5 MORE Tips to Start Your Health Journey
One of the first posts I published on this blog was about my 5 Tips to Start Your Health Journey. This week, I’m sharing 5 more to that list, to help give you a kickstart or add on to what you’ve already starting accomplishing.
Here they are - 5 MORE Tips to Start Your Health Journey
1. Make it easy…
It’s okay to use canned or frozen vegetables (GASP).
Seriously. Mad props to the people that go to the farmers market every weekend and grow fresh herbs and spend their Saturdays washing and cutting and prepping fresh veggies. That’s not me. Sometimes I wish it was, but realistically, I’m not there yet.
As I mentioned in my meal-prepping post, I use a lot of frozen veggies. I particularly love the “blends.” I don’t have to think about it. I don’t have to prep it or wash it or chop it. I just make my tortellini and pesto, and throw in a bag of “Italian combo” vegetables. Boom. The way I look at it, it’s better to eat frozen veggies than no veggies at all. Make it easy on yourself and it will be easier to stick with it.
2. Find a community that keeps you accountable.
As I mentioned in my social support post, having a support system is crucial if you want to really make a change in your life. If you don’t have a support system in place, it’s up to you to find one.
Some people can hold themselves accountable. I am not “some people.” I’ve found that if I don’t have to be somewhere, meet someone, or have an assignment due… it’s much harder for me to do it. This goes for getting work done too - even with these blogs, I asked a good friend to help keep me on track by sending her drafts every week.
Working out is the same for me. Exercising solo is not fun. Even though I am currently working at a gym, I find it really difficult to convince myself to workout. (That might be partially the urge to GTFO after work, but still). I need a buddy or a group of people to help motivate me.
The key is finding someone (or someones) to help keep you accountable.
This can mean hiring a health coach or personal trainer, recruiting a friend or loved one to join you on your journey, finding a buddy at the gym, or going to group classes. Maybe it’s a combination of all of these.
3. Add Strength Training (even if it’s just a little bit)
Strength training is terrifying to some people. You go to the gym and you see these huge and intense people lifting 3 times their bodyweight and you’re like:
But strength training doesn’t have to be scary. Strength training does not have to be weight training. Strength training can be just a couple sets of squats, lunges, and wall push ups in your apartment. Or perhaps a yoga or pilates class. Maybe a bodyweight bootcamp? There are plenty of ways to add strength training to your routine without lifting weights at the gym.
I highly recommend starting with some sort of body weight training, and then adding various challenges as you go. This could be in the form of weights, yes, but it could also be resistance bands or testing your balance for something like single leg squats.
4. Set Goals
As I mentioned in my New Year’s Resolution post, setting goals is an important factor in the health and wellness journey. For me, it was life changing.
We all have at least one big goal in our minds, like “lose x weight” or “run a 10k,” but it’s important to set small achievable goals along the way. Not only will this help keep you on track to your big goal, but it will allow you to feel the joy of the accomplishment so that you don’t get discouraged.
If your goal is to lose 50lbs, that’s going to take a while. It took me a whole year. It’s easy to get discouraged along the way. Smaller product-based goals, such as “lose 4lbs this month” can be more helpful than a huge goal that’s so far away. Setting small process goals like “exercise 3x a week” or “eat a serving of vegetables at least once a day”can also keep you on track toward the big goals.
Once you reach your big goal, keep setting goals! You never know what you can accomplish until you try. Plus - setting goals after your initial goal is reached will help you stay on the healthy train for years to come.
5. Be Patient
This is one that I still struggle with every day, but it is so important for everyone - wherever you are on your health journey.
Be patient - with yourself, with your body, with the other people around you.
Change takes time. Try not to get frustrated with yourself if you don’t reach your goal for the month, if you skip a few workouts, or if you fall off the wagon and go on a binge-eating weekend. This is a lifelong journey you are on. Think about how long it took for those not-so-healthy habits to form in your life. I know I’ve had poor eating habits since high-school, maybe longer. It’s going to take just as long - maybe longer - to break those habits and create new ones. So be patient with your mind and body as they try to adapt to these changes. Forgive yourself, and then get back to work.
There are so many times that I get caught up in not being the super healthy super fit person that I want to be. I binge eat occasionally (often). I have days where I don’t get my 10K steps (gasp). And then I’m hard on myself and get so frustrated and feel like a hypocrite because I’m “supposed to be” this healthy fit person. So, if you’re like me, take a look at this list and maybe use it as a reminder for how far you’ve come, all of the things you’ve already accomplished! You’re awesome, here’s a reminder!
Also, try to be patient with the people around you. They are probably somewhere different on their journey. Maybe they haven’t started it yet. That’s okay. Maybe they don’t understand why you’re even bothering with this. Do your best to not let their negativity get to you. Try to include them and engage them if you can, take them on a walk or invite them to a class. Be patient with them. It takes time to change our bodies, and also our minds and thoughts. Remember that you were in that mindset once upon a time, too. How did you reach the point where you knew you needed to change your life?
Wherever you are on your journey, I hope these tips help you. Keep moving forward, even if it’s only one step at a time.