Fitness + Well-being

Denise Austin's 5 Easy Steps to Get the Body You Want

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 (Photo courtesy of Denise Austin.)

Starting a new health and fitness routine can be hard, but there are a few steps you can take to make it a little bit easier! I promise you CAN have the body you want and have always dreamed of. You just can’t let the “healthy lifestyle” title scare you, this isn’t about drastically changing your life. It’s about making small changes here and there for a better, healthier YOU!

Excellent health is the key to staying active and alert — and it’s the key to a long life, too. Who doesn’t want a long, healthy life? That’s what I thought! Use these five steps to help you get the body you want.

Establish healthy, achievable goals for yourself. First things first, how can you know where you’re going without setting some concrete goals for yourself? Instead of focusing on a number on the scale, I want you to focus on what you’ll do once you get the body of your dreams. Will you run a half marathon? Go on weekly bike rides with your kids? Wear a cute little black dress? No goal is too silly or small! Whatever it is, write it down — share it on your Facebook account if you’d like your friends to hold you accountable. Just keep that goal in front of your mind — it will help you stay focused on days when you feel like throwing in the towel, or sleeping through your workout.

Weigh yourself regularly to track your progress. I believe that weighing yourself every other day is a positive reality check, whether you’re dieting or not! Keeping track of your weight on a regular basis keeps you highly motivated to stick to your goals. Sure, some days the scale may not budge and other times it could show that you may have gained a pound or two. But keeping an accurate and written account of your weight will let you see your progress and help you tweak your efforts if you’re not reaching your goals at the speed you’d like to.  Make sure you weigh yourself at the same time of day, preferably in the morning before you eat or drink anything!

Keep a daily log of your exercise regimen and the food and beverages you consume. It is easy to underestimate how much food you are really eating. That’s why it’s so important to write down everything you eat and every exercise you do! This log will help you hold yourself accountable and will keep you on track. People who journal about their food and exercise are usually more successful at their weight-loss efforts than people who don’t keep track. I want you all to succeed! So keep that journal handy  — buy one that fits in your purse and don’t go anywhere without it! Remember, you have to write down EVERYTHING — not just the healthy foods.

Clean out your kitchen, pantry, and refrigerator. Get rid of all highly processed foods, foods high in sodium (salt or MSG) and foods high in bad fats, sugar, and white flour. I always tell people that if you look at the nutritional facts on the package and don’t understand the ingredients, then toss it in the garbage. The best way to know if you have healthy food, is to only purchase whole, real foods or foods that are unprocessed and unrefined as much as possible like fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, fish, eggs, and low-fat dairy. Another easy tip to follow: If you see salt, sugar, or fat listed first on the nutritional label, you can likely toss that food. Say goodbye to potato chips, candy, cookies, pretzels, soda, fruit juice and white flour!

Invest in the right exercise equipment. You don’t have to spend a ton of money to get into shape — there are just a few crucial things you need to make it happen! First, you should pick up a pair of cross trainers. They’re ideal for stretching, strengthening, and cardio exercises. Another good thing to have is a yoga mat — it should be lightweight and small enough to store at home when you aren’t exercising. It’s easier to work out on a mat than on the floor! A set of dumbbells is another great tool to help you train. Start with three or five pound weights to work your muscles and tone those arms quickly! Lastly, I strongly suggest you invest in a pedometer and/or heart rate monitor. Pedometers allow you to count your steps and track your progress — you can use it every day!

See? This game plan doesn’t sound too hard, does it? Commit to change and you can make it happen! These five tips will help to keep you focused and motivated! You will reach your weight-loss goals in no time!