Becoming healthier can seem overwhelming and scary. Do I need to start exercising? Do I need to exercise every day and how long for? Should I just eat salads? Do I need to start yoga? Do I need to follow a meal plan?
Simply put the answer is no! This is your personal journey; what you need to do is take it one step at a time, and ease yourself into a healthier lifestyle. Start to develop a lifestyle and regime that you can sustain and commit to with confidence. There is nothing that you need to do, it should be a case of doing what you want, and are able to do.
So, if you are just starting out on your fitness journey, here are three tips that could help you to get started. One for your body, one for your nutrition and one for your mind!
1. Body: Move More
Walking and moving more on a day-to-day basis can have a huge impact on your health (and your weight). How many people wake up, get in their car, drive to work, get out and sit behind a desk all day to then get back in a car, drive home and sit on a sofa all evening? Walking is a form of exercise that is low intensity, but also low impact and has a low injury risk. Whilst it is not necessarily strenuous exercise, it does burn calories and if you walk regularly it will increase your overall energy expenditure.
Walking can also be great for the mind, as it is a great time to think and reflect - but it can also be very social by going for walks with colleagues or friends. Simple ways to increase your steps are to take your dog for slightly longer walks, get off the bus a couple of stops early, using your break times to go for little walks or parking your car further away from the supermarket or from work. Walk when you can, and your mind and body will appreciate it.
2. Nutrition: Prepare and Read more
Firstly, take the time to read the nutrition labels on food before you buy or eat it, and try to stick to the recommended portion size. Buying a 'family-sized' bag of food may be more economical, but only if you portion it out and don't eat the entire thing at once! Not only will you have more of an idea of what you are putting into your body, but you will also be introducing portion control - which can have a big impact on your health and your weight.
Having snacks and meals prepped and ready to go will also help you avoid picking 'less healthy' options throughout the day. Whole foods will be more nutrient-dense (and less calorie-dense), so not only will they be great for your health and energy levels, but they will also be great for your waistline.
Food preparation does not need to be hard or time consuming, nor does it need to be anything fancy; just make extra of your evening meal and throw it in a Tupperware box - or simply find a routine that works for you and allows you to take control of your diet.
3. Mind : Stay Positive and Consistent
You can't have a healthy body without a healthy mind. In this day and age it is very easy to get carried away with work and life stresses, but I do believe that you can work on your mindset and work towards being healthier, happier, more positive and more confident.
Focus on the good things that happen to you throughout the day. Focus on the small wins and achievements. You can either simply spend 5 minutes reflecting at the end of the day, end your day writing down three positive things that happened that day, or start your day with 3 positive and motivating thoughts.