Springtime for many of us is a mad dash to get “beach bod” ready. But taking care of our bodies should be a lifestyle rather than a goal. With daily practice of good eating habits and consistent exercise, the “summer” body can be a year-round accomplishment. Whether it’s for your yearly vacation or health reasons, taking care of yourself physically can look harder than it seems.
Food has become an addiction to many. We eat when we’re celebrating and when we’re upset, often choosing our meals based on cravings rather than nutrients. Everybody loves a good cheeseburger, don’t get us wrong, but it’s important to have a balance. If there ever is a day where you can’t remember when’s the last time you ate something green, some changes need to be made. As they say, “you are what you eat.” And what we consume affects us physically and mentally. Switching up your diet and exercising more will not only have you looking better, you’ll feel better and the discipline that you gain will transfer to other parts of your life. So first things first, here are some tips for healthy eating:
- Baby Steps
Changing eating habits is hard. Especially after a stressful day at work or when a craving kicks in. Don’t try to take on too much at once. We’ve known a few people who could go “cold turkey” and just switched to veganism overnight. You don’t have to be that person! Start by limiting intake of less healthy foods. Cut dairy consumption to twice a week. Limit your unhealthy meals to a cheat day. Start incorporating different vegetables and fruits into your meals week by week. Instead of eating at the same deli for lunch everyday, try the Saladworks up the street. Create a schedule for which days you want to eat healthy and which days you’ll indulge and as time passes, lessen your indulgences. A transition will be easier than an abrupt change.
- Meal Plan
In the week, things get pretty hectic, what with the morning commute and working lunches. It is important to PLAN your meals! By planning your groceries, cooking and bringing your meals when you’re on the go, you lessen the chance of impulse buys. Find recipes that you can make in bulk so you have leftovers to bring for lunch or eat for dinner. Stock up on proteins such as fish or chicken and freeze what you’re not cooking, that way when you’re looking for a meal, you can defrost and make what you need rather than run to the fast food spot.
It seems green smoothies are the latest trend. But they’re actually great for you and an amazing way to get your daily dose of fruit and veggies. We’d have to eat like rabbits to consume all the fresh greens we need everyday and sometimes, a salad is just not going to cut it. For breakfast and as a post workout snack, you can pack a blender or nutribullet with leafy greens, fresh juice and fruits and you have a delicious, filling drink full of vitamins and nutrients!
- Stay Hydrated
Seriously. Water is the source of life, and we ALL need to be drinking more of it. Water helps with detoxing and keeps all of our vital organs functioning properly. A trick we learned is to take half your body weight and turn it into ounces…that’s how much water you should be drinking daily. We’ve seen the “gallon challenges” but you should stick to at least 60 oz everyday. Yes you might be going to the bathroom every 30 minutes, but this is for your health. So get that water bottle and plan accordingly. Also, if plain water is a little too boring, you can infuse it with fruits for flavor. Lemons and cucumbers seems to be a popular combo. If you’re feeling fancy you can try watermelon and mint!
Need some inspiration?
- Pinterest is a great place to find recipes to liven up your kitchen!
- It can be easy to lose track of time and fall behind your necessary water intake. There are a lot of cute water bottles that help us track how much we sip. For example, www.funfitca.com has some pretty cute, colorful water bottles that show how many ounces you should drink every our.
- If you’re working towards a specific goal weight, tracking your calories is key. A great app for this is ‘My Fitness Pal.’ You can record your meals to track how many calories you’re eating daily and track your weight to see how close you are to reaching your goals.
- Is meal planning proving too difficult? Try apps like ‘Plan to Eat’ or ‘Cook Smarts’! These apps help you plan grocery lists, find recipes and prepare homemade meals.
Now, as important as food is to physical health, staying active is crucial as well. Exercise is healthy way to reach your body goals. It also can better your moods and has long-term health benefits. Now everyone likes to work out differently. Whether you’re a hardcore runner, a swimmer or a yogi; finding the right exercise routine is as important as finding the right job. Both take time and commitment. Find out what works for you? Do you like to sweat it out? Or would you rather dance the pounds away? Do you prefer working out alone or in a group? Do you like the gym or being outside in nature? There are plenty of ways to get a good workout in so don’t limit yourself!
- Gyms can be very expensive and uncomfortable depending on who you are. Clear some floor space and workout at home! If you have cable, you might have a workout channel on demand. You can find great deals on workout videos through Amazon or eBay. Or pull out your laptop and find a youtube page that has workouts. Here is a list of 10 great youtube channels with workout plans and exercises that you can do at home!
- Fitness apps are also a great way to get guided exercises! Check out the 25 most popular fitness apps here.
- If you enjoy working out in groups, look into local classes or fitness clubs! There might be a running group in your neighborhood or pilates fans who meet at the park.
- If the usual routine gets old, don’t be afraid to try something out of the box! Take a pole dancing class or try rock climbing. Working out shouldn’t feel like a chore all the time!
Spring cleaning your body can seem like an overwhelming feat at first. Just take it one day at a time and be consistent! 10 pushups a day is better than 100 once a month.