For me, a mistake is not wasted if something is learned from it. In turn, I take my lessons learned and try to guide those who are starting out. If the same mistake can be prevented for someone else, then sharing the wisdom gained from an experience is crucial. There is so much information out there regarding what to do for a healthy lifestyle that navigating it is daunting. I’ve compiled a list (in no particular order) of tips that should be considered for everyone starting out on an exercise regimen and/or a healthy diet.
- Talk to a health professional when starting a new exercise regimen or diet. This seems obvious, but a lot of people do start doing whatever they think is right. The problem is, you could have a heart condition or some other medical abnormality that can be worsened with physical activity. Don’t think that because it worked for your best friend that it will work for you. Everyone is different.
- Take it easy. There is a tendency to overexert yourself when starting an exercise regimen. I understand there is an excitement to finally achieve your goal(s), but the likelihood of overworking yourself to the point of not doing anything the next day increases. Relax. This is a process–it takes time.
- Burn more than you intake. If you want to lose weight, you must create a caloric deficit. It does not matter if you count calories or not. You can not lose weight by eating more than you burn off. Period. For some, counting calories helps with keeping track of this, but it is not necessary. Consult a health professional to help calculate what it’ll take for you.
- You don’t have to work out daily. So you missed a day? The world is still spinning and you’re still alive. Nothing terrible will happen. Make up for it later. Six days a week will give you the same results eventually, as will four days. Go less days with increased intensity, or go more days with less intensity. Either is fine, believe me. It’s okay.
- Hydrate! I don’t know the full science behind it, but drinking water can help you lose weight. One simple thing I do know, sometimes your body confuses hunger for thirst, so you eat because you thought you were hungry. If I’m “hungry” shortly after eating, I drink water first and if I’m still hungry a half hour later, I eat. Oh, and it cools you down when you exercise!
- Snacking is OKAY–if done correctly.* Don’t go crazy and have a box of cookies, or what could pass as a full meal for your “snack.” Have that apple or granola bar between meals instead. It helps! You’re likely to eat less at your next meal.
- Be safe. Learn how to do whatever exercise you want to do properly. Injury for being impatient is not worth it. You’ll set yourself back for being careless. Have someone spot you when doing exercises that require a spotter. It does not matter how many times you’ve done it before successfully. Get a trainer or a workout buddy to spot you. Or, you could always ask that guy or girl to help. Now you’ve made a friend! 🙂
- Get creative. The ‘C’ word can arouse a lot of fear for the “non-creative” person, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Just research, research, research. Find inspiration in small things. Try out that bright red pepper in your next dish. Don’t like it? Try something else. Look up recipes that include your new ingredient. I like foodgawker, but any site or database works. Creativity also applies to workouts. Get off the treadmill and start lifting weights. You’ll be surprised by how fun it is. Perhaps playing basketball or swimming would suit you better? Sign up for tournaments or aquacise classes.
- Have fun! Yes, it is work and it does take effort, but it’s not a punishment. Loosen up and enjoy yourself. You’ll realize it’s not that bad when you genuinely like what you’re doing. If walking on the treadmill bores you, join a dance class. Do whatever it takes to have as good of a time as possible.
- Love yourself. Remember, you’re not perfect. If you stumble, pick yourself back up. You will not benefit in any way by hating yourself. Mental health is crucial when embarking on a journey to lose weight. Don’t go beating yourself up for having a cookie, or caving in and having those cheese fries. It happens. Learn from it and try not to do it again. Pass on all wisdom.
There are so many other tips that I could add, but it’d make this post excessively long. Instead, I’ll leave those for another day. In the meantime, research anything that you have questions about and make your own judgments. Eventually, you’ll have your own list of tips to pass on to others. Remember, this is not just a physical journey, it’s also a learning experience.
Until next time,
*Some health professionals disagree about snacking, so talk to yours and make a decision that suits you and your goals.
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