How to Get Fit: Getting fit is not something that happens overnight. It doesn’t happen in a week or a month. It doesn’t even happen in a year. That can be a lot to digest, so let me explain what I mean. To get fit, be healthy, and feel good forever, you have to make some serious lifestyle changes.
However, those changes will take time. You will have to embark on YOUR journey slowly and carefully so as not to get discouraged or burn out. I will outline a plan that you can use that will help you along the way. Take it day by day, week by week, month by month, and year by year. I promise, if you follow the simple guidelines you will not only lose weight, you will look great, feel great, and people WILL notice.
If I haven’t scared you off, you are a ROCK STAR and you are ready to begin. Now the question I am sure that is running through your head is, “How long will this take?” If you haven’t noticed, we are living in a world where we all want, expect actually, things to happen FAST. Like yesterday. If that is your expectation, you are going to be in for a big SHOCKER. Why? Because this plan is FOREVER. What??? Yes. Forever. This is not a get-fit fast plan. This is not a diet. This is not a quick fix. This is a lifestyle change that you will be making. You can start at whatever level you are comfortable with. This plan is customizable. You will go at whatever pace you can handle. Now, I will suggest you try to push yourself a bit when it comes to exercise. YES! You will have to get up off that big ole comfy couch and move, but you will thank me…later.
I will outline the basics in this post and then I will dive in deeper each week. This way you know where we are going. You don’t need to know the directions until you get to the next place in your journey. This way you won’t get overwhelmed. I want you to be successful. That can only happen if you feel comfortable and confident. Let’s take a look at the four steps.
Steps to Your New Life
Lack of sleep will cause you to gain weight. Yes. You must get in a good night’s rest. For example, if you’re feeling sleepy at work, you may be tempted to reach for a cup of coffee (or several cups) and a doughnut for a quick shot of energy. Later you may skip the gym and pick up takeout on your way home to your family — no time to cook. When you finally find yourself back in your bed, you are too wound up to sleep. It’s a vicious cycle, and eventually, this sleep deprivation can sabotage your waistline and your health.
It starts innocently enough. “When you have sleep deprivation and are running on low energy, you automatically go for a bag of potato chips or other comfort foods,” says Susan Zafarlotfi, Ph.D., clinical director of the Institute for Sleep and Wake Disorders at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey.
The immediate result? You may be able to fight off sleepiness. The ultimate result? Unwanted pounds as poor food choices coupled with lack of exercise set the stage for obesity and further sleep loss.
“Sleep debt is like credit card debt,” Zafarlotfi says. “If you keep accumulating credit card debt, you will pay high-interest rates or your account will be shut down until you pay it all off. If you accumulate too much sleep debt, your body will crash.”
Not getting enough sleep is common — even talked about with pride — in the U.S. “We brag about an all-nighter, but we do pay a price for staying up late and getting up early,” says Mark Mahowald, MD, director of the Minnesota Regional Sleep Disorders Center in Hennepin County.
BOTTOM LINE: Sleep is imperative in your weight loss journey. Your body needs at least 6-8 hours every night.
Proper hydration has long been regarded as an essential key to weight loss, but the ideal amount that you should consume is often in debate. Because water is inexpensive and easier to come by than many other weight loss methods, however, any reasons that suggest it may aid in weight loss are not taken lightly by those struggling to maintain optimal weight. Various explanations exist for why hydration is so important.
Importance of Water
Almost two-thirds of the human body is made up of water. Its roles include everything from removing waste to regulating body temperature to lubricating joints, just to name a few. Water also acts as a natural appetite suppressant and aids in metabolism. With all these functions, the consumption of water is vital to the normal functioning of the body.
Effects of Dehydration
A lack of water consumption can be detrimental to your body. If your hydration levels drop by only 2 percent, you may experience fuzzy thoughts, lack of concentration, and difficulty focusing visually. If you often feel fatigued in the middle of the day and cannot figure out why, dehydration is likely the culprit, which in turn makes exercise difficult to perform. When you are not properly hydrated, you may also feel a burning sensation in your stomach that is similar to hunger pangs. This feeling can mistakenly lead you to unnecessary calorie consumption. It has also been linked to an increased risk of cancer, premature aging, irritability, anxiety, and numerous other ailments. Links have even been made between chronic dehydration and obesity.
BOTTOM LINE: You have to keep yourself hydrated to be successful in your weight loss journey.
