When you hear about healthy goals, are you excited about the subject or like me, do you cringe and would rather hide? There’s all kinds of speculations, perceptions, inspiration and motivation, diet plans and so on about what is healthy and “guides” on how to achieve such. In this edition of Goals – Be Healthy, Wealthy and Wise (Part 2 of 9), we’re going to discuss the healthy part. If you’re looking for the newest diet plan fad or a step by step to achieve the body you want, you won’t find it here. If you want to be informed and make healthy goals tailored to YOU and why should make those important goals, then this is the place for you! This is a complete #nojudgementzone.
So let’s start at the beginning!
What are your current healthy goals?
No matter if you’ve accomplished them, in the middle, got started and life got in the way or if you never started. I want you to write them down, list out everything that you want to achieve. Don’t worry about putting them in any particular order, just let it flow. Once you have that, I want you to re-read over them. Are you seeing a trend? Are you focusing on upping exercise frequency/hitting the gym [more]? Are you focusing on weight loss/gain? Are you focusing on preventing and/or maintaining a disease/disorder such as diabetes, arthritis or fibromyalgia? Are you focusing on all of the above? There are no wrong answers here. You have to choose what is right for YOU but also remain realistic about it. You’re not going to lose 10lbs in a week (unrealistic and dramatically stressful on the body and henceforth, unhealthy). You’re not going to become enter disease-remissive/preventive in just 2 simple weeks.
Now that you know what you want to accomplish, we’re gonna touch base on the following to help you achieve those goals:
To achieve the goals that you want, you need to understand what you need/need to do. You also need to understand your body [more]. Let’s discuss nutrition real quick. Your body needs Carbs, Fat, Fiber, Sodium, Sugar, Protein and vitamins to properly work. This article over at The Science of Eating explains the process, has charts and calculations to help you achieve your goals.
Some basic knowledge in the mean time:
- Carbs – breaks down into glucose (sugar) which powers your body
- Fat – helps the body absorb Vitamins A, D, E, K – also provides energy when glucose is low
- Fiber – Keeps you regular expelling what your body doesn’t need – also helps keep you feeling full and not overeating
- Sodium – needed for normal heart rhythm – electrolytes
- Sugar – provides energy for the body
- Protein – needed for muscle building and maintenance – also used for energy when carbs and fat not available.
You need all of these to make your body work. Doing low carb, low fat diets don’t really work. You are basically starving off your body of something it needs in the name of, lets say, weight loss. In these cases, there is no winner. Instead, an analysis of the body, what level of exercise and other factors is needed to make a plan to have healthy limits to achieve the goal you’re desiring. There are many eating calculators and calorie counting/fitness apps that can help you achieve this. The one I use is called My Fitness Pal (ran by UnderArmour). They have a website and an app, both are free and pretty easy to use. I really like it because:
- Able to personalize (I was able to edit sections and have the way I typically eat sectioned out – late evening/early morning, breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, drinks)
- Keeps track of your goals, weight recordings, and progress
- Displays nutrition percentages and limits for you. No guessing how many more carbs you can have for the day or trying to figure out what % of protein you’ve had.
- Social media friendly (yay for Facebook friends!)
- They have challenges often,
- Easy to record food (even has a barcode scanner! They have approx. 2 million food nutrition facts, verified food (say from a restaurant’s website) or you can add your own – especially if you have made something homemade, you can find something particularly close)
- You can set up reminders for you to sign in to log your day (by certain times, for the day, on the app or by email)
- There’s a community and a blog
- Fitness device compatible with multiple devices (Fitbit included).
Check out the website and check out your phone’s app store.
Additionally, your body needs 13 major vitamins to regulate body functions. There are other minerals and supplements that can improve body function as well. WebMD has a good article/chart on what the vitamin does and how to get it. Check it out here.
It’s now easy to get vitamin supplements when the food you’re eating just isn’t cutting it. There are many one-a-day vitamin options or some require up to 3 pills to get everything you need. Make sure you’re reading the label on the vitamin bottle to make sure you’re taking the recommended dosage. I know there was a vitamin for awhile that I thought I was getting enough. I honestly was cheating myself when I was trying to be “smart” and portion out to make it last longer. Your health is very important and worth the costs to maintain it. As they say, if you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything. I’ve been using the Centrum 1-day for Women. It’s 1 single pill (I’m VERY bad at remembering to take it, but still…), it’s geared for women (not just for everybody) and it’s about the size of an almond (no horsepills here!)
