When you look in the mirror, do you like what you see? A lot of us are entirely too hard on ourselves, but to be fair, no one is perfect. We all could use improvement somewhere in our lives, especially when it comes to living a healthier lifestyle.
They say when you know better, you do better, right? Well, that’s not always the case for a lot of people. Ever since we were children going to school, we learned about the food pyramid and how everyone should eat a well-balanced diet. However, we still ate junk food and continue to do so today, knowing the health risks associated with it.
The “Whys” of Junk Food
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirms that 1 out of 3 Americans eat fast food every day. Do you remember the “this is your brain on drugs” PSA commercials from the late 80s/early 90s? Well, I think we need that same concept for a fast food PSA. A commercial on the effects of junk food would show the risks of heart disease, stroke, obesity, and other health risks associated with junk food.
There are really two main reasons why junk food is a go-to among many Americans, and those two reasons are convenience and affordability.
The Convenience of Junk Food
Regardless of the type of junk food, whether it’s fast-food or instant meals, the common denominator is convenience. It’s typically food that’s easy to grab on-the-go or prepare quickly. The ease of these types of food is extremely convenient for people who work long hours, travel a lot, or who don’t have time to spend in their kitchens.
If you pay close attention, convenience stores and fast-food restaurants are located very close to schools and places of business to provide easy access to food for many Americans of all ages.
Junk Food: It’s Affordable
To eat healthily, it can be quite expensive, depending on what type of foods you want to consume. To complement the convenience aspect of junk food, it’s also very affordable for many people. With junk food having the components of accessibility, affordability, and convenience, it makes the idea of nutrition go out the window.
If you really think about it, the reasoning behind eating junk food makes perfect sense. You can eat tasty and delicious food (without having to cook it yourself) all for little to nothing. A lot of fast food places have adopted the “dollar menus” now and have made it very easy to overeat, crushing proper portion sizes. It forces consumers to get their money’s worth.
Experience Doesn’t Have to Be Your Teacher
In this thing we call life, there are moments where we’re not able to see clearly until we’ve actually accomplished the goal we’ve set out for. Those moments include career goals, relationship goals, and, if course, fitness goals but who says you have to experience those teachable moments in order to learn from them?
On your journey to physical fitness and achieving the body you want, you can glean the knowledge and information up front and learn from others’ mistakes to help you progress forward. Let’s dive into some health tips that you can start now on your road to fitness that will keep you on the right track…the only requirement is a little discipline on your end.
Create a Plan and Stick to It
With any type of goal, you have to create some kind of plan to achieve it. You can’t expect to lose weight by doing the same thing you’ve been doing… which was not exercising and eating whatever you wanted, whenever you wanted. From meal prepping to being more physically active, you have to create a plan to get healthier and lose weight, and actually stick to that plan… consistency is key.
Just remember, nobody plans to fail but many fail to plan. Your plan doesn’t have to be some elaborate strategy for fitness. It can be something as simple as meeting with a friend twice a week for group fitness, or you can try out new fitness trends to break up the monotony of traditional workouts.
Keep Your Goals Specific and Realistic
To help you make realistic, healthy goals, keep the following in mind:
- You won’t see instant results so don’t start jumping on the scale from day one.
- You’re not going to be awesome at working out, especially if it’s your first time. Remember that it’s okay to struggle, so long as you’re making the effort.
- You can’t expect to run 10 miles if you can’t run for one. That goes for all exercises. Start small and work your way up.
- Cheat meals are important. You can’t completely cut out your favorite foods or you’ll give up. Give yourself a cheat meal about once a week as a reward for sticking to your routine.
- Be specific in what you want to achieve. Don’t say, “I want to lose weight.” Say, “I want to lose 20 pounds in four months.” It will help you gauge your progress and stay motivated.
One of the biggest mistakes people tend to make on their journey to health and fitness is jumping on these “lose weight quick” dieting schemes. You’ll buy all these random food and incorporate strange habits, only to not lose weight. If you are someone that needs to follow some sort of diet plan to stay disciplined, the best diet that you can follow is the Mediterranean Diet.
The Mediterranean diet has recipes that are sustainable and realistic. They allow you to eat the foods you love all while being able to maintain the hectic schedule that most people have… not to mention, the meals are so delicious!
Drink Plenty of Fluids
When you work out, especially during intense sessions, you’re going to need to replenish the minerals and nutrients you sweat out of your body. Some people will have a mixture of coconut water and regular water. If you’re not a fan of coconut water, you can opt for sports drinks that contain electrolytes to rehydrate your body.
Another helpful tip when it comes to water consumption is to know how much water you need daily based on how much you weigh. You can calculate this by taking your current weight and dividing it in half. That will be the number of ounces of water you would need to consume daily For example if you weigh 140 pounds, you need to drink at least 70 ounces of water daily.
Curb Your Cravings
A lot of the time, when you have cravings, it can be an indicator that your body is lacking some type of nutrient in your diet. It can also mean that you just really have a taste for chocolate! If your body is lacking sleep or not receiving an appropriate amount of hydration, it can cause your body to crave certain foods. Try drinking a glass of water in place of indulging in that craving. A lot of the time, water will kill that craving.
Be Realistic With Yourself
In being realistic with yourself, you have to understand that losing weight is not something that’s going to happen overnight. Knowing that, if you have clothes in your closet that are too small, you don’t necessarily have to throw them out, especially if you plan on getting back to that size. But while you’re on your journey to getting back to that size, you have to buy yourself new clothes that represent the size you currently are.
Trying to fit into clothes you can no longer fit is what’s going to make you appear bigger than what you actually are. Buying clothes that fit your current size will be ore comfortable for you, plus, there are tips and tricks to look slim that people use all the time, and there’s no shame in it either.
It’s not going to be an easy or fast journey but you still have to keep living your life. Whatever plan you decide to go with, just stick with it and you’ll be wearing your old clothes in no time! You might have to buy a new wardrobe because you lost more than you expected!