I know you knew this was coming. Food choices are another huge step in your journey. It is very important to remove as many processed foods as you can. If they are in your cupboard, either finish them up or donate them. You will want to shop differently to see a difference.
The first rule of thumb when grocery shopping: Stay out of the middle of the grocery store. That is where you are going to find processed foods. Instead, stick to the perimeter.
Buy lots of fruits and vegetables. Organic is best, but if you are buying produce that is a start.
Next, if you are not a vegan, purchase meats and seafood. For seafood buy only wild-caught. It is not much more but it is SO much better for you. For meats, look for grass-fed beef and free-range poultry. If that doesn’t fit into your budget, that is alright. At least you are not buying Oreos and potato chips.
Speaking of Oreos, sweets can sabotage your overall health and fitness goals. Sweets should be viewed as a treat and should be only consumed once a week. I know that sounds impossible to some, but if you are truly committed to changing your life, you have to reduce or remove the sweets from your diet. If you have dessert every night. Try eating it every other night. Slowly reduce the number of times per week until you are down to one. Also, consider what your dessert options are. Keep in mind that processed foods are not going to be a good fit.
Grains are important, too. A sure-fire way to get real hungry real quickly? Cut out carbs. Completely slashing your carbohydrate intake will melt away the pounds, but you’ll also be left with some not-so-pleasant side effects that can make it hard to go about your daily routine, like exhaustion and lethargy. “Carbs are essential for life as our brain and CNS (central nervous system) require them continuously to work properly. Restricting carbs completely will allow for any muscle mass to be metabolized to provide us with energy,” says trainer and RD, Tim McComsey. As long as you use them correctly and choose the right ones, carbs don’t have to hit the curb. “To get lean, a balance of the right amount of carbs first thing in the morning and after the workout is ideal,” he says.
Here is a list of good carbs to stock up on:
- corn (organic only – non-organic varieties will have GMOs)
- potatoes (white and sweet)
- sourdough bread – try this recipe
- green peas
- whole-grain pasta
- wheat berries
Carbs should be eaten in moderation to get the best overall results.
BOTTOM LINE: Eat healthy carbs, lots of fruits and vegetables, and good proteins like wild caught fish, grass-fed meats, and free range poultry. Purge the processed foods. Limit sweets to once a week. Eat good carbs in moderation.
The dreaded word…EXERCISE. However, you have to move to see results. There are lots of ways to exercise. You will have to start with what you are comfortable with. For example, if you do not exercise AT ALL, start with walking. Take it nice and easy. Walk every other day for 30 minutes to start. Track your progress. Walking is one of the safest forms of exercise known today. Depending on how often you walk, you can manage to easily lose one pound per week or more. Think about it, in less than five months you can be 20 pounds lighter without spending hours at the gym and without going on a diet. Healthy and Natural World created this easy-to-follow guide to walking for fitness.
If you are active already, increase that level of intensity. If you exercise once a week, step it up to 3 times per week. If you only do cardio, add in yoga and free weights. You don’t need a gym membership to get fit, either. Here are some great gym alternatives:
- At-Home Leg Circuit
- At-Home Workouts for Belly Fat
- At Home Arms, Shoulders, and Back Routine
Make sure to switch these up. Never let your body get too comfortable with the routine. Your body needs to be challenged. All your muscles need the challenge to stay strong and healthy…even your brain!
BOTTOM LINE: You need to include an exercise routine in your lifestyle. Your body is designed to move. It functions better when it is challenged.
The way to becoming a new and healthier you will take time. Be patient with the process and with yourself. If you fall, get up, dust yourself off, and get back on track. Beating yourself up will not be beneficial. It will be detrimental. Remember, this is not a diet or a get-fit-quick plan. This is a LIFESTYLE CHANGE. You will be implementing this plan at your pace. You will be in control of your new life. Each week I will focus on one of the four steps ∼ Sleep, Hydration, Food Choices, and Exercise ∼in the plan. Feel free to stay back until you are comfortable with moving forward. This is not a race.
You might also like:
- 5 Harmful Bacteria That Can Be in Your Food
- 6 Biggest Myths of Healthy Eating
- Tips & Tricks in Food Combining
Feel free to contact me with any questions. At the end of the journey, I will provide a plan outline, daily printables, a shopping guideline list, and more. This will be an open and editable document for you to share your progress, struggles, accomplishments, and whatever else you want to share.
I am excited to share my plan with you. This is YOUR first step to becoming a NEW YOU!