Starting Your Wellness Journey

Starting Your Wellness Journey

By Nicole Hogan-Jenkins | Expert Fitness Trainer

You’ve made the choice to get your butt into gear and make the healthy changes that you’ve been putting off for the last 10 years, but now what? You know that you want to get more active and eat healthier, but knowing how to get started can be overwhelming. The key to a lasting wellness journey is to start by taking baby steps. You don’t want to go all out by starting a strict diet and exercising for two hours a day; you’ll be sore, hungry and probably give up by the following week. By giving yourself the chance to adjust to small changes, your body will thank you and your wellness journey will be a lot more enjoyable.

Getting off of the Couch

woman channel surfing on the coach

Photo Credit: sodahead.com

You want to start exercising, but you haven’t done a pushup since high-school gym class. That’s totally fine! There is no time like the present to get started! Let’s take a look at the amount of time that you can commit to getting active. Try to carve out 15 to 30 minutes of activity twice a week. Engage in activities that you enjoy like walking, biking or playing a game of catch with the kids; no one said that staying active had to be torturous. If you enjoy the camaraderie of a class environment, try a yoga or spinning class. Having others around to help hold you accountable can really help you on days when you feel like skipping your workout. Starting in a class environment worked well for me; I started by taking hot yoga twice a week, I made friends with the people in my classes and they would ask about me if I ever missed a class. After one month, I began to anticipate my classes because I enjoyed the way I felt afterwards and I also enjoyed socializing with the people in them. If you commit to at least four weeks of activity, you will notice your energy levels increasing, you’ll sleep more soundly, you’ll start to look better and you will eventually look forward to exercising.

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What’s in the Refrigerator?

Eating healthy should be tasty, fun and you should not feel deprived. Instead of cutting out all of the foods you enjoy, opt for healthier versions. For example, if you enjoy deep-dish pizza, switch to thin crust. Maybe a juicy burger with all of the toppings is your thing, take the burger off of the bun and enjoy. Perhaps you have a sweet tooth, satisfy your cravings with a healthy sweet treat like Greek yogurt with granola or opt to have your favorite dessert once a week. My first major healthy nutrition change was to cut out all fried foods. If I wanted fried chicken, I would opt for oven fried chicken. If I was craving French fries, I would bake them.

woman choosing between burger and salad

Photo Credit: gymfreeworkouts.com

My healthy substitutions tasted better than the original versions. “Diet” is a four letter word in my book, because diets are extremely unpleasant and they aren’t sustainable. However, making small adjustments to your eating habits will help you redesign your relationship with food.

The key to successfully improving your physical wellness is consistency. Taking baby steps toward your long term goals will help you sustain your new healthy habits. You will have a “bad” day here and there. You may have a bad week, but don’t let a “cheat” make you want to give up on all of your hard work. I’ve definitely had my share of bad days, but I stay focused on making the next day a better day. Don’t beat yourself up, because we all have those moments. Shake it off and commit to yourself the next day; those great days will turn into great weeks.

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