By Jacelyn Olandesca
We’ve all been there: The holidays have come and gone and you’ve told yourself that you would get into the “new year, new me” craze, right? But where do you start? What are you really “getting into”? Sometimes the hardest part of making a lifestyle change is knowing and planning your goals. Here are some tips to help you get started:
1. Set realistic goals.
It’s very easy to say, “I want to lose weight and be more active, healthy, and strong.” But making a plan of action will help you stay more accountable to your goals. Use the SMART principle. What is your specific goal? Is your goal measurable? What is your action plan? Is your goal realistic? What timeframe are you giving yourself to achieve your goals?
Here are some examples of SMART goals when it comes to losing weight:
S – Lose 10 pounds so I can_____________.
M – Weigh myself every Saturday morning. Ask my friend to measure my body in certain areas and track my progress every month. Make my own lunch instead of eating out.
A – I will go to the gym 5 times a week right after work and dedicate 3 days for resistance training and 2 days for cardio.
R – A realistic goal would be to lose 1–2 lbs per week.
T – I should be able to see significant changes within 3 months.
Extra Tip: Write down your goals and post them where you can see them every day, or you can share them with a friend that can help keep you accountable. A trainer can keep you on track as well.
2. Drink lots of water.
Water has many benefits including helping you lose weight. Did you know that you should be drinking at least 2 litres of water every day? Having enough water in your system will aid in flushing harmful toxins from your body and replenish the water lost throughout your day. Other benefits include helping with digestion, regulating your body temperature, giving you better-looking skin, and combatting headaches.
Extra tip: Buy a bottle that you really like and carry it with you everywhere so you can measure your water intake by the bottle, not by the cup. If you’re forgetful, set an alarm to remind you to drink water several times a day. It may seem a little silly but it’s better to be hydrated than sorry.
3. Eat appropriately to match your goals.
Are you eating at least 3 times per day? Do those meals have the right amount of calories and the right balance of carbohydrates, protein, and fats? If not, you are doing your body and your metabolism a disservice. You may think that to lose weight, you should eat less than your body requires. When you do that, your body actually goes into a starvation mode, which will cause your body to consume even more food. I recommend taking 3 meals with small snacks in between. Having something in your stomach every 3–4 hours will keep your body nourished and boost your energy levels throughout the day. There is a time and place to set a calorie deficit, but ease your body into it. Get the right amount of calories first!
Extra tip: If you are unsure of the minimum amount of calories you should be taking, there are great websites that can calculate the right amount of calories you need based on your weight, age, height, and activity. Or if you go to the gym, ask a trainer to help you figure that out as well. You may be surprised to know how much you should actually be eating.
Protein is another nutrient that often gets overlooked. If you are doing any kind of resistance training, protein can be beneficial to help turn body fat into muscle. Examples of protein include meat, fish, nuts, legumes, beans, certain vegetables, and eggs.
4. Stay active.
Staying active can be achieved through playing a sport, taking a walk, going to the gym, or taking a class. If you can do something active at least 30 minutes per day, you are on the right track to hitting those goals! It’s that simple.
5. Keep in mind the importance of resistance training.
I believe that resistance training can help in so many ways to meeting and exceeding your goals. Adding resistance training into your routine will burn calories more effectively and over a longer period of time versus just doing a cardio session. It will also turn body fat into muscle which will help you look more toned and solid. If you can work out in a gym, use free weights to help strengthen your core and muscles. Proper execution will engage the core more than you think. Even body weight movements such as squats and push-ups will need the help of your core to keep you stable. Females can especially benefit from weight training to prevent bone diseases such as osteoporosis.
Please do not hesitate to ask a professional to learn more about achieving a healthy lifestyle. Be consistent. Stick to your routine. If you can take one or all of these points and stay committed, you will be on your way to achieving your goals. Conquer one goal at a time. The biggest mistake you can make towards achieving your goal is to take on too much only to fall behind and end up believing you are a failure. You got this!
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