by Sara Martz
I recently had a discussion with my husband about how we are now at the age where you have to work out and eat healthy in order to maintain your weight, not just lose it. If you’re like me, working out 5 days a week and eating healthier is a daunting task to achieve. Staying motivated is tough, and often not realistic for me. So, I’ve put together some healthy habits I have learned that help me not only be more active, but more motivated to reach the healthiest version of me.
Track Your Steps
I work 40 hours a week at a normal desk job, and I spend most of my day sitting and staring at my computer. When FitBit started to gain in popularity, most of my friends and family started using them. Every day my friends constantly were checking if they had hit their 10,000 step goal, and if not, they would spend the next 20 minutes marching in place. I was curious how many steps I took in an average day thinking I probably hit at least the 8,000 mark, and was shocked when I wore the FitBit for the first time and as I saw how little I actually walked around. It was easy to become obsessed with getting those 10,000 steps just like all my friends. I started getting up and moving around more at work, going straight to the gym after work even on rest days to walk on the treadmill. My obsession with my FitBit eventually faded away like most trends, but every once and awhile I will wear it for a few days to see how I’m doing. I recommend getting a tracker like FitBit to anyone now. Even though I don’t use mine often, the lesson it taught me still sticks. I still am constantly thinking about how little I have moved in a day, and when I get off of work I am a lot more motivated to get to the gym or go outside for a walk. So, do yourself a favor and get a tracker like this one, or borrow someone else’s for a week. Learn how to be conscious of how sedentary your life is, and get that booty in motion!
Get Your Body Moving
Working out in public is not an easy task for me, so this particular step has been the biggest challenge. I am extremely self-conscious, and have an inner battle with myself every time I park at the gym and debate going in. The way I got past this was having a goal of spending an hour walking on the treadmill after work. To achieve this I watch a very girly show (right now it’s Grey’s Anatomy) and just walk. There are many days where I just don’t feel like working out, but walking for an hour watching a tv TV show is a lot better for me to do than sitting watching that TV show at home. It also is a lot more motivating, and got me to the gym. Once I am finally at the gym it is a lot easier to workout and push myself, and even if I’m not pushing myself, at least I went to the gym. After I got more comfortable being around people at the gym I started looking into fitness classes. I’ll either take a class at the gym, or find a cheap Groupon for some class that looks interesting nearby. This is what I have found works best for me, and it’s important to just find what works best for you.
Find A Hobby
Find a hobby that you love to do, and keeps you active. Do something fun with your girlfriends or partner! My husband and I rock climb together, so we spend many of our weekends camping and rock climbing. I also love going for hikes, so we always try to find hikes to do together. I try to do these types of activities with my girlfriends as well. We will go for a morning hike, yoga, or do an easier Pilates class together on the weekends. It is a great way to spend time with your friends and keep you moving about. So, find something that you enjoy doing! Scroll through Groupon for a good deal on some classes, think of something you’ve always wanted to try (like pole dancing) and grab a girlfriend to go with you. Many of the studios even offer a free class if it’s your first time! Treat yourselves to brunch after, and make it your new Saturday morning routine. Your hobby can be part of your workout, or just be a great way to have something to do on your rest days.
Stop Jumping From Diet To Diet
I have had self-image issues for as long as I can remember, and I have tried diets of all types.The problem with diets is they are usually amazing, but can lead to major setbacks. I would diet for a month or two, lose 10 lbs, get off my diet and gain another 5 or 6 back within a month, go back on a new diet because the last didn’t work, and the cycle would start all over again. With diets you are restricting your body to foods you normally would eat, so when you get off your diet that’s the first thing you want and your body reacts to it. This was not healthy for me because everytime I became more and more dissapointed and the cycle would start all over again. I know that a lot of people have had success with dieting, but if you’re like me in the my scenario above, I challenge you to stop that cycle and just watch how much food you are taking in. I started reading labels, and actually following the portion size of everything. I was able to drop weight fairly easily, and learning how to read labels and measure out portions lead me to eat much healthier foods.
