We all get a little lax over the winter when it comes to our diet and exercise regime. Yes, I had a gym membership this winter, but I was too busy rocking a sweater body and indulging in holiday meals and cocktails to care. There’s nothing more comforting than piling on layers of chunky sweaters to disguise the pint of rocky road ice cream that was totally necessary after shoveling the driveway for the third time this month.
Before you realize what’s happening, we find ourselves at that time of the year where Mother Nature slaps you with a warm day. You suddenly realize that you have a tight timeline before you find your winter bod on a beach in a bikini! Luckily, there are steps you can take to make the transition from hibernation to fitness a little easier.
No matter how hard you work in the gym, if you’re feeding your body with junk food and leading a strenuous lifestyle, you will not reach your health goals. Period.
As a first step to picking up a healthy lifestyle, you should work on making sure you’re getting enough sleep. Not getting enough sleep can sabotage both your diet and exercise efforts, making you hungrier, less satisfied after meals, and lacking the energy to exercise.
Hydrating is another way to set your body up for maximum output and health. Drinking the right amount of water can curb hunger and boost your metabolism, making it an excellent accessory to your new healthy lifestyle. Bring a 1 liter water bottle with you to work and make it your objective to finish at least two full container’s worth before you clock out for the night. Used to sweeter drinks or flavored beverages? Try adding fruit or herbs to your water to make it a little more enticing to sip on as you answer emails in the afternoon.
Fitness and health are as much of a mental challenge as they are physical. Tearing yourself down or focusing on flaws or failures won’t help you reach your goals. Be good to yourself and celebrate your accomplishments. Know ahead of time that there will be bumps in the road, and that’s okay.
Know Thyself. Are you a social butterfly or need teammates to keep you motivated? Explore signing up for group exercise classes and join a community platform like MyFitness Pal. More of an introvert? There are hundreds of different at-home workout videos and routines, including some subscription based models like DailyBurn or FitnessGlo.com that’ll give you the same motivation as a gym membership, without the face-to-face interactions.
Make informed decisions for new, healthy habits. If you know you hate running and you can’t live without Taco Tuesdays, then signing up for a half marathon and following the Atkins diet is probably not the best plan.
Having a few fitness accessories on hand is a good idea, especially for nights when you can’t make it to the gym and have to make do with what you have under your roof. If you don’t have the space in your home to build a true home gym, you can pick up some small, useful tools like hand weights, resistance bands, and a jump rope. You’d be surprised how many calories you can torch with two 10lb dumbbells and a weighted jump rope!
Make it a point to remove the traces of bad, unhealthy habits. Just like you toss out the old gifts and pictures after dumping a boyfriend, you should “break-up” with the things that will tempt you to from your healthy lifestyle. Like that box of macaroni and cheese that you end up consuming at 2am after a few too many? You won’t eat it if it’s not in your cupboard.
Similarly, holding onto the skinny jeans you could once squeeze into in college might not be the right kind of motivation you’re looking for, and they might end up pushing you to your breaking point of frustration. Accept that your body will change over time and love it for it. So, donate the jeans; they’ll do a lot more good in someone else’s closet.
The process of re-establishing a healthy lifestyle might just be the most important type of “Spring Cleaning” you can do for yourself. It’s about more than just losing weight or looking good. - Making the decision to improve your wellness is a personal investment that you’ll thank yourself for for years into the future.