Let’s be real right now. It’s not even about the time commitment required to maintain a healthy lifestyle. It’s the effort. Why does it require some? Khloe Kardashian eliminated all dairy from her diet and lost 40 pounds in under a year… Whatever. All the celebrities ever are doing high-intensity workouts to prepare for their next big thing…. Good for them. Anne Hathaway’s on some kind of not a vegan anymore diet… Did Anne Hathaway even need to be on a diet? What is this? So how do all of us unimpressed little people not die of a heart attack at some point without losing our damn minds? Read on for some tips to maintaining a healthy mind and body in the face of absolutely no motivation to do anything ever.
Lie to Yourself
Ordinarily, I don’t recommend this. However, when it comes to exercise, deceit can be helpful and even necessary.
If you can’t or won’t force yourself to get sweaty a couple times every week, here are some easy ways to trick yourself into being active:
- Walk faster than usual.
- Park farther away from your destination than necessary. This will force you to do some extra walking.
- Take a walk around the building the next time you have to wait on something or walk to lunch during a break from work.
- Walk over to the TV to change the channel instead of using the remote.
- Take the stairs. If you have time, go up each flight of stairs, back down and then up again on your way to your destination.
- Do calf raises while drying your hair, cooking, washing dishes, waiting in line or talking on the phone.
- Planks are a quick, full body move. Do one for a minute or five while watching TV. This series of plank exercises is one of my favorite, super-fast workouts:
Should you find the time or motivation to actually work out… Most fitness type people recommend two or three 30-45 minute workouts per week. I usually get my routines from Cosmopolitan magazine. Each month there is some workout, with tips and pictures, designed by a professional targeting a specific area. I always find these routines helpful and easy to fit into my day. I recommend picking three different workouts from magazine pullouts or online videos. Vary the focus of these workouts between cardio, upper body, lower body and flexibility. I usually do one day of cardio, one day of yoga and one day of Pilates, focusing on both upper and lower body. Honestly, yoga is pretty enjoyable for me and doesn’t get me sweaty and gross. I hardly count it as a workout!
Is the creator/writer of the dessert blog that brought me balls of white chocolate, Nerds and Fruity Pebbles really telling me to eat right, right now? Of course not! All you need to do is eat rightish. While it’s definitely fine to go for pizza or a funnel cake on occasion, try to focus on whole grains, lean meats and plenty of fruits and veggies most days. I don’t have much trouble with this because my weakness is sweets. I have a pretty healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner. It’s the dessert that kills it! I’m able to work within the dietary guidelines above and still have things like pulled BBQ sandwiches, pizza, fried rice and quesadillas. Read on for some ways to healthify your fav meals and your overall diet.
- Drink a tall glass of water before each meal.
- Use small plates and measure out serving sizes. Leave the rest of the food in the kitchen and only get more if you’re actually still hungry.
- Eat your food slowly. If you rush through your meal ,you may end up eating more calories than your body wants or needs.
- Don’t skip breakfast! Have a high protein breakfast like eggs or yogurt. This will help you stay full throughout the day.
- Replace your typical white rice in a recipe with wild rice or get more adventurous and use quinoa or lentils.
- Double the amount of vegetables in a go-to recipe. Nutritionists recommend filling half of your plate with veggies before adding carbs and meat.
- Replace fatty meats like pork with leaner options like poultry or fish. Replace half of the eggs in a recipe with egg whites.
- Have a Meatless Monday with an entrée centered around low fat options like beans or tofu.
- Grab a piece of fresh fruit to satisfy a sweet craving or have nuts or string cheese to satisfy a salty craving. Keep healthy snacks on hand and ready to go for when the craving hits.
- Have a Sweet/Cheat Day and give gifts! I make sweets about once a week on my Sweets Day, which is usually a Friday. I’ll have a serving (or two!) and then bring the rest to work, school or family gatherings to share the sweetness. This helps me eat well without denying myself ALL of the good stuff.
- Also check out some of our low fat dessert options:
Keep Calm and Carry On
Remember that health isn’t just about diet and exercise. Stress can lead to weight gain or much more serious problems!
- Don’t count calories and stress out over everything you eat or drink. This is a major problem I have with most diets that require you to track every single thing. Stress releases cortisol. Elevated cortisol levels can cause all kinds of problems! It may interfere with immune function or memory, raise blood pressure and cholesterol levels, increase weight gain and risk of mental illness and lower life expectancy. Additionally, not all calories are created equal anyway.
- Get plenty of sleep each night. Try to go to bed and wake up around the same time every day. Avoid caffeine or eating and drinking too much before bed. Set your thermostat at around 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Meditate for at least ten minutes per day. If you can do more than ten minutes than go for it! Meditation is proven to reduce stress and signs of aging. It also promotes a feeling of calm, happiness and social connectivity. Meditation may improve your immune system, overall brain function and metabolism.
- Practice mindfulness. This just means being aware of yourself, your feelings and your body throughout the day. When you are thirsty, drink. When you are hungry, eat. And when you are tired, sleep. It sounds simple but many people ignore their bodies.
- Do something for yourself each week like taking a bath, reading a book or taking yourself out on the town.