Small Steps Towards a Healthier Lifestyle

To put it simply, staying in shape and maintaining a consistent diet and exercise plan is hard! Here are some small things I do every day to keep myself in line, even with a busy schedule:

Pick one or a few foods to cut out or limit - The easiest way to start watching what you eat is to figure out the unhealthy things you eat most, your weaknesses if you will, and to start limiting them. This way you don’t have to worry about keeping track of calories or following a strict diet; you simply become more conscious of what you eat and stop binging on unhealthy foods. For me, this looks like cutting out soda, fries, and cereal completely, only getting pasta at lunch once a week, choosing wheat bread instead of white, and not buying chips and Oreos to keep in my room.  Cutting back on small things like this may seem silly, but it really helps you learn to be more conscious of what you put in your body and helps you challenge yourself in preparation for a stricter diet, or just a healthier life in general.

Take the stairs - whenever you can just take the damn stairs.  They add up after a while!

Wake up early to squeeze in a workout - I have only now managed to complete this step successfully after years of trying, so don’t give up!  Starting your day with a run, walk, or workout makes you feel so much more alive and focused during the day.  It makes me feel unstoppable when I get up and get my workout out of the way before I have to do anything else.  Also, it feels amazing to get out of class and not have to worry about getting to the gym. It takes away the chance of the day tiring you out and eliminates your ability to make excuses later on! After a while it gets a lot easier and becomes a nice routine!

 

 

Just get there - this is a big one! Get your workout in every day (or every other day or 3 days a week or whatever your goal is) and don’t worry about feeling great. It’s so important to just show up and do what you can, even if you don’t feel great, because it builds a routine. Sometimes I go to the gym and just walk on the treadmill, or skip cardio altogether. Sometimes I decide not to lift. But at least I’m doing something. I truly believe every teenie, tiny step gets you closer to your goal, so just do whatever you can and listen to your body. If it’s time to slow down, slow down.

Figure out what motivates you - Recently, I’ve been loving podcasts for passing time at the gym, but finding new, upbeat music or even sticking to some of my classic gym jams also helps me stay motivated.  And nothing gets me excited to go to the gym like a cute outfit. Some other things that might motivate you are fitness related YouTube videos, a gym buddy or friend who can hold you accountable, a fitness app, or simply rewarding yourself in any way you’d like.

 

Stretch! - Stretching will help you feel your best before, during, and after a workout.  After a good stretch, you’re less likely to feel sore, and, therefore, less likely to skip tomorrow’s workout. Also, we should stretch every day regardless of the activities we’re doing.  It gets the blood flowing and it feels good!

Don’t eat late at night - Our bodies just can’t digest food as well right before bed, and that’s also when we are most likely to reach for unhealthy snacks.  I usually try not to eat after 9 p.m.. Ask yourself if you want a snack because you’re hungry or because you’re bored. If you had a light dinner and you actually are hungry, have an apple or something healthy and light!

And always celebrate your victories - big or small!