While I don’t consider myself an expert, I’ve certainly been dedicated to health and fitness long enough that I’ve picked up some great lessons along the way. I’ve had the numerous ups and downs of someone traveling along the journey of making their health a lifestyle rather than a short-term goal, although I’ve definitely had those too. Since I know fitness is on a lot of people’s resolutions for 2018, I thought I would share some of my biggest tips that have helped me along the way.
1. Don’t dwell in the “downs”– This is one of the hardest but most important lessons I have learned. When making health and fitness a lifestyle, you are inevitably going to experience some slip ups or moments of stagnation; everyone does. I spent years being so unbelievably strict, working out for 2-3 hours every single day, never even eating a bite of “bad food”, days of not eating anything and guess what? I was miserable AND I didn’t get a single step closer to bettering my health. These habits weren’t good for my mind or body. It’s taken years but I’ve finally learned to embrace the slip-ups. They’re an important part of my journey. They DO NOT mean I have failed, they DO NOT mean I am unworthy, and they certainly DO NOT mean I will never reach my goals. It’s quite the opposite actually because it means I am human and I’m going to come back stronger than ever tomorrow!
2. Drink more water– I know this one is such a cliche but, man, is it true. I think all of us know that we need to drink more water, but we really don’t make an active effort to do it. And for awhile, I had to force myself to carry around a huge liter of water so I remembered to drink it but I cannot tell you how many benefits my body has experienced! I get less migraines, I’m way less bloated, my skin has started glowing, my hunger has decreased, and so much more! It’s so important to stay hydrated, so find ways that makes drinking water more enjoyable for you.
3. Find the workouts you truly enjoy– First of all, there isn’t one kind of workout that is miraculously going to give you your dream body. It’s important to switch it up and try new things to keep your muscles guessing, to keep away boredom, and to make the greatest gains possible. I used to think running was like the holy grail of fitness, but I hated it. So, I either forced myself to run and dreaded it or I would find excuses not to do it. I didn’t get any closer to my goals and my body did not change. I tried so many workouts and found that I love HIIT and strength training the most. Not only does my body respond to these but I truly love doing them. The most beneficial workout is the one you are actually going to do! So experiment and find what you love and switch it up. Maybe it’s walking with a friend, swimming, weights, kickboxing, Zumba, whatever it is embrace what makes you happy and I promise you’ll start to see the changes much sooner!
4. You can’t out-exercise a bad diet– Unfortunately, we can’t all keep our hyper-active teenage metabolisms. So, making healthy choices is vital in making fitness a lifestyle. Try following the 80/20 rule: pick whole, nutritious foods 80% of the time and indulge in your favorite treats 20%. Not only will it help you shed the pounds, it will improve your skin, help fuel your workouts, give you more energy, and much more. Also, stop labeling foods as “bad”. There is no such thing as a bad food. Those are labels we create ourselves. Just try to fuel your body with nutrient dense foods MOST of the time and stop stressing. I used to put ridiculous labels on foods to the point I refused to eat any food I didn’t cook and I didn’t shed a single pound. Now that I am much more balanced and way less stressed, I’ve lost 30 pounds and never felt better. There’s no miracle diet either. You lose weight by being in a calorie deficit, so any eating style that does that will help you lose weight. Also, don’t use exercise as a punishment for indulging. Work on forgiveness and start over tomorrow. Having a healthy relationship with food is so important!
5. Self-love changes EVERYTHING- Finally, this is my most important tip. It’s so sad for me to say but I literally spent my entire teenage years HATING my body. I viewed it as disgusting and unworthy for not looking like my petite best friend’s or like the girls I saw on magazines. I longed for a naturally petite body, but that’s not what I’ve been given. I have an hourglass figure and naturally muscular build. I will never have a petite or Victoria’s Secret angel’s body, and that okay! I was desiring a body that was literally impossible for me to have. Of course I have fitness role models, but I’ve made sure they have similar builds as me so I can be realistic in my goals. Also, I don’t punish myself for not looking like them anymore. We are all in different parts of our journey and I will never look exactly like someone else. I constantly have goals I want to meet but I’ve finally learned to love my body in every stage of the process. I’ve come so far and even though I want to go further, I worked so hard to be the woman I am today and that’s worth celebrating!!
I really hope you’ve found some comfort and inspiration from this post. Like I said, I’m no expert but I know how lonely and defeated I used to feel on my journey and I don’t want anyone else to feel that way. Remember, to love and have fun before anything else. I will always regret the holidays that I was too busy obsessing over my body to enjoy the love and family around me. Enjoying life is so much more important than being shredded, so find your balance and love every step of this journey!
All my love and support,
The Traveling Brunette