Have you ever tried a fad diet, only to gain the weight right back? I know I definitely have! I have tried diets where I felt starved all the time, only to lose a couple of pounds and gain the weight right back. It was definitely a frustrating feeling because I felt like I had put in so much effort and pain, only to realize that my efforts were in vain. Meticulously counting calories and feeling exhausted all the time from not eating enough carbs are experiences that I do not want to relive.
But over time, as I have worked to find the best routine that works for me. Now I'd like to share these tips with you. Hopefully these tips will help you reach your 2021 goals!
Consistency is Key
In order to keep fit over an extended period of time, it is important for you to be consistent with your exercises. This does not mean working out every day until you drop. You do not need to wear yourself out with your daily workouts - no need to run 2 miles, do a full body workout, and attend a workout class every day. Rather, set a reasonable/attainable goal for yourself every day for you to follow through with. For example, simply starting with the goal of taking 2 neighborhood walks a day can get your metabolism boosted during the day.
One great way to keep yourself in check is to get some sort of tracker, such as a Fitbit, Apple Watch, or any other tracker tool that counts your daily steps, exercise, and more. I recently purchased an Apple Watch and can attest to the fact that “closing daily rings” really feels like an accomplishment! Every day, I set reasonable goals for myself, which are to stand at least 8 times a day, exercise for 20 minutes a day, and walk at least 5000 steps every day. Although these goals are not intense by any means, they keep me in the right mindset and the 20 minutes/day exercise is just enough to tire me out but not exhaust me, which is great for resetting the next day.
Every week, I allow myself 1 rest day where I do not need to close my rings and be a couch potato - this helps me reset for the next week. After doing this process for 1 month now, I can say that the rest days feel really rewarding, but I also sometimes feel slightly guilty or “off” on my rest days, which means that I am on the right path of creating a true habit for myself! The guilt can fuel me to work out even harder the next day.
Eat in Moderation
There is a saying that diet is 70% of one’s weight loss journey. Although I am not exactly sure where this percentage came from, I do agree that eating well can contribute substantially to staying fit. However, this does not mean that you have to start counting calories and cutting your favorite foods from your life! Ironically, cutting items such as rice, carbs, chocolate, etc. out of my life made me crave those foods more and cause me to accidentally binge on these foods when I lost self control.
Instead, eat in moderation and don’t restrict yourself from foods you crave. It’s always good to start your day with plenty of water and a protein-rich breakfast to keep you fueled for the day. For lunch, eat a full meal that will keep you satisfied and energized for the rest of the afternoon. Come dinner time, eat a lighter meal, but feel free to follow up with a dessert or snack - because why not? Regardless of what you choose to eat for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, try to fill your diet up with plenty of fruits and vegetables because the natural fibers are great to keep you full and great for your gut health.
I know this is overall pretty general advice for your meals - I do not have specific diet suggestions for you to eat. That is for you to figure out as you discover what moderation means to you. A general rule you should follow is to not eat until you are about to burst. Instead, you should feel content and satiated after every meal. And if you want that cookie, you can! Just don’t eat 3 of them.
Rest/Cheat Days are Essential
As I mentioned earlier, it definitely helps to give yourself a rest day or cheat day every week. It does not necessarily mean you can eat burgers and fries for all three meals on your cheat day, but go out to eat for one of your meals and order whatever you like without thinking of the calories or the health benefits of your meal! Likewise with exercise - take that day off for your tired muscles. Use that time to give yourself a nice relaxing bath instead!
You can set your cheat day to a specific day of the week, or you can play it by ear. For me, I like to save my cheat day to a day where I really, really need it - and it always feels so great!!
Cut Bad Habits
Most of the time, we are not able to be our best because of the bad habits we created for ourselves that act as our own personal roadblocks. In order to overcome this, first identify what these bad habits are and try to reverse them by replacing the habit with something else! For example, my bad habit is eating snacks mindlessly when I am bored. Pretty soon, I have eaten a whole bag of chips without even realizing! Now when I am bored, I make myself a tea and I sip on the tea instead. It’s comforting and helps me get up and do something when I am bored. I have also prevented myself from “grabbing the nearest snack” by hiding my snacks deeper into the cupboards, which psychologically makes me feel more guilty when I reach for them.
Hope these tips help you in your journey to become more fit! If you have any other tips you would like to share, I would love to hear them!