It is often difficult when unfit and potentially carrying extra weight to get motivated, make the decision to improve your health and start exercising. Most of us have been there and are all too aware of the discomfort and struggle it takes to start a healthy lifestyle change.
Most importantly, before you begin any lifestyle changes, an initial fundamental factor is to understand and establish your motivating reasons as to why you want to change your health. It is paramount to have a driving reason towards change as this is what will keep you going when times get tough. I encourage you to write down your reasons, look deep within yourself as to what is genuinely driving you – are you wanting to feel healthier? Do you want to be able to play with your children? Are you concerned about developing a chronic condition? It doesn’t matter what your reason is, as long as it has significant meaning to you, and will motivate you to continue, regardless of how hard the journey may be.
The next step is to set goals as to what you realistically feel you can achieve. It is important not to set exceptionally outrageous goals, as you want these to be with in your reach and what’s more you can extend your goals if necessary. Establish what your overall goal is and the time frame you would like to achieve this in and then set daily and weekly goals to work with. Examples of this may be going for a walk 3 times a week, cutting out soft drink, taking stairs, researching and planning your weekly meals and exercise sessions. It is important not to change your entire lifestyle in one week as typically this is not sustainable. Focus on setting small attainable goals each week, until they become a lifestyle change.
Starting an exercise program can be difficult. If you are unsure of the basic concepts of exercise it may be of value to enlist the help of a qualified fitness professional. Ensure you find someone who has experience and suitable qualifications. Guidelines recommend it is advisable to accumulate 60 min of exercise most days of the week, however if you are new to exercise, it may be advisable to build up to this amount of exercise over time. For individuals who have never exercised, you may choose to initially begin with walking to the end of the street or around the block, and gradually build on time and distance. It is generally recommended to also incorporate strength exercises into you exercise structure, as this can boost your metabolism and is also beneficial for overall health. Again, this can be slowly incorporated by introducing basic moves such as supported squats, wall push ups, resistance tube rows, however, as technique is crucial, if you are not familiar with this type of training, again incorporate the help of an exercise specialist.
With obesity and overweight being related to a host of chronic conditions, losing excess fat can be paramount to improving overall health. Exercise has many beneficial impacts on the body, such as assisting with reducing blood pressure, insulin sensitivity, assistance with balancing healthy cholesterol levels, improving joint mobility and bone density, improve mental health, and reduced risk of numerous chronic conditions. However, when it comes to actually reducing fat stores, it is essential to also monitor diet. A reduction in overly processed foods, high sugar foods, soft drinks, sweets and foods particularly high in saturated and trans fats will assist in utilisation of fat stores. By replacing these foods with fresh fruit and vegetables, wholegrains, lean meat, and small amounts of dairy and healthy fats, you will assist in reducing your fat mass by incorporating this with your exercise regime. Again it is advisable to not overhaul your entire diet in one week as it is important to develop sustainable lifestyle changes. If you are unsure on how to incorporate a healthy diet, it is best to seek the help of a nutritionist or dietitian.
A final key element is to maintain a healthy mindset and stay focused on your goals. It is important to stay positive and goal driven as negativity will hinder progress. Difficult days are always going to occur, however, this is where determination and resonating with why this important to you needs to be at the front of you mind to assist with perseverance.
Getting fit, healthy and losing weight takes time and dedication, however, the feeling of elation and the ability to excel and enjoy life once you have reached your goals will be worth every second of pain, doubt, hard work and mental strength.