By Angie Fenton
I AM IN NO WAY AN EXPERT WHEN IT COMES TO HEALTH AND ALWAYS RECOMMEND CONSULTING WITH A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL BEFORE EMBARKING ON AN EXERCISE AND DIET PLAN, BUT HERE ARE SOME TIPS THAT HAVE WORKED FOR ME.
DO YOUR HOMEWORK
Thanks to the internet, I’ve found a zillion healthy, simple ways to cook chicken and make my own dressings for salads. There are also numerous Facebook pages dedicated to healthy eating. I often take screenshots of recipes – the easier the better – and save them in a photo folder on my phone. Then, when I’m ready to go grocery shopping, I write down exactly what I need so I’m not wandering aimlessly. Whatever you do, be sure you do your homework before you commit to getting fit.
EAT TO LOSE
Prepping meals takes some time, but it has been worth it. While I don’t force myself to eat if I’m not hungry, I think of my body like a furnace: You’ve got to keep the fires stoked if you want them to burn. Although I prepare most of my food, I also make purchases from MacroMan – MacroManMeals.com – a locally-owned meal prep service that has dishes for every taste. The food is delicious and has helped immensely when I need something to grab and go and don’t have time to figure out proportions or calorie counts.
DON’T CHEAT – TREAT
Even though I slip and still use the terms “cheat meal” or “cheat day” on occasion, I loathe the negative connotations. I also finally had to admit a “cheat moment” for me often became a “cheat month” or more, so I don’t allow myself to have them in the same way I used to. For example, instead of eating pizza, I treat myself to a healthy-ish dinner of, say, steak, something I don’t eat on a regular basis. Or, in place of ice cream, I’ll have low-fat frozen yogurt. The treats (usually) suffice and I don’t feel it necessary to full-on cheat. On the rare occasions when I have resorted to eating unhealthy foods, I start again on my journey the next day and keep putting one foot in front of the other.
KICK THE COCKTAILS
As much as I love a glass (or three) of wine, alcohol isn’t on my diet plan, and it’s been months since I’ve had a drink. My cocktail of choice now consists of sparkling water, lime juice and a coconut-flavored drink by Bai or club soda, lemon juice and mashed blueberries. I now think of alcohol as unnecessary calories and a trigger to slipping back into old eating habits I’ve worked really hard to break. When I recently considered having just one glass, I grabbed a bottle of water and forced myself to weigh the pros (there weren’t any) and cons (there were many). I may indulge in the future, but for the present time, it’s not for me.
SEARCH FOR SUPPORT
My husband has been a constant source of support, which is helpful, and I have a few friends I reach out to as well. I also occasionally share tidbits of my journey on social media. Accountability is important to success. Search for support in whatever way works for you.
You don’t have to join a gym in order to exercise, although being a member of one can help with accountability. I have a number of friends who swear by Four Barrel CrossFit (you get a workout and a great community of supporters), love Planet Fitness (clean and open 24-7), thrive on personal trainers that come to your home (Ryan Schrink of Schrink Personal Training is THE best) and, for the ladies, have had big success at B.You. I belong to a gym and also exercise at home. Some days that means going for a walk or dancing to the “Trolls” soundtrack with my 2-year-old. Whatever you do, get moving and regularly.