A lot of people ask me if I work out often.
No, I don’t exercise every day. I also don’t look like I exercise every day. Everyone is different and responds to exercise in different ways but I would look much different if I exercised every day. I guess compared to the average person I can seem more fit because 1. I used to train heavily in university. I competed in track and this required, cardio, weight training, and power training techniques. 2. I have Ghanian genetics that have served me well. When I do train it pays off quickly because of these two major background factors.
In early high school, I was addicted to french fries (I still am) and excessively large donuts. However, before that, I was an active child. I played outside, biked, rollerbladed, took gym class, and joined running teams. All of these factors play into what I look like now as an adult. I’m still generally very active and do almost everything I did growing up. Do I watch what I eat? I sure do, but it doesn’t mean I won’t indulge. I tend to only choose my favourite treats.
The truth will set you free
First things first. Why don’t you want to exercise? Working out can be annoying when you first start. It’s embarrassing, tiring, painful and there are a whole heap of other things you could be doing. The truth is that it’s easier to be lazy and not to care and so we make excuses. I’ve felt all those things at some time or another so no one is immune. But we need to own up to the truth.
A huge factor in weight loss is changing how you think. Many people excuse their day to day behaviour by believing that eating healthy is a chore, it doesn’t taste good and it’s expensive. We excuse our resistance to training by comparing ourselves to others and believing that we have something holding us back that no one else has. This could be true for people with physical and mental barriers. But some of us are healthy enough to do something and yet we don’t. Taking our health for granted is never a good idea.
In comparing ourselves to others we want to believe another person’s genetics are the only reason they look the way they do. Or we want to believe it’s because they never had kids. Or maybe they don’t have the health problems you do. While all those things might be true they are still not always an excuse because many people with kids, health problems, different genetics, and busy lives have found their way into a healthy lifestyle. If you feel that your mind is holding you back you should consider counselling and tapping into some motivational tactics to help you move forward.
The following tips are simple and you’ve probably heard them already. So it’s time to actually start to put them into your day to day life. The earlier you start the better, but it’s never too late. There are many people that got fit in their sixties and beyond. A word to the wise- don’t wait until the health problems begin. Health problems are not only discouraging but they are debilitating. It’s difficult to get fit when your body won’t let you. If you’re already in that boat talk to your doctor or a fitness trainer about what you can do. If you want some support send me a message. I have friends that are personal trainers that I can recommend.
Getting healthy shouldn’t be motivated just because of how you look. That mindset won’t get you very far. All body types are beautiful and so are all sizes. In the odd times when I do gain a few pounds, I’m prompted to lose them not just because of how I look. I lose them because I know that as I get older my metabolism is slowing down. At my ideal weight, I have more energy to live the life I want. At my ideal weight, it’s easier to exercise and feel strong. If I eat badly it takes its toll on me in other ways from my skin, sleeping habits to my mood and my mental well-being. These factors can change the outlook of our lives. No matter what your size make a decision to make small changes that will have a life long impact.
Tip 1. Weigh yourself every day
When I was training for track I hardly ever weighed myself. Although I would look different at various stages of my track season I was usually around the same weight so it didn’t matter. Now that I don’t train as frequently I find weighing myself very helpful. I weigh myself in the morning and it lets me know if I’m dehydrated, bloated from PMS or foods I’ve consumed. Weighing myself lets me know if I need to change my diet or get more sleep. Sometimes I can even guess what my weight will be depending on how late I ate a meal or how late I went to bed. I know what you’re thinking (what witchery is this…) but I’m serious. I really can tell all those things. And because I weigh myself frequently and eat a generally simple diet I can also tell what effect specific foods have on my system.
Your weight can change by a few pounds based on simple things like how often you have a bowel movement or how hydrated you are. Get to know your body it will help you make better decisions each day.
Tip 2. Eat the good stuff first
Get more vegetables and fruit in your diet
Tip 3. Minimize sugar
Read labels and be vigilant.
Tip 4. Take your food with you
A habit I began at university. I went to York University. It was far, I was a poor student-athlete. So I packed my bag every day like I was going on a journey. Meals, snacks, and books made my bag very heavy but were great for my budget and body. When I don’t pack food I find myself grabbing whatever is available and spending money unnecessarily. I’m often travelling around most days so to avoid making poor choices I bring my food with me. You’re less likely to eat mindlessly if you have already outlined your food for the day. You can even put a few treats to help you not get tempted by other treats. Just don’t overdo it!
Tip 5. Switch your snacks
Opt for veggies and fruits when you can
Tip 6. Stop eating before bed
It’s comforting I know. But it’s unnecessary and actually prevents you from having a real restful sleep. To wean yourself off of this bad habit try finishing up your meals earlier. Or eating heavier earlier in the day so that you are not hungry at night. Herbal tea or a light healthy snack can also help. Try going through your bed time routine and winding down after your last meal. Read a book or do something to take your mind off of eating.
Let’s not forget the obvious…
Tip 7. Exercise
I promise it gets more fun. In my book For Black Girls: The Shaping of a Young Women I outline a few ways you can keep active in your life. Self-care is key. Sign up for my blog and get 4 Ways to Love Yourself More and as a bonus my free Weight Loss and Health Tracker to help kickstart your health journey.