Success in health and fitness doesn’t happen all at once.
It’s not about giving it all or nothing; it’s a journey.
Yes, it is good to have ambition and drive when you are working towards a goal. However, in order to see sustainable results and maintain your health and fitness as you age, you will have more success if you start with small, manageable changes, as opposed to trying to change everything at once.
I see it all the time, someone gets the fitness bug so they join a gym and decide to start working out 5 days a week, change their diet, quit smoking and pursue a new career in instagram modelling all at once…Ok, the last one’s a joke, but the point is people always seem to try and change too much at once. Then a month, sometimes sooner, down the road, they are completely burnt out, give up on all of their goals and go back to all of their old habits.
Improving your health and fitness is about making small changes and slowly learning to be a little bit better than you were before.
Slow and steady really does win the health and fitness race.
And as much as everyone wants to see instant results, that is not only unrealistic and impossible, but it is not safe or healthy either. Lasting results come from slowly making better and better choices until you have created a healthier lifestyle that matches both your long term goals and how much you can handle.
Improving your health and fitness shouldn’t seem impossible. Furthermore, it certainly doesn’t mean you have to give up everything you love and change your whole life.
It doesn’t take a lifestyle overhaul to make a difference.
The most successful people will start small, and build off of that success. You want to start by committing yourself to one little change at a time, be consistent with it and eventually you will see results. After this small change has become a habit and you no longer have to think about it, then you can add another change, and so on.
The beauty of beginners, is that even just one small change can make a huge difference.
For example, say you are currently a big pop drinker. You drink 2-3 cans on a slow day, so you decide that your first change will be to replace the pop with water. Since 1 can of pop is roughly 150 calories, if you were currently drinking 3 cans of pop everyday, after 1 week that is 3150 calories. Therefore, by changing nothing else in your diet or exercise, you will consume 3150 less calories a week. To put that in perspective, 3500 calories is 1 pound, which means you will lose almost 1 pound a week, by making the small change of pop instead of water.
Or, say you are at a potluck dinner with friends. You choose to fill your plate with mostly veggies and healthier cuts of meat instead of choosing the nachos and 8 different kinds of dip. You have a few small servings of some of the less healthier options, then you proceed to have one dessert. Ensuring your plate has a sufficient serving of protein and vegetables will help you to feel satiated, which will decrease the likelihood of you overindulging on sweets and junk food.
Another example of a small, but beneficial change is adding in a new habit. You could start walking your dog when you come home from work instead of going right to the couch to binge watching Netflix for 5 hours. This small change will not only help your body and health by getting the circulation flowing and burning calories, but it will also help you clear your head and destress after a busy day.
Small changes build the foundation of your health and fitness.
The point of the small changes is to build a solid foundation of healthy habits. Then, as you see and feel the difference in your body you will be more motivated to keep improving and therefore keep making small changes. This motivation typically leads to even bigger changes as well as confidence in knowing that you can be successful. Then you can keep adding or changing habits until you find a lifestyle that works best for your goals and health.
Simple changes you can start making today:
- Buy a water bottle, carry it with you every where you go, and aim for 2+ litres of water a day.
- Add in a planned walk everyday. Minimum of 10 minutes.
- Make sure you get 4 or more handfuls of vegetables in everyday, or even easier, eat a salad once a day.
- Look for more opportunities to move; park at the far end of the parking lot, take the stairs rather than the elevator, stand instead of sit wherever possible, etc.
- Decrease alcohol/ sugary drinks to only 1-2 days a week (or month).
- Join a gym, try an exercise class, google at home workouts, start with 2-3 workouts a week.
There are so many little habits that you can start today that will get you on the right path to a healthier and happier lifestyle. If you are feeling overwhelmed by your goals and plan of action, sit down and simplify it. Find things that you are completely confident that you can do and start there. Keep in mind that it doesn’t have to be something big and extravagant, as long as you get started.
Being healthy is about consciously making the better choice.
Being successful with health and fitness is all about choice. It is a combination of all of the little choices you make. It is not about always making the perfect choice, but about making the better choices more often than not.
One step at a time, one choice at a time, can completely change your life.
Most people know what foods and habits are good for their body and which aren’t, but it can be overwhelming to try to change them all at once. So don’t get yourself all worked up by thinking that being healthy and getting in shape has to be a huge challenge. Improving your health and fitness, and reaching your goals is about continuously making better choices, while never totally depriving yourself.
You still want to enjoy the life that you are working at getting so healthy for.
If you’re still stuck and don’t know where to start check out any of my posts below to give you some ideas, or feel free to send me an email with any questions!