How To Shift To A Healthy Lifestyle

People are always waiting for the “right” time to start their health and fitness journey. The fact is you’re probably never going to be 100% ready and it’s never going to be just the right time. But if you want it, you just have to take the first step. And now that Spring is almost here, what better time to start working on your summer body than right now! If you aren’t sure how to shift to a healthy, sustainable lifestyle – here are my tips:

Set realistic goals

Rather than setting aside time to gather information, gain knowledge, and construct a reasonable plan for accomplishing their “goals”, people are often looking for quick fixes. So when they don’t reach their goals in the first few weeks, they lose interest and quit.

The importance and value of goal setting is often overlooked and the biggest mistake most people make is setting unrealistic or unspecific goals. “I want to lose weight” or “I want to get fit” are the most common ones I come across with my clients. The difference between setting these goals and actually achieving them is in the details.

Let go of excuses

As the saying goes “when you let go of your excuses, you will find your results”. We all know it but don’t want to hear it. Excuses are easy to make when things get hard. But making excuses won’t get you any closer to where you want to be. Here are a few tips to avoid excuses:

  • Be organised
  • Prepare and plan your food ahead of time
  • Make a daily schedule to fit in your exercise and avoid the “I don’t have time” excuse
  • Train first thing in the morning to avoid the “I’m too tired” excuse later on
  • Write to-do lists
  • Involve your kids/partner/family members in your exercise where possible

Create healthy habits

Improving your overall health and heading towards your fat loss goals can be as simple as setting a few targets for yourself daily. Once you start making healthy habits you will create a routine. Consistency with this routine is what produces results. I personally set these targets for myself every day:

  • Drink at least 3 litres of water daily
  • Eat 1-2 serves of fruit daily
  • Eat 3+ serves of veg daily
  • Aim to hit a minimum protein intake target
  • Take at least 8000 steps daily
  • Get at least 7 hours sleep each night

Eat for your goals

Everyone has a calorie budget, whether you’re trying to maintain your weight, lose fat or gain muscle. Unfortunately, many people seem to ignore or disregard this simple fact. Knowing your calorie budget allows you to structure a healthy diet, and it can help to prevent frustration when your results plateau. When you know your daily calorie budget, you can construct your own meal plan. I recommend filling your diet with at least 80% whole, nutritious foods and leaving 20% for more processed “treat” foods as this will help to eliminate feelings of restriction and improve compliance. Moderation is key to creating sustainability and producing long term results.

Find the right training program for you

You could buy the most amazing training program but if it doesn’t fit in with your schedule or you simply don’t enjoy it – you won’t follow it. When it comes to starting a new training program, it is important not to set yourself up for failure before you begin! Training can and should be:

  • Realistic
  • Enjoyable
  • Flexible

We all want results fast, but sustainable progress will allow you to realise your full potential. In the end, we all want to achieve our goals in the most effective and efficient manner.

Track your progress

Tracking your progress is an incredible way to keep motivation high and increase compliance to your program. It is best to use a combination of methods to assess your progress as the scales alone often do not tell the full story. I recommend the following methods:

  1. Body weight
  2. Girth measurements
  3. Progress photos
  4. Body composition analysis

Stay motivated

These are my favourite tips to stay motivated:

  1. Surround yourself with positivity
  2. Create a vision board
  3. Make S.M.A.R.T goals
  4. Believe in yourself
  5. Acknowledge your strengths
  6. Visualise achieving your goals
  7. Recognise your progress
  8. Reward yourself
  9. Be kind to yourself
  10. Don’t compare yourself to others
  11. Take it one day at a time

Create a vision board that you look at every day. This may include photos of inspirational people or material things, inspirational quotes and images – anything that motivates you to stick to your plan. Start a reward system to keep you motivated. This may be as simple as treating yourself to a new piece of clothing or jewellery or something that you have wanted when you reach each goal you set. Progress photos are another highly motivational tool to use.

Don’t compare yourself to others

The moment you stop concerning yourself with what everyone else is doing and start focusing on what you are doing, everything becomes so much easier. When you realise you should only compare yourself to the person you were yesterday, you can truly progress physically and mentally. Focusing your energy on fulfilling your own purpose allows you to reach your goals A LOT faster. Comparing yourself to others and the subsequent jealousy and insecurity this creates will only hold you back. You are you so just do you!

Maintain balance

Something I often discuss with my clients is maintaining balance in their lives. When we face a source of external stress or pressure, we tend to focus on that one thing and as a result everything else gets pushed aside and neglected. It is important to give every aspect of your life equal attention – work, nutrition, exercise, relationships and rest/relaxation. When you can maintain balance with all of these things, regardless of what is thrown at you, you will feel a sense of improved overall health and mindset. Health = balance.