In addition to food, an exercise plan needs to be developed. Of course, no plan will give 2 people the same results. It can be discouraging to see your friend losing weight while it keeps you’re gaining or maintaining doing the same plan. Don’t be! Instead, try to realistically figure out why. Your bodies are different, so why should the same exercise plan necessarily give the same results? Each person needs a balance of healthy eating, vitamins/minerals, and exercise. Exercise should be a balance of cardio and strength training to achieve maximum efficiency for the body. Cardio is for exercising the heart and lungs and Strength training is for maintaining/building muscle and increasing bone density. Both of these can burn fat, enable the body to run smoother and run longer and keep you healthy. Don’t let either one of these scare you. There are multiple options to get both cardio and strength training in. You don’t have to go running to get in cardio. I HATE running, I mean HATE. If I’m running, I’m either very late, someone’s hurt or you should be running with me because something’s after me. Check out Pinterest or Google for Cardio ideas. If you workout at a gym, ask a staff member or hire a personal trainer (if available or in your budget). On the flip side, don’t let the weights scare you for Strength Training. You’re not going to bulk up like Arnold. You will however see toned and sculpted muscles – a sign your body is working awesomely! Free weights not your thing ? (me either!) There are multiple ways to get strength training in. Don’t let the machines scare you. They are there to help you build resistance and build muscles. The machine is just that, a machine. It does nothing until you do. If you’re unsure about how to use a machine, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE ask for help. Don’t risk hurting yourself because you’re embarrassed to ask someone.
- Read the instructions/diagrams on the machines, almost every single machine should: 1) tell you what it is, 2) what it works on/what you should accomplish, 3) how to use it, 4) any hazards/health related risks (ie if you get dizzy).
- Ask a staff member if you go to a gym to show/tell you how it works. They are there to help you! They don’t just stand around in a shirt for nothing, they work there for a reason!
- No staff member around? You could ask the person next to you if they know how to use the machine. Sure, it might feel embarrassing to ask, but guess what? We all have to start somewhere. You may never see this stranger again. You may even gain a friend or workout buddy out of it. It is always worth asking vs taking the risks of hurting yourself.
- Check out Pinterest and Google for instructions and workouts to help.
Now that you understand how your body works and what it needs, it’s time to come up with a plan and redevelop your goals. Let’s go over SMART goals that we touched base last week.
Specific – the 5 W’s: Who/What/When/Where/Why + How
Measurable – how it is checkable & how much, how many, by when
Achievable – are you willing and able to do it and is it reasonable>
Relevant – applicable to the long-term goal and what is the reason for doing it?
Timely – how relevant to the sense of time & are there deadlines and what is the sense of urgency?
Keeping this is mind, how can you apply these to your health and fitness goals? I want you to take your goal list from the beginning of this post and look at how you can be SMART about those goals. Rewrite them out or make bullet points on how you can achieve them and the things you’ll need to achieve them (ie.if you want to do yoga, you’re probably gonna need a yoga mat to be more efficient). Remember, realistic is key here. Make smaller goals to achieve the big goals. For example, I know I need to lose about 80 lbs in accordance to national healthy standards for my height. So instead of making 1 big goal of losing 80lbs, I’m doing a current goal of losing 20 lbs. I’m working on eating better (making sure I actually take a lunch break and not waiting til 3pm to eat – that’s unnecessary stress on the body + making it think it needs to go into storage mode, not normal/burning mode), better portion control, using blue and green plates to help “trick” my mind and stomach into not overeating (studies show that red, yellow and orange are eating inducing colors – think about what colors fast food places use…), working out with my cousin at the gym (gym + family time = win win) and working on stress level reduction (also playing havoc on my body and raising cortisol levels where they don’t need to be). Overtime, these goals may need to be revised a little, but that’s okay. Goals should be flexible, not set in stone.Goals should be flexible, not set in stone. Click To Tweet
So with understanding of what your body needs and with SMART goals and plan, it is time to do. It’s time to execute the awesome plan that you’ve created to achieve your goals. This is where accountability factors in.
- Use a log or journal to keep up with your nutrition and exercises. Don’t cheat and don’t under-guess nor exaggerate your nutrition or exercises. If you ate that extra slice of cake, log it. If you only did 5 reps instead of your normal 10, log it. Be honest with yourself and your plan. Allow for the hiccups and carry on. One slice of cake extra is not going to throw your entire plan off whack.
- If you don’t want to write it down or if you want the extra accountability, use apps on your phone to keep you on track. They’re out there. Look at a couple. Don’t just pick the top ones. Find one that you think YOU will actually use. Try it out. If you don’t like it, there are others to choose from. Don’t get discouraged.
- Look up workouts and try them out a few times. Write down how you feel after them. You’re supposed to feel a little tired after a workout. Otherwise, it’s doing you no good. On the other hand, if you’re dizzy and nauseous, you’re gonna wanna look at what you did, how many and for how long and then scale it back. You may surprise yourself what you might enjoy.
