It might still feel like winter out but, believe it or not, warmer weather is approaching! But you don’t have till summer to get your body in killer shape, Spring Break is just a couple weeks away! Have you been keeping your New Year’s resolution to diligently hit the gym to sculpt your new bikini-ready bod? Or, were you part of the 80% who let their resolution fall to the wayside? If so, don’t worry! Don’t give yourself a hard time. And most importantly, don’t give up! It’s never too late to re-examine your goals and set new ones for yourself. But if you want to be ready to show off that sexy little swimsuit during Spring Break, time is ticking!
Before you rush out to reactivate that gym membership, it’s a good idea to step back and look at the larger picture. While it’s important to meet your goal of hitting the gym regularly, there are other things that can contribute to your lack of success. We’ve all heard the saying, “It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle”. And although it may seem cliché, it’s actually very important to approach your weight loss goals this way. Whether you are trying to lose 5 pounds or 50, staying in shape means adjusting your lifestyle, not just clocking in 30 minutes on the exercise bike. I’ve put together three simple tips on how you can achieve your fitness goals without completely rescheduling your life. These tips can easily be incorporated into your daily routine, giving you a better chance of success. You won’t even feel like you’re on a diet!
1. Stay Active! I don’t mean go for long jogs every day or join a volleyball team, although those wouldn’t hurt either. But I’m talking about adding activity to your everyday life. Our metabolism is what helps us lose weight. And the more you move, the more active it will be! We’ve all had that friend who’s super skinny, yet never worked-out a day in her life and seems to eat anything she wants. That’s probably because she’s got a great metabolism.
But you don’t have to be born with it. You can give that metabolism of yours a kick in the arse just by doing your day-to-day activities. Cleaning the house, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking to the post office or coffee shop instead of driving, all of these are great ways to give your body the little boost it needs to help you stay trim without requiring you to rearrange your schedule. Newton’s First Law of Motion tells us that a body at rest tends to stay at rest, and a body in motion stays in motion. This is true for people too. The more active you are in your little daily activities the easier it will become and the more your body will respond to the positive reinforcement.
2. Take it Easy! Stress is one of the biggest contributors to weight gain. But not only that, it’s also bad for you skin and your hair. Stress increases a hormone called cortisol. And while cortisol is important for sustaining energy and improving memory, too much of it inhibits your body’s ability to burn fat and affects the body’s ability to turn sugars into energy. The result? Excess stomach fat! It also breaks down your muscle tissue instead of your fat, causing your metabolic rate to drop. But that’s not even the worst of it. Excess cortisol is responsible for chronic increased blood sugar, which will not only have your craving simple carbohydrates like processed sugar, but it’s also a precursor for Type 2 diabetes. Are you stressed out just reading about all those negative side effects? Don’t worry! It’s easily combat-able. By scheduling in just a little “me” time every day, you
dramatically decrease the levels of cortisol in your body. Whether you like a hot bath with a good book, doing yoga or playing with your dog, anything that you do to relax and unwind will help keep those cortisol levels in check. Sleep is also an important contributor to your cortisol levels. Your body needs 7-8 hours of sleep to combat all the stress that you put it through on a daily basis. So get plenty of zzzzz’s, turn off your phone and schedule time each day to do something just for you!
3. Cook Your Food! When you dine-out on a regular basis, you’re putting your body at the mercy of the restaurants. And while that might make your pallet happy, it’s not good for your weight loss goals, or your wallet. Restaurants use an excessive amounts of two ingredients that you want to stay away from when trying to get in shape, butter and salt. You might not be
able to taste it, but trust me, it’s there. So while you may think you’re getting the healthy choice when you order grilled chicken with asparagus, what you’re really getting is probably enough salt to exceed your daily value recommendation for the day, and definitely more butter. By cooking at home, you not only eliminate the unintentional intake of these less than desirable ingredients, but you’re also able to control your portion size better and ensure that your meal is packed with fresh ingredients that are good for you, like plenty of vegetables! Adding more vegetables to your diet is a great way to “go on a diet” without having to change much of your ordinary eating habits. Vegetables are low-calorie, help fill you up faster and are high in fiber and vitamins. So you can eat as much as you want without having to worry! A diet shouldn’t be about depriving yourself of life’s little culinary treats. It’s about adjusting your way of life, so that you can indulge when the time is right. And if you like to cook, it can also be a great way to relax and help keep those cortisol levels low too!
Following these three simple tips and making easy adjustments to your everyday life, will make a huge difference in your weight loss goals. But the most important tip of all? Don’t give up! Don’t let little set-backs take your eyes off the prize. You can get the fabulous body you want! And these tip will give you the extra push you need.