3 Steps Towards Healthy Living to Take When You Have No Idea Where to Begin

I started working with a brand-new client this past month, and I wanted to share her message with you. When she reached out to me for help, I recognized an overwhelming theme, and I know so many people out there feel like this… And I think I can help!

Here’s what she shared…

“I need help, and I just don’t know where to start. I feel like I have so far to go. I have lost weight and gained it all back in the past, and now, no matter what I try, I’m not seeing any results. I just want my life back and to look and feel good for my husband and my kids.”

It’s so easy to revert back to what has worked for us in the past (things like Adkins, Slim Fast, juicing/water diets, etc.), but the chances of any kind of “diet” truly working for us are slim to none because it’s just that… a diet…

How about this time – instead of thinking of going on a diet – let’s make it a lifestyle change?!? What if we decided you would NEVER again see that number on the scale… if we could permanently THROW away our “fat pants” because never again will we be that size.

I’m going to give you my tips to live a healthier lifestyle starting TODAY. Let’s make this a permanent and lasting change and thus take the word “diet” out of our vocabulary all together!

These are three steps you can take right now that will make today healthier than yesterday and pave the way for a healthier tomorrow, too.

Healthy Living Step #1: Take stock.

 Your first step toward healthy living is to get a handle on your current health status. Here’s your to-do list:

  • Make an appointment with the doc for a routine physical, and get your stats checked so you know your starting point.
  • Gauge your girth. Measure your height and weight to check your BMI, and measure your waist circumference to see if you’re overweight and if your waistline is putting your health at risk.
  • Assess your activity level. How much physical activity do you get in a typical week? How intense is that activity? How much variety do you get in your activity, and how much do you enjoy it? It is recommended we get about 30 mins of exercise each day, and, thanks to my workout plans, you can get 20-30 minutes a day in the comfort of your own home.
  • Keep a food diary, and feel free to shoot it over to me. Write down everything you eat for a day – and no fair skipping the items you’re embarrassed about. We won’t need to count calories or weigh your food on any meal plan I give you; we can use portion control containers and a set food list to determine what and how much to eat each day.
  • Check your mood and energy. Healthy living includes emotional well-being and adequate rest. How has your mood been lately? Do you usually sleep well for seven to eight hours a night? When I set out to do the Ultimate Reset Cleanse, I had no idea how poor my sleep quality was until I cleaned up my diet and thus, started sleeping much better!
  • Consider your social network. How strong are your connections with family and friends? Are you plugged in with friend and family groups that enrich your life? I love setting up my clients with accountability partners in addition to coaching them one on one because being surrounded with other positive influences, helps in achieving so much more success!

If you’re not thrilled with the answers to some of those questions, it’s okay. It’s not about being “good” or “bad,” “right” or “wrong.” Remember that the object of these bullet points is to figure out where you are today, so you can set your healthy living goals.

Healthy Living Step #2: Move more.

 Here are my top tips for increasing physical activity:

  • Make it fun. Go on a hike, join one of my fun accountability groups, walk with friends, take a partner’s dance class, or whatever you enjoy. There’s no need to stick to cardio equipment in the gym if you’re dreading it. You can also set up a home gym or do a video at the house (Beachbody has created all kinds of workouts that fit all passions and all people and all fitness levels!).
  • Keep track of it. Make a note of your physical activity on your calendar. Put big Xs on the days that you exercise. Keep a visual record that you look at frequently as a reminder and motivator. I even invite my challengers to join my app, so they can log their workout each day and keep track of their week. If you’re doing it on your own, there are plenty of apps out there for you (like MyFitnessPal).
  • Set a weekly goal for activity…. To build confidence with my clients, we make the first goal so easy that he or she can say, ‘I know I can do that.’ We set weekly goals because if you set a daily goal and miss a day, you might get discouraged; weekly goals give you more day-to-day flexibility. And at the end of the week, reward yourself with a visual reminder of your accomplishment, such as buying flowers for yourself. Sounds goofy, I know, but it really does work!
  • Work activity into your day. From the Ironman training days, I adopted the principal of “Ten percent of something is better than 100% of nothing.” So even if you have 10 minutes, it’s better than zero minutes. Taking a 10-minute walk before lunch or walking up and down the stairs when you’re feeling drained and tired can make all the difference in the world.

