*I originally posted this back in 2013, but thought it was a good one to revisit. The “diet” struggle is real friends*
These tips can apply to starting/keeping a workout habit OR your eating patterns. I, personally, don’t have a problem with the workout aspect but the diet, yes, yes I do. Not huge problems, but it could absolutely be improved. Unfortunately, diet is a huge part of leaning out and getting in shape. Probably more so than working out. I’m sure you’ve all heard the terms “abs are made in the kitchen” and “you can’t out exercise a bad diet”…what a shame! That would be super convenient.
As I mentioned in the previous post, I’m going to really try to stick to a workout AND diet plan. Since I’ve never really done this before, it’ll be interesting to see what the results will be (if any). Part of being able to see results is (obviously) sticking to the plan. Really committing to it!! Not committing for 2 days then giving up like I may or may not have done in the past..oops. I’m hoping posting it on the blog will help keep me accountable!
So, how am I going to keep myself committed? Lord, I wish I knew…just kidding here are a few things I’m trying to keep in mind to help me out:
Set Small Goals
This is huge for me. Basically, taking it 1 day at a time is soooo much easier for me than thinking, “I’m dieting for 3 months.” For some reason, long term changes to my diet intimidate me and I give up easily. So, instead, I’m going to focus on smaller chunks of time. For example, “I’m prepping my meals and writing my workouts for this week.”
Since I’ll be breaking up my goals into smaller chunks, I’m also going to try and record the weight (amount and reps) I lift each weeks and what foods I’ve been eating. Then at the end of the 3 months (or whatever) I can look back over the progress I’ve made.
One day at a time is way less overwhelming than “for the next few months” or even 30 days. Isn’t that funny? You’d think a 30 day challenge would be no problem since it’s really not long at all. I’m sure it depends on your personality. For me, it’s tough.
I’ve prepped my meals a couple of times lately and I have to admit, it helps a ton!! You basically have no excuse when there’s 6 pounds of chicken breast already cooked in your fridge (and veggies cut, and fruit, etc.). It’s also pretty nice to just open your fridge and have food waiting for you to stuff in your face.
That being said, chicken breast can get old. It’s a favorite of fitness folks since it’s high protein and low fat but man, it can get old. Some other great options to have around to mix it up are fish, lean ground meats, tofu, turkey breast, and eggs!! I love eggs. Hard boiled eggs are basically the best snack ever-delicious and high protein!
(For more meal prep ideas check out Lindsay’s blog. She does meal prep Sunday every week!).
This takes time and planning, but if you can bang it out on one or two days a week, it really will save you time and headaches during the rest of your week.
Meal prep for me also means planning to-go snacks. We are in the car a lot and those are the days I struggle the most. If I don’t plan and bring food with me, I find myself sneaking chocolate graham bunnies out of my kids snack bags. It just gets too difficult. Gotta plan!
Eat Every Couple Hours
I like this one the best (since I like to eat 🙂 ). This is a great idea because it never really allows your body to go hungry. When I get famished, that’s when I pig out. When you eat 5-6 mini meals a day, you’re always keeping your metabolism rockin’. Not to mention it helps you keep your energy up and it’s fun to eat.
When I say “mini meals,” you can theoretically eat a mini meal like some chicken breast and salad. Or you can make yourself a nutrient dense snack like cottage cheese with almonds or an apple with almond butter. Both will keep you feeling satiated without packing another 500 calories to your day.
Exercise in the Morning
Obviously this is not always possible. We all have different schedules and sleep is so darn important that sometimes, it’s worth sleeping an extra hour in the morning. If you can swing it though, it’s so much better (and easier). I’m sure you’ve all been there: planning on working out in the afternoon, then it comes and you’re so tired it’s just not gonna happen. That pretty much happens to me every time I plan to workout later in the day. So, if you can make it happen in the a.m., it’s definitely worth it! It sets the tone for the rest of your day too. I definitely think if I have a great workout in the morning, I’m more likely to eat healthy throughout the day. I especially feel like this when I take a yoga class. Anyone else? Yoga majorly changes my mood-for the better! Now that I’m writing this I realize I need to do more yoga.
Measure Your Progress
Take a picture! Grab a tape measure and literally measure your biceps. That sounds kinda weird, but when you measure them again after a few weeks of working out, you’ll feel pretty good about yourself when you’ve seen how far you’ve come. It’s important to measure the progress you’ve made because sometimes, it’s hard to tell since you see yourself every day. Literally measuring your muscles and knowing you’ve become stronger is a great motivator!!
You can also use apps like My Fitness Pal. I know some people are critical of “counting calories” or tracking your food, but even just doing it for a few days or a week is a great way to see what you’re really eating. This is another one where it depends on your personality. If you feel like tracking your eating habits may trigger something serious in you (like disordered eating), stay away from it.
Consistency is Key
I wish one week of good eats and workout resulted in a 6 pack but it just doesn’t. Think of it this way: it took several months to gain the weight, it’s going to take several to lose it. Stick to the plan! Stay consistent! Workout and eat right….it works…that’s basically the bottom line.
Any advice for sticking to healthy eating or working out?