With the upcoming fall season, it's easy to lose your motivation to stay healthy. No longer are you thinking about slipping into bikinis and short shorts. If you are anything like me, you can't wait to throw on an oversized sweater and leggings. Although, in California, the closest thing we get to being really cold tends to be a product of the air conditioning being set too low in the office building.
Regardless of the urge to cover up, it's the perfect time to make a commitment to better your health. The holiday seasons (along with the sweets) will be here in a blink of an eye. Then comes the New Year.. and before you know it, Summer is right back on your radar.. with a new bikini that you want to be proud to put on.
So, whether you're about to begin another college year, start a new job or embark on an entirely new, healthy lifestyle, take this time to set some goals, get organized, create a workout routine and identify areas of your life that you would like to improve. Here are my tips and tricks to get yourself on track for successful weight-loss.
MAKE A PLAN & PREP YOUR MEALS
I know this can feel overwhelming but I promise you, give yourself 2-3 hours on a Sunday afternoon and prep your meals. You will be surprised how much it helps when you find yourself short on time and not able to make something healthy. Being able to just reach into the fridge and heat something up will help you curb those cravings (which they will be brutal the first 10 days, not gonna lie).
When you sit down to make your meal plan for the week, you should plan on 3 meals per day plus 2-3 snacks. Plan on eating every 2-3 hours which is the key to helping your metabolism speed up and burn fat. Need help? Here's an example of how I plan my weeks.
MAKE A COMMITMENT TO NOT "DIET"
The thing about living a healthy lifestyle is that you have to get yourself to stop thinking that you are on a diet. Your "normal" eating habits should be healthy choices. But it's all about balance. Sure, you can have ice cream or a few glasses of wine during the week. But aim for eating 90% of your meals healthy and you'll be A-OK.
PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR BODY
Do yourself a favor and experiment with foods. What works for one person, might not work for you. Not all carbs are bad. Not all fats are bad. People have a major misconception when it comes to nutrition and what you can and can not eat. I've personally had a lot of success on a Paleo and Clean Eating lifestyle. I have friends that have switch to gluten-free or vegan or raw diets. Listen to your body. If you are finding yourself sluggish all day, you aren't getting enough carbs (whole grains, sweet potatoes, fruit). If you are hungry all the time, you aren't allowing your body enough healthy fat (eggs, avocado, nuts). If your stomach is upset and bloated after eating cheese or dairy - try switching off dairy products for an alternative and see if that helps. Carry around a notepad and take notes after a meal. Are you sluggish? Are you full of energy? Did you eat too much food? This will help you in the future when you are meal prepping ;)
This is the very first thing I say to my friends and family when they ask me how I was successful in my weight-loss journey (believe it or not, I've dropped 50lbs in the last 2 years). You have to learn to forgive yourself. You screwed up and gave in and ate a piece of pizza with your friends last night. So what! Move on. You can't take back the past. What you CAN do is accept it, forgive yourself and realize that you don't have to make the same mistake. Most people feel so guilty when they slip on a diet that they decide to just say "Screw it!" and that doesn't help you. Learn to forgive yourself and move on.
I know this kind of sounds like a no-brainer but most people do not drink nearly enough water. I am guilty of this myself (since I find myself drinking coffee all day, most days) so you aren't alone in the struggle). You should be aiming for about 64-100 ounces a day, depending on how active you are. To set yourself up for success, get a water bottle that works for you! I can't tell you how many times I have had water bottles sit on my desk, still full, because it's not my trusty purple Camelbak water bottle. I've had many friends tell me that they fill up a milk gallon jug with water and mark dashes on it (and a time of day) so they know to drink it down to that point throughout the day. Experiment, see what works best for you. Adding lemon or lime slices really helps too and has tons of health benefits.. but we'll get to that another day.
If you are just starting out on a health journey, take it slow. Find thirty minutes, every day, to just move. Walk around the block after dinner. Hike with friends. Take a yoga class. Try a rock-climbing gym. Jump on a trampoline. Whatever it is, just make the commitment to yourself to do something. You'll eventually find yourself craving it and pushing yourself and challenging yourself to do better than the last time. Try to remember to push yourself out of your comfort zone, but not so far that it'll discourage you from continuing because your muscles are too sore (PS. Drinking water also helps sore muscles).
Celebrate the milestones! Layout your goals and celebrate! Lost 5 pounds? Hooray! Go get a mani/pedi. Stuck to your diet all week and didn't sway? Yippee! Go buy that cute Under Armor jacket you've been eyeing for the last month. Whatever motivates you - embrace it. And remember, whatever the journey, the journey is yours. So love it, embrace it and make it worth the ride.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lindsay Vacek has a passion for style, details and design. As a Fashion Editorial Photographer, she's worked in the Entertainment Industry for over 10 years and has a love for adventure and travel. She spends her spare time globe-trotting her way through foreign countries and loves new cultures, food, music and the arts.
Being a California Native, Lindsay loves meeting new people and sharing her version of life with others. With an infinite list of things-to-do, places-to-go and sights-to-see - she believe everyone can have a little more California in their own lives.