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Excuses: I don’t know what to do!

Kevin and I hiking in Utah

Sometimes the hardest thing about making healthy changes to your life is figuring out where to start! There are so many different diet plans and exercise plans, it’s hard to know where to get your information and which plan is the best for you. Should you try low carb, low fat, grapefruit diet, vegan diet… and the list goes on and on. You may feel the same way about exercise; cardio, pilates, weight lifting, where to start? Being confused about where to start is enough to keep anyone on the couch, so today we’re busting excuse #2: I don’t know what to do!

The very first place to begin your new healthy lifestyle is figuring out your goal. You can’t start making changes until you know what it is you want to change into. This is a great time to talk to your spouse or significant other about where the two of you would like your life to be headed. Just sharing your goals and aspirations may inspire them to make changes to their own life.

Once you know where you’re going, choosing the right way to begin is the next and scariest step. I wanted to give you guys some basics so that when you’re checking out diet or exercise plans, you won’t feel so overwhelmed.

Diet 101: The easiest mishap to avoid when dieting is a crash diet or fad diet. You’ll know you’ve found one if the diet requires you to skip major food groups, cut your current calorie intake by half or promises unrealistic weight loss goals. I know how tempting it sounds when there’s a skinny girl on the cover of a book promising you’ll lose ten pounds by tomorrow, but if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t lose hope yet, though; there are good diets out there! People are beginning to realize that the fad diets don’t work and are now prescribing much more reasonable, long term diets. Here’s what you should look for: first, balance. There is no food group that is completely evil and you can eat almost anything in moderation. You should be eating a balance of carbohydrates, fats and proteins every day, so make sure your diet plan includes all three! Also, your diet plan should include plenty of fresh fruits and veggies. They’re the best way to get all the vitamins and minerals your body needs. Third, your diet should limit processed and prepackaged foods which are low in nutrients and high in trans fat and sodium. So, when you’re diet shopping, as long as your diet has those three elements, you’re on the right track!

Exercise 101: The most important thing to keep in mind with exercise is that something is always better than nothing. If the idea of getting on the treadmill for 45 minutes sounds way too exhausting, could you talk yourself into a 15 minute walk around the block? You can still feel good about increasing your heart rate and improving your body’s ability to break down fats (*more on this in my next post). The easiest place to start is finding something you like to do. Don’t feel like you have to run or lift weights just because that’s what everyone else does. Do you and your partner like to play tennis? Go hiking? Ulimate Frisbee? You could take long walks on the beach, or even go for an extended shopping trip as long as you walk briskly between stores. Just find something you enjoy and can feel good about doing. Then, once you’ve found an activity, try to work up to exercising 150-200 minutes per week. It’s ok if most of your activity happens on the weekends. If you don’t have time to be super active during the week, just make it your goal to get in a short walk after dinner. The bottom line is that exercise should be something that makes you feel good, not something you feel guilty about not doing, so have fun!

In the future, Kevin and I will post more detailed exercise and diet plans, but hopefully this is enough to help you get started!

-Sara

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