Seven Steps to Healthier Living and Getting in Shape*


Laps Run: 3.5
Laps Oprah Walked: 2.5

I know I’ve been talking about this a lot lately, but I’ve actually had a number of people talk to me about my new attempt at exercise and healthy eating. So I thought I’d post a few tips / tricks / ideas that helped me get started.

1. Inspiration.
Before I could really make a commitment to exercise I needed a good kick in the pants. When I went home in the spring I realized that I was the only member of my family that didn’t exercise on a regular basis. Big Dad is an avid tennis player and hits the gym almost even morning. My Mom loves walks and goes for a brisk walk several days a week. Doodle is big time into triathlons. Peeah is a hardcore runner. Spart has been going to the gym on a regular basis after work. Teep is exercising to prepare for his police foundations course this fall, and even Choppy hits the gym from time to time. So they inspired me to want to get back into (at least) semi-shape.

I know not everyone has a huge family like mine with 7 examples of regular exercisers. So look at your friends, heroes, celebrity figures you admire–someone that will inspire you to get in shape. That was my first step.

2. Motivation.
This was / is reeeeeeeally hard for me. In the past I have often had the desire to exercise, but lacked the motivation to actually go out and do it. And unfortunately, desire to exercise and actually exercising are not the same thing. haha! So, I picked something that I wanted to work towards. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it or not, but I am going to be a bridesmaid at Peeah’s wedding in December so that is what I’m working towards. I want to look and feel good by that time. Having a deadline and something to work towards motivates me to kick my butt out the door for a run.

3. Have Realistic Goals
This kind of ties in with my last point. Big Dad has always been a huge advocate for making goals and taking steps to achieve them. He used to sit me down and help me make a list of things I wanted to accomplish and then would help me figure out how I could do it. So, for me, my goal is not so much to become super skinny, but to feel good. I know I’ll never be 115 lbs–it’s just not my body type and it’s not really what I want. I’d like to tone my body a bit, increase my endurance and make exercise a habit so lack of motivation would no longer be a problem! Once you make a goal for yourself, write it down. Once it’s on paper it makes it real. Put it somewhere that you can see it and remind yourself of it often.

4. Form Good Habits
I have a lot of lazy habits I’m trying to kick. A lot of people do. I like to stay in my pajamas late into the morning if I don’t have a busy day. I like to sit on the couch and watch movies. I like junk food. So it’s easy for me to slip into a habit of doing more of these things and less of the healthier alternatives. But now I’ve started forming a new habit of making sure that I go for a run before I let myself shower in the morning. If I have a lot to do it means that I go out earlier, or if it rains like this morning, than I put other things on hold until I can get out and run.

I’m also slowly learning to reach for a piece of fruit instead of some chocolate. I’m replacing sugary drinks with water and watching my calorie intake. It all really comes down to consciously making good choices and adjusting my body and routine to include healthier habits.

5. Choose an Area You’d Like to Work On
I’m one of those people who usually finds it easier to find fault with my body rather than positives. So, I made a decision to pick one area of my body that I’d like to work on and actually do it so that I can’t complain about it anymore. I’m starting with my legs. I used to have good athlete legs from my ringette / basketball playing days. I now have “I-just-graduated-from-university-where-I-sat-on-my-bum-and-did-nothing-but-write-papers-for-4-years” legs and what I like to call my “Big Thunders” (thighs). So, I started running and am already seeing results. I can already fit into a pair of pants that I haven’t seen outside of my drawer in 2 years. Once I’m on my way with that target area, I’ll include another one. I don’t need to overhaul my whole body at once! :)

6. Start Small
You don’t have to become a marathon runner immediately. Actually, you don’t have to run at all… find something that works for you. I enjoy the feeling of freedom and clarity I find when I’m running. For you it might be the gym, or a team sport.

I started by walking. I was pretty out of shape in April, so I spent the spring strengthening my legs a bit by walking everywhere. I started walking instead of taking the bus as much as I possibly could. I would make excuses to get out and walk somewhere. So, by the time I was ready to commit myself to running in June / early July it wasn’t such a shock to my legs. I can already notice a difference. The thing is not to put it off. Start now.

7. Make Good Choices
Lastly, if you really want to see results it’s best to combine exercise with healthy eating. I’ve been trying to reduce the amount of junk food I eat because it’s not healthy for me, and really, it doesn’t do me a whole lot of good. Don’t buy unhealthy food because it’s “easy” to make. Try eating out less. Eat more fruit and vegetables. Drink more water. It gets easier when you start making it a habit to choose a healthier option.

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been trying to do / follow. Just find whatever works for you… :)

Shop Girl*

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