Eat Out Less
While trying to save money, my husband and I realized that we needed a very strict food budget. We went from eating out three to four times a week (or more) to maybe once a week. This caused us to make much a lot healthier choices when cooking, and we knew exactly what ingredients were used and the portion sizes we needed to be eating. Even now if our friends invite us out, we usually eat a small dinner at home and just split a meal or appetizer when we go out. This has not only saved us a ton of money, but made us feel so much better and healthier.
In the attempt to save money by eating out less, this meant that we also drank a lot less alcohol. I don’t drink much alcohol as it is, but my husband is a huge beer fan. He would drink probably one beer when he was off of work, and one for dinner every day. So when we decided we had a strict food budget, alcohol pretty much took a back seat. Now instead of beer, my husband drinks La Croix at home (it’s only around $3.00 for a 12 pack), and when we go out we rarely get drinks because those add up so quickly. If you’ve got those last few pounds to lose that just won’t go, most dieticians will tell you to cut the alcohol. My husband is a great example of this, he lost 10 lbs in a month from just cutting his beer intake. So next time you’re at the supermarket opt for those Lime La Croixs. Your gut will thank you.
On the subject of drinking, drink more water. My boss got everyone the 40 oz hydro flask for an Earth Day present to help the environment and stop us from using so many plastic bottles. I loved the idea of being more environmentally friendly, so I used this bottle everyday. I started to drink so much more water, and made a goal to drink 3 or 4 full bottles a day of water a day. After a week of doing this I noticed I not only felt better, but my skin looked better. Any blemish I had cleared up, any my dry skin had become hydrated, and to be honest, I have never had more regular poops. It’s amazing what water does to your body when you drink enough of it. So go on Amazon and pick out a cool colored Hydro Flask and make a goal to bring it everywhere.
Set Realistic Goals
Setting goals can be super motivating, but I find myself usually setting really unrealistic goals. I can attempt to commit to going to the gym 7 days this next week, but reality will hit and I will go twice, then not go one day and be disappointed in myself to the point I give up on my goal. A realistic goal might be to go at least 3 days a week, that’s a pretty easy task to do (depends on the person). Once you hit your goal one week, it’s a lot more motivating the next time you set a goal for yourself. Setting realistic goals that you know are not far fetched can really help boost your self esteem and help you challenge yourself in healthier ways.
Don’t Hit The Snooze
My husband and I are very lucky to be on the same schedule, and we both get 8 hours of sleep pretty much everyday. However, we also are both terrible with the snooze button. Our alarm goes off at 6, but we rarely get out of bed until about 6:45. That’s 45 minutes of pressing the snooze button. I have read numerous studies that show pressing the snooze button makes you more tired later on, and so I started putting my phone on the other side of the room. This not only made me get out of bed to turn the alarm off and not hit the snooze button, but made me fall asleep so much easier because I wasn’t looking at my phone before bed. My next step is buying an actual alarm clock (maybe this one), but before then I will just advise you move your phone to the opposite side of the room so you don’t hit the snooze anymore.
Get A Dog (Or Borrow One)
My last tip, and probably my favorite one, is just to get a dog or borrow one. I never had pets growing up, and I have wanted a dog more than anything since I can remember. I wanted a dog so much that my husband vowed to me during our wedding vows that he would bring me home a puppy one day. Fast forward to half a year later, and we adopt the newest love of my life, a one year old Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever. While I love him to death, he takes up a ton of my time. Pretty much all of my free time. He needs so much exercise a day it’s insane. So, if you want to start moving around more and not sit on your couch I would advise getting a dog. Mine needs at least 2 hours of exercise a day, which means I walk him and play with him for 2 hours every day. Instead of sitting and watching TV when I’m off work, I walk him. Instead of sitting around on a Saturday morning, I take him to the park. He’s honestly the second best thing to happen to me aside from marrying the man of my dreams (but it’s a close second). I would recommend getting a dog if you want more exercise. If that sounds like an expensive commitment you just can’t do right now, then join an app like Wagg and earn some extra cash while you go on an hour walk with a pup nearby!
You may not find all of these helpful or relatable for you, but I hope you found some inspiration in the habits I have found work for me. I encourage you to find what works for you, and hope you can continue to push yourself to be the best version of you!