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How to Start

I’m glad Christmas is over! Now I just have to get through these next five days and then I’m safe–I think. The new year is just around the corner, which means resolutions will be made and (in some cases) broken. Today’s post is about being smart from the start in order to succeed.

Before I begin to tell you the steps I took towards changing my lifestyle, I must say that it all started with my head. There had been countless times where my sister would ask me to join her on a weight-loss journey. Each time I would agree and within a week I was over it. It was a cycle where I’d try to lose weight, get discouraged or bored, gain everything back and then some. I would always be confused because I believed I wanted to lose weight. No one wants to be fat, so why wasn’t my desire enough? The problem, I came to realize earlier this year, is that it never came from me. It was always what someone else wanted for me, and while I wanted it too, it felt like an obligation. Other times I was doing it for the wrong reasons, such as for a guy or some other superficial reason. If you don’t want to change your lifestyle for you and your health, you’re not likely to succeed…

As a relative newbie, I know how hard it is to start a lifestyle change like mine. The idea of dropping everything and going healthy can be scary and overwhelming. I’d go so far as comparing it to an addict giving up his vice. Because of this, the problem isn’t in not knowing what to do, but rather how to do it. How do you start anew when you’ve been so accustomed to your habits? I have included 3 ways to just start.* These methods can suit several different types of people. Here they are:

  1. The first way is the most common way out there–just doing it. I like this way because you immerse yourself in the lifestyle right away. Unfortunately, this way has more challenges due to the initial shock of it all. Temptation runs rampant with this method. If done incorrectly, you can feel deprived and that leads to situations that compromise your intentions. This way is pretty self-explanatory, you just jump in and adapt to the change immediately. Personally, I’d recommend this style if the person doesn’t have a lot of weight to lose.
  2. The other way is to make small changes over a period of time. This is probably the easiest way that leads to more success stories. I like this method because it lets you be in control a lot more. Also, you’re not likely to feel left out or deprived of the things you’re used to. If you have never tried losing weight before, this would probably be your best bet.
  3. A combination of the previous two. In one area of your life you jump right in, for example changing your eating habits. Using this method, you adopt a healthy diet immediately. Then when it comes to exercise, you start slowly to give your body time to adjust. This is the method I use because I’m not the type that can handle slow, progressive changes with what I eat. I have to go all in right away, otherwise I’ll always push off the day I fully immerse myself in the lifestyle. Allow me to explain this further…

When starting a healthy lifestyle, the thought of changing 100% becomes overwhelming. It is a great source for self-doubt, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Say you want to start eating healthy, but you don’t want to throw away everything in your pantry or refrigerator. You could start small by making one meal per day as healthy and nutritious as possible.** In your second week, you increase the amount of healthy meals by taking on one full day. As you go along, you add more days. Make it two days, then three, until every other day is filled with healthy meals. Finally, encompass the rest of the week and by now you should be used to it.

Nothing ever has to feel like it’s more than it actually is. If working out is what has you stressed, just apply the same technique. On your first day, do 30 minutes of exercise. Do that every other day or even daily. The next week, increase by 5 or 10 minutes. Keep going until you make it an hour. Your body will be so used to your new lifestyle by the time you make the 100% overhaul that you are likely to not even notice.

It’s okay if nothing I’ve said above appeals to you. The beauty of it all is that you can keep looking around until you find something that you believe you can keep up. You could always mix and match what I said or add it to what you’ve found somewhere else. I believe in doing whatever it takes to make this whole process as smooth and natural to each individual person as possible. In the end, it’s your journey and you should do it in a manner you’re comfortable with.

Until next time,

Carolina

*Always consult your doctor or health professional before making a change to your diet and/or exercise regimen.

**Before you even attempt to make a healthy meal, make sure you know how to read the nutrition facts label. The FDA website provides a comprehensive and easy to follow explanation here.

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About carolinafitness

Determined to succeed so that I can live the healthy and happy life that I know I'm capable of. Everything else there is to know about me will be aired in the blog with time.

6 responses »

  1. Great advice, Carolina. Also beware of where the pitfalls may lie. They come from the most unexpected places. For example, when you’re at a party/event and doing well. Family and friends will perceive you has not having a good time, since you’re not overindulging. Italians would say ‘mangia, mangia’. Just beware. 🙂

    Reply
    • Thanks! Oh definitely, you have to go into a weight loss journey with the knowledge that you can stumble or even fall at any given point. I didn’t want to talk about those pitfalls in this post because people tend to focus on the negative. I wouldn’t want someone reading this who is confused about how to start to think about that because they will use it as an excuse. I tried keeping this post as positive as possible for any true newbie. I’ll keep your comment in mind for when I burst this particular bubble. 😉

      Reply
  2. These are great tips, Carolina. I choose the third method. I began making small changes to my diet a year ago, but noticed I wasn’t making much progress on the scale so I decided to just jump right into the low-carb lifestyle. I think previously making some small food changes helped me become ready to make such a large change to my diet.

    Reply
    • You did everything right. You know how you are and what will work for you. The part that will lead you to success is when you recognized something wasn’t working and you changed it. Most people would have just given up. Give yourself more credit because you’re one of the few that pushed through that wall.

      Reply
  3. I’ve always been a fan of the 3rd option.

    Reply
    • It’s a great method, if I do say so myself. You’ll hear a lot of people talking about the first two, and while they’re both good, I think they’re not as accommodating (and possibly realistic) as the third option.

      Reply

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