I will begin by admitting that I do not have the fitness "thing" all together. If you've read some of my blogs in the past, you know I have a serious issue with candy. And I have had months-long stretches where I didn't work out. Basically, I'm a normal person, too in the realm of fitness.
But looking at, say, the past 10 years or so, as a whole, I like to think I have kept a pretty good general habit of staying active and eating well. These are my tips for keeping an active lifestyle. Not a perfect one, but a sane, achievable one.
1. Find something active that you love, or at least like.
Sometimes I see other people who are really into a certain activity: running, yoga, biking, etc. Maybe they are in a great shape and can do something I can't (like run a marathon or hold a tree pose for three minutes). And I think, "Gosh, I should be able to do that. That is what makes someone fit."
You do not have to love what other people love. Rather than be jealous of those people, take their dedication of love of fill-in-the-blank activity and seek to find what you like.
2. Remember that you usually regret NOT exercising, but you rarely regret actually getting up and working out.
But I find it to be true 99% of the time. Sometimes, on days I feel like I really don't want to work out, I make a deal with myself. I only have to work out for 15 minutes (or run 1 mile, or whatever). If I'm still not feeling it after the allotted time, I can stop with no guilt. If I feel like going on (and often I do), I can. But sometimes, you have what I call "lead leg" days where you feel like everything takes 10x more energy than usual. That's okay, but at least you did something.
3. If it's in your house, you will eat it.
I don't know about you, but I hate it when people say things like, "For dessert, enjoy 1 ounce of chocolate." Well, 1 ounce of chocolate is just enough to make me mad. I simply do not possess the willpower to stop at one piece. If I buy a bag of Hershey Kisses, I will eat the bag (maybe not in one sitting, but much faster than I should.) However, if the Hershey's kisses aren't even in the house, I won't eat them. Sounds like a "duh" statement, but you can't expect yourself to have enough willpower at 8:00 pm after a long day of work when your favorite T.V. show is on. So don't buy it (at least, not all the time :)
4. Know your weakness
This goes along with #3. It won't take you long to think of the foods that, if put in front of you, you would gladly eat to excess (without a fork, if necessary). With that in mind, if you are going to buy one of your weakness foods, buy small.
**Confession time** I used to buy a one pound bag of Skittles and finish it in 2 days. Gross, I know. But, hey at least I know my weakness. Now, I won't by myself big bags anymore (or at least, it's very, very rare. I did buy a big bag when I wanted to try to Skittles Dark they came out with recently). I have been known to actually throw away portions of candy because left to my own devices, they will be devoured. Hey, you gotta do what works.
5. Find motivation
Here are some ideas to get you motivated:
- Make an exercise and fitness board on Pinterest
- Post motivational quotes by the couch
- Take pictures of yourself
- Focus on how good it feels to sweat!
- Make mini-goals (i.e. I want to work out three times this week). Or go even smaller, for example, "I want to do two uphill sprints on my run today" or "I want to run 3 minutes longer than I did yesterday." Small changes lead to big changes
- Find a work out partner
- Schedule in work outs on your calendar
- Buy new work out clothes and shoes. (I did this recently and it really made a difference. They don't need to expensive, but they should make you look and feel good).
- Look in a mirror when you work out
- Stop and enjoy the endorphin high when you finish a work out.
6. Give yourself grace
Falling off the fitness wagon isn't the end of the world. You can always jump back on. We live in a society where it's easier and cheaper to eat unhealthy. Keep that in mind and don't beat yourself up when you act like a human.