Thursday, March 28, 2013

Spring Into A Healthier Lifestyle

As the weather starts to warm up (well, hopefully anyways, it's still cold here) and we move into spring, I feel it's time to start setting a few new goals for myself, and also revisit some of the ones I've made before but have never really worked much towards. Perhaps even revisit some of the New Year's Resolutions that I pushed to the wayside. Spring is a time for new beginnings and fresh starts, and a perfect time to start working towards your goals. One of my biggest goals this spring is to start living a healthier lifestyle and get fit for summer. Not only to look better, but to feel better and live a healthier life as well. I admittedly eat primarily junk food, and a lot of it, on top of not getting much exercise. I'll eat because I'm bored or upset, and for other reasons other then actual hunger. I go for the packaged snacks and sweet treats because they are the most convenient, just because I'm to lazy to actually cook something. This is certainly not at all a healthy way of eating, and it needs to change. But I know that I need to have a good plan and motivation if I plan on going about this and actually sticking to it.

The first step is to think of your motivation. Why do you want to start eating healthier and exercise more? If you are only doing it to lose weight, you are much more likely to slip back into your old habits. When all you want is to look better, it can be very discouraging when the weight doesn't come off the way you thought it would... Or if you gain a  few pounds. Trust me, I've been there before, and I went right back into my old habits because I didn't even think of doing it for anything other then weight loss. Certainly losing some weight can be a part of or your motivation, but it shouldn't be your only motivation. Improving and preserving your health, living longer, and feeling better should be the real motivation to changing your eating and exercise habits. It's a known fact that better nutrition can help to reduce your risk of developing serious health problems down the road, it can even help to improve some existing medical conditions.

Once you have the proper motivation in place, it's time to start thinking of the actual plan. This is another area that you need to be careful with, as it's very easy to set something really unrealistic and hard to stick to. It's always best to start small and take baby steps. Certainly there should be a little bit of a challenge to it, but it shouldn't be nearly impossible to stick to. Take baby steps to the lifestyle you want, and once you get there, don't forget to keep at it, no matter what, keep the healthy lifestyle going. But if you are anything like me, it would be highly unrealistic to say that you're going to get an hour of vigorous exercises a day and cut out all junk food right away. I know I wouldn't be able to stick to this and I would slip out of it rather quickly. I will share with you my own plan to start living healthier to give you a few ideas. But remember, everyone is different and has different habits, so you should adjust based on whats best for you. 

My Plan To Start A Healthier Lifestyle

-Watch when and why I'm eating. I tend to eat when I'm bored, when I'm in a bad mood, or because someone mentions food to me. Not always just because I'm hungry. I often find myself venturing into the kitchen late into the night to grab a snack simply because I'm just bored or maybe feel a little hungry... even if I should be going to bed soon. I need to pay more attention to whether I'm actually hungry or if I'm just bored before I go get something to eat.

-Drink more water rather then eating. Often times when we confuse hunger with thirst. So if I start to feel a bit hungry (or bored), I'm going to go for a glass of water rather then going for a snack. Not only will water often settle the hungry feeling, but there are also many health and beauty benefits to drinking water as well. Drinking water helps to flush toxins out of your body and keeps you from getting dehydrated. Drinking water can even help your skin! 

-Watch what I eat and how much I eat. Because there is generally nobody home to cook dinner after school, I'll eat anything, primarily sweets and snacks for dinner. I know I could never cut out these yummy treats completely, but I need to eat less of them. For now I plan to cut down my sweets intake to one or two things a day. I also plan on actually cooking something for dinner at least twice a week, and watching my portion sizes when I cook. I need to pay attention to serving sizes rather then eating until I'm full. 

-Go for healthier options at school. My school serves some pretty awesome tasting lunches sometimes. And while they aren't the worst thing for you, they aren't the best either. A school lunch can have over 1000 calories in it, that's half a day's calories in one meal. My school does however, have healthier options rather then the regular lunch. I tend to go for their salad tray when I don't like the lunch they are serving. Which is rarely... Even though some lunches aren't my favorite, I still kind of like them so I get them anyways. I now plan on getting the salad tray a lot more often, almost daily. I know there's some lunches I can't give up, and I will still buy the regular lunch on those days, and on days when salad trays aren't available. 

-Start doing some short, moderate workouts. I am not very active at all, and I know I can't jump right into doing daily long, vigorous workouts. While I do plan on eventually getting to the point where I'm doing longer and harder workouts, for now I'm going to start small. To start off I'm going to try to get in a 10 minute workout everyday, and just do some things to get moving such as dancing like a weirdo to my favorite songs, or going for a walk or maybe even a jog when then weather gets a little nicer. Even simply walking the dog a bit is a great work out. I want to make my workouts fun and enjoyable. Play music while you get active, it makes it a lot more fun! Play songs that make you happy, or pump you up and get you moving. When I feel that I'm ready for it, I'll increase my exercise time in 5 minute increments.

What are some of the ways you stay healthy and stay in shape?

*Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or a dietitian. This will not replace any professional or medical advice. This is only my plan to work towards a healthier lifestyle, and may not work for everyone. My ideas have come from prior knowledge as well as things I have learned in a class or have researched. 

*WARNING: If you have or suspect you may have any current medical conditions, see a doctor before starting any exercise or dieting regimen. If you start to feel sick or start feeling pain stop what you are doing. If it persists seek medical attention. 

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