Written by Millionaire’s Digest Team Member: Dusty DeGroff
Founder & Owner of: Cooking with the DeGroff
Millionaire’s Digest Team, Contributor, Health Living Writer
The more I think about the idea of jumping into a healthier lifestyle, the more I started wondering about what it actually means. Obviously, the idea is to get back to a healthier version of you. That’s pretty simple, right?
My mind as a trainer always goes to one simple question. Why did you stop? Ask yourself that right now. Why did you stop eating healthy? Why did you stop exercising? I’m sure all of you have had hiccups in life that can derail us from our goals.
We all try to climb the mountain of good habits to only fall back down when those hiccups come up again. So, how can we jump into a healthier you? How can you find your ice axe to stop the free-fall down the mountain? These are five simple elements for you to focus on and can become your ice axe. Hopefully, these are simple enough to get you started today, but also are easy to remember the next time you’re looking for motivation.
Just get Started
Simple right? Do you want to know the best time to get started? No not tomorrow. Not even today. You should have started yesterday. We need to break the mentality of telling ourselves whatever we want can wait until tomorrow. Stop that thinking and just get started. Is your goal to lose weight? Then the best way to do that is meal plan and grocery shop ahead of time.
Stop! I know you were just thinking about going shopping this weekend which is exactly the mentality that got you here. No, I’m not saying go grocery shopping right now, but just get started today. Focus on your next meal. If your next meal is dinner. Is what you had planned for dinner helping you towards your goals? If not, how can you change it so it does fit your goals?
Usually, one small modification can make all the difference. For example, if you were planning on having steak and mashed potatoes, swap out the mashed potatoes for a salad. What, you don’t like salad? Get over it! No, in reality, the easiest way to change that meal is to have smaller portions. This can be said for working out as well. Do not worry about how hard it’s going to be or how much you’re out of shape. Exercise can become addicting, but you’ll never see that if you don’t get started. Just focus on getting started as soon as possible.
Most of the time we try to do too much all at once. We want the beach body and we want it now! But we forget about all the pieces that are involved in getting our body ready for summer. So, focus on small steps and start there. The best place to start is eating breakfast if you tend to skip breakfast. Or cut down your surgery drink intake. Start with that small change that could have the biggest benefit. Try to find something that you feel OK without.
For example, soda was the first thing I cut out when I first was trying to get in shape. It seemed so daunting at first, but I can say that was the one thing that really jump started my healthier lifestyle. I say that because it was the first thing I did, then after that everything else seemed pretty simple to cut out. As far as exercise goes, start 10 minutes a day. Pick an amount of time you know you can commit to and do that.
Everybody can exercise for 10 minutes. You do not even need to go to the gym. What does a 10-minute workout look like? Walk/run up and down your stairs for 10 minutes straight and tell me how you feel afterward. You’ll find if you make it to the gym for 10 minutes, more than likely you’ll want to stay longer to make it worth it. That doesn’t matter. Just get there.
Change One Thing at a Time
This is very similar to start small, but I felt it was important enough to have it as it’s own subject. With the idea of starting small, you also do not want to make too many changes all at once. For example, you do not want to cut out sugary drinks, dairy, start a fitness program, eat more vegetables and cut down on coffee.
Start with the one thing that will give us the biggest benefit with the smallest amount of effort. That’s different for everyone. Some people it may be cutting out the sugary drinks and others it may be starting the fitness program. What is the easiest for you? That’s the question you need to ask yourself. It is said that it takes 21 days to form a new habit so take one one thing at a time for 21 days. Once you feel like you can go without that soda every day then start on the next item.
If you ask me the diet is the most important part of jump starting a healthier lifestyle. With that said working out is a very important part, but it’s usually the biggest limiting factor for people because most people do not like to workout. People try to focus on all of the changes they need to make and before they know it they’ve quit all of the good habits and are right back at the starting line. Find your ice axe!
Live in The Moment
This is a great life lesson, but we’ll keep it within the realm of jump starting your healthier you. When you’re starting a new fitness program or diet program it can seem like any little thing can derail your progress.
For example, you’ve been working out regularly four times a week and then you get sick. Before you know it you haven’t worked out in two weeks and now you’re contemplating canceling your gym membership. Take it day by day. You skip a workout for whatever reason and it’s no big deal. Get back in there the next day. Do not let one day defeat you. This can be said for the diet too. I’ve had times in my life where I had so many rules for my eating that before I knew it I was so hungry I would eat whatever I could find. Which usually meant breaking all my rules.
So, all I try to do now is do the best I can from meal to meal. Yes, the easy answer to this is to meal plan, but who meal plans? We try to meal plan week to week but things change. Life changes. Be able to live in the moment and enjoy life. Do not let one thing derail your progress. Do the best you can do for each meal and then do the same for the next meal. If you screw up and have a doughnut, it’s OK, just make sure the next meal is the best it can be. I always say if your diet is 100% perfect then you should be showing off your body on stage. Find your ice axe.
This is the number one thing I preach to my clients. Whatever you choose to do, you need to be consistent. Why? If you’re inconsistent how the heck will you know what works and what doesn’t. I think that’s the most important part you take away from this is to make sure your stay consistent. Consistency will breed results. Most people try to cut out soda, but only do it for a few days.
They never do it consistently enough to know if it’s working or not. Same thing could be said with other dietary changes. People do not do it consistently for a long enough period to see the results. Remember that it takes 21 days to form a new habit. This could also be said about working out. People usually start too intensely and become so sore they do not want to workout again. That’s why you want to start small. The goal is to start and never give up. Build it so next year you won’t need a jump-start to a healthier you. You’ll be working towards even bigger and better goals! Find that ice axe.
Article Credits: Dusty DeGroff
Millionaire’s Digest Team, Contributor