1. Find a fitness activity that interests you.
Exercise doesn’t have to happen inside a gym. Don’t commit yourself to large amounts of time on the treadmill or lifting weights if you can’t stand the thought. You’ll never end up finding the motivation to go. Instead, pick a physical activity that sounds fun.
If you like to dance, go out and salsa dance. It’s no longer exercise. It’s actually an activity.
2. Turn ordinary activities into fitness opportunities.
If you vacuum your house once a week, start doing it twice a week. If you’re a coffee addict, walk to grab your cup of joe rather than drive. If your house has stairs, roll a die and invent games for climbing the steps.
If you include your children in the physical activities, all the better because then you’re building a healthy lifestyle as a family. Over time, it should become second nature.
The idea is to incorporate (fitness) in what you do.
3. Ditch the scale.
Increased physical activity will lead to an initial weight loss, but continued exercise will build muscle mass, which could slightly increase your weight — and that’s not a bad thing. Too many people focus on what the scale says.
Instead, ask yourself these questions: Are my clothes fitting better? Do I feel stronger? Can I walk longer without feeling fatigued?
The scale is the worst indicator of success.
4. Join a recreation-league sport.
When a team is relying on your participation, it’s more difficult to find an excuse not to go. And you don’t need to be an all-star to play: Many rec leagues offer divisions based on skill level.
5. Make it a group event.
Whether you need motivation exercising or cooking healthier, buddies will help. Find people with similar health goals and meet regularly to exercise or share nutritious recipes. Maybe go hiking one week, followed by a game night — think Twister or Charades.
The key is keeping it fun and social. Facebook groups and email lists can help keep it organized, ensuring that it doesn’t fall off the calendar.
6. Try new food.
Can’t pronounce quinoa? Never heard of Romanesco broccoli? Give it a shot to expand your food horizons. You’ll never know what you might like that’s actually good for you.
That means you don’t need to abandon your favorite foods either. Just be more sensible. Eat smaller portions of carbohydrate-filled food, and find healthier ways to prepare meals. Instead of eating fried chicken, try grilling, baking or boiling it. Spices and herbs also serve as healthier substitutes for higher-calorie marinades.
7. Keep a journal.
If you log your exercise and meals, it’s easier to spot bad habits. Write down your mood and what you ate and drank. Chances are, you’ll notice that you “cheat” more when you’re stressed, sad or busy.
8. Find what motivates you.
Buy a cool new water bottle, extra leftover containers or a snazzy outfit that’s a size or two too small. The small motivator might be enough to get you to the gym.
9. Plan your menu weekly.
This takes the guesswork out of choosing a meal, which could lead to poor choices. If your pantry and refrigerator is stocked with the ingredients needed to make your tasty, nutritious meal, it will be easier to muster the courage to cook.
Added bonus: Menu planning saves money in the long run.
If you don’t have a food plan, there’s a greater likelihood you’ll wind up in the Rosa’s drive-thru!
10. Drink more water.
Water can ease those snack cravings, while also keeping you hydrated. Most people need about 100 ounces of water per day. That’s about 13 8-ounce glasses of water.
If you hate the taste of plain water, cut up some fruit to add in a pitcher. Avoid drinking liquids like Gatorade or Powerade unless you’re exercising because they’re higher in calories and carbohydrates.
11. Don’t be too hard on yourself.
Missing a workout or eating a gluttonous meal will happen. Just don’t let it derail your progress.