I know it’s been way too long between blogs, but the last few months have been kind of crazy! Chris and I decided to leave Indonesia and move back to Australia. In three months we have moved countries, found a new home, and I’ve started a new job. As hectic as it’s been, it’s so nice being back in Sydney and starting a new chapter. Since I’ve been all about new chapters lately, I thought the best way to start 2018 was with a brand new blog!
If you’re anything like me, you may have indulged a lot over Christmas, and that’s OK. Christmas is all about food and family, it’s the time of year where I don’t stress too much about what I eat, working out, or how many glasses of wine I have (there may have been a couple of hangovers this Christmas.) While it is great to relax and enjoy lots of yummy treats, it does have to come to an end eventually.
A new year is a wonderful opportunity to hit refresh and reflect on what you want to achieve over the next year. Resolutions can be difficult to keep, especially when they involve health and fitness goals. I thought I would share tips that I’ve learnt along the way, and what I personally find helpful when it comes to sticking to my health and fitness resolutions and goals.
Something I’ve learnt through trial and error is keeping it simple, especially when it comes to goal setting. Setting unrealistic goals is a recipe for disaster, and the easiest way to make sure you don’t achieve your resolutions. Start out with a small goal, and slowly work your way up. For example, one of your resolutions could be to cut out sugar. Rather than going cold turkey, start off small and cut down on the amount of sugars you have in your tea or coffee. You’ll find the entire process a lot easier. Remember, it’s not a race, progress is still progress regardless of how long it takes. Writing down your goals is also useful, you can even stick post-it notes up on your bathroom mirror as daily reminders of what you’re working towards.
Don’t go too hard, too fast. If you’re just starting out at the gym, smashing out a two hour gym session is not the best idea. If you’ve never really worked out before, doing long and intense sessions is the best way to burn yourself out, and may force you to give up on your goals. Start off slow and gradually make your workouts harder. Rest and recovery is so important. You need to give your body breaks from the gym. Having one or two rest days allows your body and muscles to recover.
Preparation is key, I have found that planning and prepping my meals in advance, especially my work lunches, always helps keep me on track. I know a lot of people who meal prep on a Sunday for the week ahead. This is great and convenient, if that’s what works for you. Personally, I get bored easily having the same lunch for an entire week, so I generally prep my lunches a couple of days in advance, or even the night before, just so I have the option to mix it up without wasting food. Having healthy snacks on hand is also important if you’re trying to improve your nutrition. I try to keep a stash of healthy snacks in the bottom drawer of my desk, it mostly contains Blue Dinosaur Bars. It’s also important to make meals that you actually enjoy. Most people believe that being healthy means eating boring food. It’s not true at all, you just need to get a little creative in the kitchen. Try making healthy alternatives to the food you love and crave. Try making healthy pasta, or pizzas. Healthy alternatives are a great way to create better eating habits without feeling like you’re restricting, or depriving yourself of yummy food.
One of the best pieces of advice I can give you, and something that I have learnt through my own past new year’s resolution fails, is don’t restrict yourself too much. I have mentioned this briefly in a past blog, but restriction was my main downfall when trying to achieve my health and fitness goals. When I first started out, I used to eat clean Monday – Friday, I wouldn’t allow myself any ‘bad food’ like carbs or sugar. The weekend would come around, and I would eat whatever I wanted, in whatever portion size I pleased. It was extremely unhealthy, and quite a negative relationship to have with food. For me, it just was not a maintainable way of living, and made it near impossible to keep any resolutions or goals. Food should never be seen as the enemy, and a workout should never be a punishment for something you ate. I think it is important to be aware of what we are putting into our bodies, and the types of food that make you feel great, and fuel your body. It’s important for you to find the right balance for you. What works for me, again, is having a healthy alternative when I’m craving sweet foods such as ice-cream and chocolate (Loving Earth chocolate is my go-to!) There are some great healthy ice-creams available these days, unfortunately they are generally twice the price, so I normally stock up on these products when I find them on sale. However, the cheapest way is to just make them yourself. Making a healthy ice-cream or sorbet is so easy, and you don’t need that many ingredients to make them. I’ve even shared a couple of recipes with you guys in my past blogs, you can find them again under the recipe tab at the top of the page.
My final piece of advice is to find a type of exercise that you love. I don’t ever want my training to feel like a chore, although some days that’s easier said than done. The minute I feel bored or unmotivated by my workouts, I change it up. I might go for a run instead, or do a HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) workout, just something different to help reignite my motivation. If you’re just starting out, workouts are always better with a friend, and it’s a great way to keep each other accountable. If you don’t have anybody to work out with, and don’t want to go to the gym alone, try joining a class or a boot camp. It’s a good way to meet like-minded people, and it can be motivating being surrounded by other people with similar goals to you.
Seeing as this blog was all about helping you guys turn your resolutions into reality, I thought I might share my own personal health and fitness resolutions for the year:
- Join a new gym (I ticked this one off yesterday)
- Decrease my body fat percentage
- Cut back on alcohol
- Get my Parkrun time under 30 mins
- Go for more walks
- Be more consistent with my blog posts
- Create more healthy recipes
Comment below what your health and fitness resolutions are for 2018, and don’t forget to hit ‘follow blog’ so you never miss a post from me.
The Healthy Mermaid x