Amber Sapp, PT, DPT
So you think you’re ready to get healthy but don’t know where to begin? Just like it didn’t happen quickly for you to gain weight or develop bad habits, getting healthy won’t happen overnight either. Here are a few ideas to get you start- ed!
Find your why. What is your reason for wanting to lose weight or get healthier? Dig deeply for this! Don’t go for the easy answer of “I want to look better in my swim suit,” or “I want to lose 10 pounds for my reunion.” That type of goal is short term. Dig for the long-term goals like, “Teaching my daughter to have a healthy body image,” or “Stay off blood pressure/cho- lesterol meds.”
Make a plan. Plan out all your meals for each day, including the weekend. Pack your lunch each day and consider doing meal prep for the whole week. You’ll be less tempted to eat out and make unhealthy choices. Choose nutrition- ally dense foods like fresh foods and veggies, lean proteins like chicken, turkey and eggs, healthy fats like avocados and unsalted nuts— foods in their most natural state!
Drink more water. A good rule of thumb is to drink your body weight in ounces. For exam- ple, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should be drinking 150 ounces of water. You may want to start with 100 ounces until your body adjusts, otherwise you’ll find yourself in the bathroom all day!
Plan to cheat! Give yourself a reward for your healthy eating and exercising by planning one cheat meal each week. It will give you some- thing to look forward to! Once your cheat meal is done, get right back to your healthy plan!
Get moving. Find a way to increase your activity level most days of the week. Aim for at least 30 minutes a session. Choose an activity that interests you; you’ll be more likely to stick with it. Try finding a local class or group. You’ll be more likely to be consistent with an activity if you have to pay for it!
Find an accountability partner. Choose some- one who won’t mind calling you out! You don’t necessarily have to work out with them, but plan to talk a few days a week about how your workout went or how you plan to stay on task with your healthy food choices.
Try one new thing. If you are new to healthy eating and exercise, don’t try and make too many changes in the beginning. Try one new thing at a time. For example, stick with a healthy meal plan for the first two weeks. Once that becomes part of your routine, add in exer- cise. If you add too much in the beginning, you may feel overwhelmed by all the new changes. Small changes add up to big results. Consis- tency is key!