I have been a fitness professional for nearly 30 years, and in that time I have helped thousands of people feel, function, and look better through proper exercise and nutrition. While defining the body you want may seem hard, I have yet to meet anyone who did not want to be stronger and more toned, have a slimmer waistline, and feel better.
Here are 10 of my top tips to help you get the body you want, in the shortest time possible:
Have A Positive Mindset.
A positive mindset is the pre-requisite for starting any physical fitness program. If you don’t believe that you are important enough to feel better, and if you don’t value and love yourself as you are, no exercise or diet program will help you.
A gratitude journal can help! Every day, write down at least five things you are grateful for. People, things, experiences. Just write them down and think about those things that make you feel good and feel grateful. After just a few days, you will find this easier and may start to see your mood lift a little.
Move A Little Every Day.
Our muscles and joints like to move. You don’t need to spend hours every day exercising, but you should move! Take a walk, do some stretching, or even go on YouTube and check out some short yoga or pilates workouts.
Don’t Eat Until Noon.
At some point, someone may have told you that you need to eat an early breakfast and continue eating every few hours to keep your metabolism up. This is simply not true! In fact, eating in a shorter window (Intermittent Fasting) is shown to help weight loss, sleep, and hunger control. Try holding off on food until noon, and eating just 12 hours per day. If that works, reduce your eating window until you are eating for 8 hours and fasting for 16. You can still have coffee, tea, and water.
Substitute Whole Foods for Processed Foods.
Processed foods are not great for us. Whole foods give us better nutrition and more fiber. Plus, they keep you fuller longer!
Drink Enough Water.
Our bodies are mostly made of water, and we need to replenish that regularly. Dehydration can make you feel tired and hungry! Drink at least 8 glasses per day, if not more.
Make Sure You Are Eating Enough.
Most people, especially when they are trying to lose fat and get in shape, tend to not eat enough. Use a free app like My Fitness Pal to calculate your daily calories, and make sure you get them all in! So many of us have been under-eating for so long that our full-calorie allotment can seem like way too much food, but it isn’t!
In general, humans should eat a diet that is 50% carbohydrates, 30% fat, and 20% protein. There are many free apps that let you track macros. In addition to the number of calories, make sure you are getting the right macro-nutrients.
Enjoy Treats on Occasion.
Treats are good and necessary to change your body and long-term success. Do not deprive yourself all the time! I eat dessert at least once or twice a week (and a real dessert, like a donut or cake). Life is too short to be miserable (see tip #1).
Get Enough Sleep.
Without enough quality sleep, your cortisol levels will be high, as will your stress and inflammation levels. Aim for 7-9 hours. And don’t be afraid to nap!
Step Away From the Scale.
Constant weighing is useless. Our weight can fluctuate up to 5 pounds in a day, and as you gain muscle and lose fat, you will actually weigh more, as muscle is a denser and heavier tissue (but takes up less space). Focus on how your clothing fits and how you feel instead.
While these changes may seem insignificant, I promise you they are not. Small changes add up to big transformations.
With a good mindset and a framework for proper eating and moving, you will start to feel and function better. I personally lost 20 pounds just by not eating until noon and tracking my macros, with another 20 lost when I added in some daily movement. Small changes over time are the way to go!