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  • Jennifer Bradford

You made the decision to get healthier; now where to start?


If you are brand new to fitness or weight loss, you may not know where to start. That's ok! We all start at our own beginning. Most people just decide that they are no longer happy with their current lifestyle, how they look, or how they feel, and decide that they want to change. Then from there, they might get a little lost. But again, that's ok! (That's what people like me are here for!)


So, what follows in this post are the 6 things that I would look at in order to start making sustainable changes. These are also things that I discuss with my clients initially.



healthy foods on a cutting board


  1. EAT PRETTY HEATHLY MOST OF THE TIME AND DON'T FORGET ABOUT PROTEIN: The majority of people who are looking to improve their fitness or wellness often have a goal to lose fat. That's a great goal! One of the first things I'd do, is to make sure that I'm eating a pretty healthy diet. "Healthy" is loose term. What does that actually mean? Well, I'd make sure I'm eating mostly unprocessed foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats/proteins, and mostly unsaturated fats. If 80% of your diet is made up of foods that can fit into the above categories, you're off to a great start. The rest can be your "fun" foods (processed foods, ice cream, cake, pizza, chips, etc). :-)


Going along with foods, I'd next tap into your protein intake. About 0.6 to 1.0 grams of protein per pound of body weight a day is a good starting point. Protein can help satiate you and actually has a higher thermic effect of food meaning it will burn more calories to digest than either fat or carbs. Plus, you need the building blocks of muscle to make muscle!



water pouring out of dispenser

2. DRINK ENOUGH WATER:


Water intake is important, too. You don't need to go crazy and overhydrate yourself, though. A good rule of thumb is to consume half of your body weight in pounds in ounces of water per day. So if you weigh 200 lbs, you'd drink 100 oz of water over the course of the day. Your body is made of mostly water and a lot of vital body functions occur in the setting of water.




baby sleeping


3. GET ADEQUATE SLEEP NIGHTLY:


Next on this list is to optimize your sleep. Aim for 7-8 hours of restful sleep at night. Note: That is not the time you are in bed, but rather the time you are actually asleep. Ideally, no caffeine consumptions within at least 6 hours of bedtime, but I would try to end your caffeine intake before noon. Your bedroom should be at the right temperature (about 68 degrees) and dark. Too hot, too cold, or too bright, and it's harder to fall and to stay asleep. Turn OFF the screens at least 30 minutes prior to bedtime, too. The blue light keeps your brain activated making it harder to fall asleep.



man picking up kettlebells


Next, let's start lifting. For real. You don't need to go all Arnold, but putting on some muscle mass not only looks good, but, more importantly, it can be an investment in your future self. Think of all the mundane things that you do in a day: Get out of bed, use the toilet, go up and down stairs, use the shower or bathtub, put away groceries, bend over to pick up something you dropped, etc. All of these require a certain amount of strength and mobility. As we age, we lose muscle mass and the ability to perform these tasks independently. Think of it. Sitting down to use the toilet is essentially a body weight squat. Putting something away on a top shelf is an overheard press. Also, if you consider yourself to be older and you're reading this thinking it's too late for you...it's not. It never is too late to start. So get to it!



two people walking


5. CARDIO EXERCISE:


We can't talk healthy start-up habits without mentioning cardio. The good thing is that you don't need to spend endless hours on the treadmill. A goal of 7,000-10,000 steps a day is a good goal for most people. If this seems like a lot to you, just start with a goal of 3,500 per day and increase incrementally from there. It's amazing to see how impactful walking alone can be not only just for fat loss, but for overall cardiovascular and cardiorespiratory health.




pink planner


6. PLANNING:


Lastly, I will continue to be an advocate for planning ahead. Please see my other blog post about planning in general for more on this topic alone. Planning can help you ensure your success. Sure, you can say that you're going to work out 3 days a week, but unless you actually find the time in your schedule to realistically be able to complete a workout, it might never happen. Meal planning is a whole other topic as well, but this can greatly benefit you along your path to fitness. I'll do a post on this soon.



So, these 6 things are what I would first consider looking at, adjusting, and making goals for at the beginning of a sustainable lifestyle change.


Also, you don't have to start with all of these suggestions right away. Start with 2 or 3 and then go from there incorporating them into your routine here and there.


If you found this helpful, please give it a like and share with family and friends who you think may benefit from the content. :-)


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