I also love to set up my clients with a FitBit, or pedometer, to track how many steps he or she takes per day (health experts recommend shooting for 10,000 steps per day). It seems like a lot of steps, but you will be surprised at how easy little changes (such as parking further away from the grocery store or taking the steps instead of the elevator) can add up!

Healthy Living Step #3: Upgrade your diet.

 I am not a nutritionist by any means, so I try to make it a method of awareness and choices rather than eating certain foods and avoiding others. Here are a couple pointers I like to follow:

  • Take control and ownership over your new lifestyle food changes, and replace “I should” with “I choose.” So instead of “I should be eating more fruits and vegetables,” it’s “I choose to eat more fruits and vegetables” or “I choose not to.” Research has shown it’s a more powerful language and trains your brain to not feel restricted or limited.
  • Skip the guilt. Typically, if someone I’m working with is an emotional eater and they say, “I know I shouldn’t be doing this,” it implies more guilt and judgment on themselves. They feel worse, and then they end up eating to comfort themselves. So, play the 80/20 rule instead. One cheat day isn’t going to ruin you… enjoy the dessert or the slice of pizza, and then get right back on track the next morning.
  • Choose to plan. Stock your pantry with healthy fare and bring healthy snacks with you so you’re prepared when you get hungry. When my hunger strikes, I go right for junk food, but, if I’m prepared with healthy snacks throughout the day, my brain never misdirects me to the junk food.
  • Don’t watch TV, work, or drive while you’re eating. I’m the worst about this one because I’m always on the go. When I’m not eating in the car and I have a down minute to rest my legs, I’ll turn on the TV and eat a meal there. But then, before I know it, I’ve mindlessly eaten the entire bag of chips, rather than just 10 chips. You’re much more likely to feel psychologically satisfied if you don’t multitask while you’re eating.
  • Shoot for five to nine daily servings of varied fruits and vegetables. I help my clients keep this count high by giving them color coded containers representing fruits and veggies. Their job is to fill the container 4-9 times throughout the day based on their caloric and dietary needs. It’s good to cover the rainbow of fruit and vegetable colors to get a good mix of nutrients. Good rule of thumb is… If you’re not getting the rainbow, you’re probably not getting all the nutrients that you need.

Need some healthy recipes? I try to post at least one a week!

If you have more questions about getting started on your health and/or fitness journey or anything that I can help you with, feel free to reach out, and we can set up a time to chat. It can be scary to take the step of reaching out, but as soon as you do, you are just one step closer to feeling amazing again. I’m here to help you and guide you through the process.

(Bonus) Healthy Living Step #4: Sign up for my monthly newsletter to receive fitness tips, recipes, & more?

2 thoughts on “3 Steps Towards Healthy Living to Take When You Have No Idea Where to Begin

  1. Karen Haupt says:

    Hi Whitney, I really enjoyed your blog. I have A LOT of weight to lose (140 lbs), and I just had a ICD implanted this past January. So, I need to get back to my fighting weight of 150 lbs,and get the blood pressure down. I don’t have high cholesterol and my sugar is perfect, go figure…but I do have a problem keeping potassium in my system. The cardiologist feels that it is the core reason for my heart going into Vfib. I have started making small changes, I walk on the treadmill 5 times weekly, drinking a lot of water, maybe 1 can of soda every few days, and eating a lot more fruits. I’ve been reading a lot about intermittent fasting. Eating 8 hours and then nothing but water for 16 hours. What are your thoughts on this? It has been proven to reduce blood pressure etc. Oh and my sympathies for loosing your dear friend Pat. She seemed like a force to be reckoned with 🙂

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