend partying. I was drinking up to 1500 calories every Saturday night, doing the mandatory 3am Maccas run and of course the greasy seedy Sunday breakfast. Eventually it all caught up to me. I was 10kgs overweight, unhappy and always felt like crap.
In 2014 I knew it was time to do something about it, so I got a gym membership. I’d had gym memberships in the past, but like most girls when they start out, I had no idea what I was doing. I mainly just used the cardio machines, and of course was not seeing any results as I was out drinking every weekend. This time was different though… I started doing weight training and absolutely fell in love with it. I started eating healthier, stopped drinking alcohol and lost 10kgs. I then developed a passion for helping others feel good about themselves by creating a healthy lifestyle through good nutrition and exercise. Last year I enrolled in a course to complete my Certificate IV in Fitness. Now, as a recently qualified personal trainer I am excited to help people improve their lives and reach their goals!
It’s never to late to start living a healthy lifestyle. Here’s a few steps to get you started..
1. Set realistic goals
Goals such as “I want to lose 10kgs in 10 days” or “I am going to go to the gym for 2 hours every single day” are not realistic. Sit down and really have a think about the goals you want to achieve and write them down. Make goals that you can see yourself achieving. If your goal is to lose weight, losing 10kgs in 10-20 weeks is much more realistic and attainable. If your goal is to improve your cardiovascular fitness, a goal of working our for 30 minutes, 5 times per week is realistic and attainable.
2. Start slow
If you’re not in shape, do not enjoy exercising or have been inactive for a long period of time, it is important to start slow. The goal is to get in to the habit of exercising, not to do intense workouts. Going for a 15 minute walk a few days a week is a great starting point. Go as fast or as slow as you need. Each week make your walk a little more challenging, whether it be increasing the frequency, intensity or time.
3. Work out with a friend
Exercising alone can be boring, so find a friend with similar goals and work out together. Your workouts will be fun, and you will feel much more motivated
4. Walk ‘n’ talk
Instead of catching up with your girlfriends for a coffee or breakfast date, organise a walking catch-up. You’ll burn calories, feel great.. and it doesn’t cost anything!
5. You don’t have to run to get fit
If you hate running, don’t run. Find a different type of exercise you enjoy. Whether it be swimming, dancing, kickboxing, cycling, team sport… the list is endless. Just get moving!
6. Workout in your living room
If you are short on time, don’t have a gym membership or are not quite yet comfortable working out in front of other people, working out in your living room is a great idea! There are tons of different exercises you can do with little to no equipment. Squats, lunges, calf raises, push-ups, sit-ups, planks, burpees and mountain climbers are some great bodyweight exercises you can do in a small space.
7. Join a gym
Struggling to find motivation to workout at home? Then consider joining a gym. From as little as $12 per week you can have access to all the fitness machines and equipment you could ever need. And the fact that you’re paying a weekly membership fee may also convince you to use it more often.
8. Lift weights
Weight lifting is not just for guys. Weight lifting has many benefits, especially when it comes to weight loss. It burns heaps of calories and increases your BMR (basal metabolic rate) which means you will still be burning calories up to 24 hours after your workout. Weight lifting is great for your bones and joints, lowers blood pressure, improves posture, reduce stress and improves energy levels. And no, lifting weights will not make you bulk up like a man.
9. Join a bootcamp
Signing up to a bootcamp is an excellent way to kick-start a new exercise regime. Very challenging, but fun at the same time! And it’s a very affordable option if you can’t afford a personal trainer!
10. HIIT IT!
Short on time? HIIT (high intensity interval training) is a great way to burn heaps of calories in a short amount of time. HIIT involves short intervals of maximum intensity exercise, followed by longer intervals of low intensity exercise. An example of this would be sprinting for 30 seconds at your maximum effort, and then walking for one minute. If you’re struggling to make time for exercise, throw a 15 minute HIIT session in to your exercise regime a few times a week.
11. Nutrition is everything
You have probably heard the saying “you can’t out-train a bad diet”. Well, it’s true. You can work out for hours on end each day, but if you’re not eating right, you’re hardly going to see any results. Eat more whole foods and limit the amount of processed food you consume.
12. Make friends with carbs
Carbs are not the enemy. Carbohydrates are an important part of your diet as they are your bodies preferred source of energy.
There are two main types of carbs; complex (good) carbs and simple (bad) carbs.
Complex carbs contain fibre and other important micronutrients; examples include vegetables, wholegrain bread, wholegrain pasta, brown rice, quinoa, oatmeal and legumes.
Simple carbs contain little to no nutrition. Simple carbs are good if you want a quick hit of energy, but we often end up eating more than out bodies need and it ends up getting stored as fat; examples include sugar white bread/rice/pasta, processed foods, soft drinks, pies, cookies, cakes etc.
13. Eating fat does not make you fat
Eating fat does not make you fat, eating excess calories makes you fat. Consuming enough dietary fat is important as it provides your body with energy, helps move vitamins around your body and plays a vital role in brain functioning. Be sure to include plenty of good fat in your diet such as avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, nuts, seeds, fatty fish, eggs. Seriously limit the amount of bad fats you include in your diet, such as packaged snack foods, fried foods, baked foods, margarine etc. These types of fat (even just small amounts) increase your risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
14. Protein is important
Protein is an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin and blood. Protein is found in animal products such as red meat, chicken, fish, eggs whites, cheese, yoghurt and milk. And plant based foods such as nuts, seeds, beans, tofu, quinoa and leafy greens. Also, protein keeps you full for longer, which can lead to weight loss.
15. Drink plenty of water
It is important to drink at least 2 litres of water per day (and even more if you’re exercising). Water is super important as it plays a vital role in nearly every bodily function, removes toxins and prevents dehydration. Drinking a glass or two of water before each meal can also prevent you from over-eating, which can lead to weight loss!
