Hello everyone! 🙂
I am glad that readers found my introductory article useful and that it was well received. I have had a lot of people asking me to help them start their journey towards fitness; to give them some pointers on how to begin.
The first step towards adopting a healthy lifestyle is to identify the need for one. It is vital to understand what your personal health goals are. To me, it was that intense desire to get back to the “size” I used to be. I started out by making changes to my diet, incorporating fruits and salads and cutting down on artificial sugars and unhealthy carbs. The pith of a fitness regime lies in the diet you follow. You must eat clean and healthy in order for your body to respond to the physical training in the most efficient manner. Small changes to your routine in turn contribute to the larger goal. For instance,
- Replace your white bread with whole wheat bread.
Don’t just follow this because I said so. Ask why? You deserve an explanation for letting go off that yummier (though unhealthy) form of bread. White breads and sugars are simple carbohydrates. Your body rapidly turns these nutrients into glucose, a sugar used for energy. Although your body need some amount of sugar to keep up your energy levels and keep you moving through the day, taken in excess, this sugar is stored in the form of fat cells leading to not just weight gain but also elevating chances of chronic diseases like diabetes.
Whole grains ,on the other hand, are packed with nutrients, including protein, fiber, B vitamins, antioxidants, and trace minerals (iron, zinc, copper, and magnesium). Since whole wheat bread doesn’t go through the refining process that white bread does, it is able to retain these nutrients. Being a complex carbohydrate, it is broken down at a much slower pace, thereby pacing out the rate at which sugar is pumped to your bloodstream.
- Cut down on your intake of tea or coffee, primarily because of the excess amount of sugar that you feed your body in that combination of milk and sugar. You could replace these with black tea or black coffee. Green tea is an excellent alternative too. The reason why green tea acts as a catalyst for weight loss is because it speeds up your metabolic rate and controls the blood sugar level. It is not a tasty alternative, I agree, and it can be a very difficult transition to make. But if you can get past the initial dislike, you will definitely see a marked difference in your body.
- Incorporate salads. It is essential that you eat at least two portions of salads during the day, between your meals. This could be a simple fruit salad comprising of 3 different fruits or a sprouts salad with vegetables. Salads are a great source of fiber, vitamins and protein. They keep you feeling full between your meals thereby minimizing the chances of binge eating. Keeping your body starved for long hours between meals puts your body under stress and a major portion of the next meal you eat tends to be stored as fat because the body expects further starvation!
- Follow a balanced diet. Remember, our goal here is to make our bodies fitter and stronger. Cutting down on simple and refined carbs is good, but the body requires significant amount of nutrition to build muscle and retain strength. Incorporate a balanced amount of protein in your diet everyday. This could be in the form of soya, egg whites, lean meat, chickpeas or sprouts.
Once you start making these small changes to your diet, you will be ready to take the next step; that is to choose the form of physical exercise that best suits you. The reason for you to choose the exercise of your interest is because it takes a great deal of motivation to stick to your regimen and work towards your goals. In order to keep yourself motivated, you must choose a form of activity you feel passionate about. For me, it was dance that set the ball rolling. I had been training in classical dance as a child, and it came as a natural choice to enroll in one of the dance schools in the vicinity to continue my training in classical dance.
Like I said, what matters the most is the will to begin. Set out by making realistic goals. A lot of us tend to pitch are goals unrealistically high in an attempt to train our minds to achieve. What we fail to understand in this pursuit is that failing to achieve these goals can be detrimental to your motivation. You begin to question your ability to perform and that self-doubt brings your enthusiasm spiraling down. A little introspection will reveal that the problem is not in your method, the problem lies in the way you set your goals. For me the change did not happen overnight, it took a good two years! Because I gave my body the time and pace to get used to my new lifestyle, I was able to get there in a healthy manner. No crash diets, no fasting; patience and dedication are the key.
I hope you guys spend that extra time to look at what kind of changes you need to make to get to the healthier, fitter you.
Picture Courtesy: Google . For reference purpose only