- Hit the gym when you say you’re going to or do the exercise you’ve planned in the time you’ve allotted. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get to it at the exact hour you designated. Life throws you curveballs. You might have to stay work late one day and it throws your time off. You get sick and decide to not do strength training at the gym. Allow for flexibility.
- Should you not be able to do what you wanted to, try to do something. Not able to hit the gym today? Walk around your neighborhood for 30 mins. Do you usually run and it’s raining cats and dogs out there? Aim for yoga or a workout on a DVD or on YouTube.
So you’ve got understanding, planning and now doing under your belt. Look at you! Told you that you got this! Eventually, you’re gonna need a bit of help every now and then. That’s totally cool! Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. Community is a very powerful thing and it’s easy to find within a fitness realm. We all need fitness and therefore it’s so easy to relate to each other. You can find community in a real life person or digitally thru an app or blog or even a Facebook group (Pam over at Hodge Podge Moments has an awesome healthy community group over called Healthy Moments) We’ve already touched base on asking people for help when it comes to workouts, machine using and why you should do so. Now I would like to talk about some options to help you help yourself and your goals. Accountability is a good factor in the progress of your successes.Asking for help is not sign of weakness. Click To Tweet
I like having an accountability partner. My cousin and I are both members of Planet Fitness, located inside the mall very close to us. We both have odd schedules, so it’s great to workout with each other to have someone beside/near/in the same room as us, we get to catch up, we often get to see Gabriel Iglesias (a mutual love of ours) on Comedy Central on the exercise machine TVs, and we keep each other honest and motivated. Also, if one of us is unsure how to use a machine or just keeping a watchful eye on form and the amount of weight we’re using, we’re there to help each other out and keep each other safe. Having someone with you is great for social interaction. They say if you have someone or a group that you’re more willing and active to do something. I have to agree. I’m a Black card member at Planet Fitness, paying $19.99/mo. I can honestly, and embarrassingly, say that I was wasting so much money. I will be honest and say that during 2015, I maybe went 10 times. The entire year. Bad Jenn. You cheated yourself on health and stress-reduction, especially after the year you had, you really needed that. This year, I almost gave up on it and was ready to cancel my membership. Work was crazy and wasn’t conductive to scheduling and I have been so exhausted from trying to help run a hotel (career change is in the works, different story for different time) that the thought of the trying to make it to a gym or walk for an hour around the complex made me want an instant nap. BUT… I was making excuses. If I felt better by exercising and stress reduction, I could handle the work stress better. My cousin joined up pretty recently, with goals of her own (and close to my own) and so I didn’t cancel the membership and it’s been great. I admit I slacked this week due to July 4th holidays and my cousin working her side job, but we both made a plan to get back on track soon after the holiday. Accountability partners work.Accountability is a good factor in the progress of your successes Click To Tweet
Along with an actual accountability person, using the apps help me stay on track. I’ve already mentioned My Fitness Pal, but there are a few others that I’ve used before and would like to mention. I recently bought a Fitbit and am LOVING it. I’ve only had had it about 4 days, but it’s awesome. It helps me really keep track of what I’m doing at work via steps, my heartbeat, how many floors I’ve achieved, estimated calories burned, what my sleep habits are (I’ve been sleeping very badly, so seeing the chart has been helpful and an eye-opener) and helping me push that little extra bit to meet the 10,000 step goals and 5 floor goals I’ve set. Also seeing that I’ve achieved x out of 10 hours with 250+ steps an hour chart is very motivating. I may have paid $149.99, but certainly well worth the investment for the Charge HR (supposedly the regular Charge is being discontinued, just an fyi) There are other options, but the flex was just too tiny for me.
Other apps I’ve used are: Endomondo (various exercises and sports), Runtastic (mostly for walking and running) and Charity miles (you can bike, run or walk for certain charities listed of your choosing to earn for that particular charitity). Endomondo and Runtastic offer free, pro and premium options and I suggest that you go ahead and pay a little extra for the upgraded versions. One was $4.99 in the app store and one was $1.99. Some other apps are monthly and some are much more expensive. Try out the free ones first and then if you really like it and if it’s in your budget, pay for the upgrades. It’s definitely worth the investment.
Get on with your bad self
I hope that you’ve been able to take the goals you wrote down at the beginning of this post and were able to apply with the SMART goal method along with understanding, planning, doing and help. I have some resources and links that I’ll be sending out to my newsletter subscribers soon to help further aid in healthy endeavors. Sign up for my emails and I’ll be more than happy to send those out to you as well!
In the meantime, I would love to hear from you about your goals, your plan and should you need it, help on accountability. Feel free to comment below, tweet me your goals, send me some pins on workouts that you find interesting or helpful or email me your goals, plan and how you would like me to help keep you accountable.
Let’s get healthy together and shine bright