16. Start each day with warm lemon water
As soon as you wake up squeeze the juice from half a lemon in to a big glass of warm water. Warm lemon water in the morning has many benefits including flushing out toxins in the body, aids digestion, boosts immune system, clears skin and promotes healing. Give it a try tomorrow morning!
17. Avoid fad diets and embrace a healthy lifestyle
Avoid ANY type of fad diet, including weight loss shakes, teas, juice cleanses, no carb, low carb, low fat, high protein etc. Yes you may lose weight from these quick fixes, but it’s only going to be short-term. And when you go off the diet you’re going to end up back where you started. The only way to achieve long term results is to makes permanent changes to your lifestyle.
18. Make small weekly changes to your diet
Sudden massive diet changes won’t work. If you all of a sudden decide you’re going to completely cut out sugar, or any other food for that matter, chances are you’re most likely going to end up binging on it within a few weeks. If you’re really serious about changing your lifestyle to a more healthier one, you need to take baby steps. Each week try to create a new habit that you know you can stick to forever.
19. Meal plan
Set aside 20 minutes each Sunday and plan every meal you are going to have for the week ahead. You can find inspiration for healthy meals on Instagram, Pinterest, your favourite chefs websites and healthy cookbooks. Be sure to include a variety of different meats and vegetables in each meal. Also plan which healthy snacks you are going to eat for the week ahead. Write down every ingredient you need to buy, and when you get to the supermarket only buy what it on the list. This will prevent unhealthy impulse purchases, and will save you money and time. Oh, and definitely do not shop on an empty stomach!
20. Meal prep
If you do not have time to make a fresh healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner each day, meal prepping is a great idea. Set aside a couple hours once a week and make large quantities of your favourite healthy meals and store them in your fridge or freezer.
21. Avoid eating out too often
Meals at restaurants and cafes are often quite high in calories due to bigger portion sizes and extra fat content. Try to limit eating out to once per week as these extra calories can have an affect on your waistline. If you do find yourself eating out quite a lot due to work functions or social events, be smart when it comes to making decisions when ordering. Avoid the bread as the calories really do add up. Choose a salad on the side instead of chips. Avoid dessert, as this will really increase your already high calorie intake for the day. If you really want dessert, share it. Skip the soft drink and alcohol and choose water instead. Don’t beat yourself up for the occasional indulgence, just don’t make it a regular thing.
22. Avoid sugary drinks
Drinks such as soft drinks and energy drinks should only be consumed occasionally as they contain ridiculous amounts of sugar. A can of Coke contains 9 teaspoons of sugar, and a small can of Redbull contains 7 teaspoons of sugar! Yuck!
Although other sweet drinks such as flavoured milks and fruit juices may be a healthier option as they do contain some nutrients, they often have even more sugar than soft drinks. A 600ml bottle of Pura Classic Chocolate Flavoured Milk contains 14 teaspoons of sugar, that’s 56 grams! A 600ml bottle of fruit juice also contains around the same amount of sugar. These drinks should be avoided or kept to an absolute minimum.
23. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day
Breakfast “breaks the fast “after a night of sleep. It alerts your brain and wakes up your system, and gives your metabolism the kickstart it needs for the day ahead. Always choose a healthy breakfast to give your body the nutrients it needs to be able to perform well. A few healthy breakfast options include fruit, green smoothies, yoghurt, oats and eggs. My breakfast obsession at the moment is a smoothie bowl topped with a variety of fruit, nuts and chia seeds. It contains tons of nutrients and keep me full for hours! People who skip breakfast are more likely to choose unhealthy foods high in fat and calories later on in the day to satisfy their hunger cravings. If you do not have enough time to eat a healthy breakfast, try waking up 10 minutes earlier each day.
24. Include superfoods in your diet
Include more nuts, coconut oil, berries, kiwi fruit, salmon, cacao, beans, chia seeds, salmon, and flaxseed in your diet. All these foods have a super high nutrient content which have sooo many benefits to your health.
25. Go organic
By eating organic produce you avoid nasty chemicals and food that is genetically modified, as well as growth hormones in animal products. Organic produce can be a little expensive but it does contain more nutrients than non-organic produce, and also tastes better.
26. Get educated
Watching a bunch of nutrition documentaries has really changed the way I look at food. “That Sugar Film”, Hungry for Change”, “Food, Inc.” and “Fed Up”, are some of my faves. Give them a watch and I guarantee they will make you want to eat healthy.
27. Using social media for motivation
Occasionally I find my motivation levels to workout and eat healthy are low, but scrolling through my Instagram newsfeed motivates me almost instantly, as I follow hundreds of fit chicks. Seeing girls post progress photos, workout videos, healthy meals and empowering quotes really inspires me reach my goals, put good food in to my body and get up and get moving!
28. Go public
Using social media is a great way of keeping yourself accountable. Post your goals, weekly or monthly check ins and photos to your social media accounts for your friends and family to see. This will give you even more motivation and determination to reach your goals as you know there are people expecting you to meet them.
29. Reward yourself
Rewarding yourself for reaching your goals is a great way to stay motivated and inspire you to continue your journey. You can choose whatever you like as a reward, as long as it fits in to your budget and will not sabotage your efforts. I love the idea of a new workout outfit or pamper day at a salon as a reward.
30. Get plenty of sleep
You can be doing everything right with your diet and exercising everyday, but if you’re not getting enough sleep you could be sabotaging your results. Sleep deprivation can cause negative lifestyle patterns and your body’s response to food which can sabotage weight loss. Aim for 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night.
Remember, you don’t have to be great to start, but you do have to start to be great. We all start somewhere, don’t be afraid to start living the life you have always dreamed of!