Not knowing where to start in your fitness journey can be difficult. Trust me, I have been there! What program do you do? What meal plan do you follow? How many calories are you suppose to eat? The list goes on and on. Here are several tips that have helped me in my weight loss. Keep in mind that this tips are great for maintaining your weight as well 🙂
Increasing your activity level: Where are you currently with this? Is physical activity on your radar or if it happens is it accidental? If you do workout then ask yourself this…how often do I work out, how many steps do I get in on average, am I incorporating strength training? Once you know these answers you can decide how you want to increase your physical activity level.
When increasing your activity level, be sure you don’t plan for what you HOPE to do…plan for what you KNOW you can do! If you currently have no planned workout schedule then decide how many days you can work out. I would recommend starting with 3 days a week, at least 90-150 minutes per week with no strength training. If you are using a Fitbit, I would shoot for 6,000-10,000 steps per day. If you are someone who is already working out 3 times a week, increase to 5 days a week, 150-250 minutes per week and at least 2 times a week incorporate strength training as well. If using a Fitbit, shoot for 10,000-14,000 steps per day. If you are someone who is currently working out 5 times a week then bump it up to 6 times a week, 360 minutes or more a week and at least 3 times a week do strength training. If using a Fitbit, aim for 18,000 or more steps per day.
Stop eating 2 hours before bedtime: Most people are late night snackers. You are sitting on the couch, watching your favorite TV show and snacking away mindlessly on cheese and crackers, pretzels, popcorn, etc. By stopping this habit, you will be able to decrease additional calories and only the calories that your body needs during the day. Your body doesn’t need these extra calories right before you go to bed! By reducing your calorie consumption at nighttime, this will allow your body to transition into low gear in preparation for sleep. During the sleeping hours, digestion shuts down therefore all of that food that you are eating prior to bedtime is just sitting in your body with nowhere to go. If you find that you are a late night snacker and do not sleep well, this could be your issue. If you just can’t go without having something late at night while watching your favorite show then try having a cup of hot green tea or I absolutely LOVE the Sleepy Time tea that can be found in your local grocery store. This will help with keeping your mind off of food, keep your hands and mouth busy while not impacting your night’s rest or your goals. 🙂
Eat 3 meals and 1 snack: Making sure that you are fueling your body properly is so very important. Research has shown that 80 percent of your success will be due to what you are eating. We naturally become hungry every couple of hours so it makes sense to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner along with a snack. Missing one of these meals can increase your hunger and result in a major binge which will only hold you back from achieving your goals.
We have all heard how important breakfast is yet so many of us still do not eat it. Eating breakfast gives your metabolism a little jolt and begins to burn calories. By eating breakfast within the first hour of waking, this jolt will allow your body to burn more calories throughout the day instead of waiting until your normal time to eat. Now, I know what you are thinking…that you can’t simply eat within the first hour of waking up. Sure you can! It doesn’t take much time at all to make a piece of whole wheat toast, have some yogurt or a piece of fruit. For me personally, I’m not a morning eater but I do know how important it is to eat something. I turn to Shakeology since it’s super easy to make, I can have it on the go and I have peace of mind knowing that I’m giving my body essential nutrients and minerals to properly function.
I want to take a moment and talk about snacking. Many people don’t know what to snack on or they consume too many calories as a snack. The purpose of a snack is to hold you over until your next meal. For me, I need something mid-afternoon since my family has a later dinner which is usually around 6/6:30. Snacks should be limited to about 150 calories at the most. Here are several examples that can help you: an ounce of whole wheat pretzels with mustard, cup of bell peppers with a 1/3 cup of humus, a small apple and a cheese stick, Shakeology mixed with almond milk, cashew milk or water. Anything more than these examples are turning into a fourth meal and we don’t want that 🙂
Drink WATER: Our bodies are made up of mostly water, our organs need water to work properly, you sweat out water during your exercise or on a hot day….our bodies THRIVE for water! During this new health journey of yours, water will also help with your decreased calorie intake. Many times we think that we are hungry when truly we are thirsty. I like to drink 24 ounces of water at least 30 minutes prior to a meal. It helps me with feeling full and you won’t go for seconds which will help you get closer to your fitness goals. During your increased workout levels, your muscles will need the additional water intake to perform properly. If our muscles don’t get hydrated then they become fatigued and we can’t perform at our best. We want to make sure that our time working out is getting us closer to our goals therefore you need water! I recommend drinking at least half of your body weight in ounces. For examples, a 200 pound woman should be drinking AT LEAST 100 ounces in water in a day. She may need to drink more depending on how intense her workouts are. I personally shoot for a gallon..I just feel lighter and can push harder in my workouts when I drink this much.
I know from working with my clients that many people do not like water. Try adding sliced lemon, lime, orange or even strawberries to your water. You can also add mint leaves and cucumber for a nice cool water taste. Play around and experiment with different fruits but DO NOT add those powdered packets into your water! These will increase hunger levels and can have negative impacts on your insulin levels.
Limit Alcohol: I always suggest to limit or even eliminate alcohol consumption at the beginning of a new fitness regimen because alcohol adds additional calories to your diet. During this time you should be learning how to properly fuel your body and give it exactly what it needs to perform efficiently and alcohol does not fit into that equation. Alcohol is also absorbed quickly into your bloodstream, as a depressant and slows everything down…including your metabolism. By consuming alcohol you are slowing down your process to reach your goals and frustration can set in if you do not see improvement. I would HIGHLY suggest eliminating alcohol for at least 30 days and see how you feel. You never know, you may enjoy the alcohol free you 🙂
Beginning any new fitness routine for the first time can be scary but I hope that the tips that I have shared with you give you encouragement that you CAN do this! Remember, this is a marathon not a sprint. Enjoy this journey and listen to your body. Will you have bad days? Of course…we all do. Learn from it so that you are prepared next time. Lastly, you don’t have to be perfect, you just have to be better. Dialing into your fitness and nutrition 80 percent of the time will allow you to reach your goals. That doesn’t mean that the other 20 percent gives you excuses to dive into that sundae or entire bag of chips. It allows you to go out with dinner with friends while making smart choices, it allows that special occasion meal so that you aren’t left out and feel like you are being deprived.
As always, if you need accountability, daily support and motivation, I’m an email away. I would love to work with you one on one so if you need the additional help, message me 🙂