It’s Healthy Weight Week so we’ve got some tips to share! Amy Jo Bugenhagen, Health and Wellness Director at the Sands Family YMCA, is here to help us with some health tips to keep us pushing along all 2024.
Developing new habits can be challenging, especially if we’re not excited about what we’re doing. To set yourself up for success, find something you love to do!
If you like to dance, join a Zumba class. If you like to swim, use the pool for laps or aquatic classes. If you like being outside, go for a hike, walk, or even cross-country skiing.
We want to change the narrative of “I HAVE to work out” to “I GET to move my body,” so start moving while doing something you enjoy. Don’t be afraid to try new things, too. You just might find a new hobby!
Find a friend, coworker, or family member who shares similar goals for a healthier lifestyle. Finding someone or a community who encourages you, helps with accountability, and lifts each other up is a powerful tool for establishing new habits. Small Group Personal Training or Group Exercise Classes can also be a place to start when looking for others who share your goals.
MAKE S.M.A.R.T GOALS.
To establish smart and healthy goals for yourself, create a plan! Below are five points you can use as a framework to set your goals:
SPECIFIC: Goals need to be clearly defined. “Getting Fit” is very general. Instead, set a detailed goal of walking around the block two or three times a week.
MEASURABLE: Give yourself those wins by accomplishing smaller tasks to start. Add time, amount, or any other unit making it easier to measure the goal. Ex: drink eight glasses of water a day.
ATTAINABLE: Set realistic goals that you can reach in a short period of time. Unreasonably lofty goals like lifting too much too soon or losing a large amount of weight in a short period of time can not only be frustrating but may also cause injury.
RELEVANT: When setting a goal, make it relevant to what you want. If you are looking to compete in swimming, running every day seems irrelevant. If we want to do five pushups, practice pushups, and build upper body strength.
TIMELY OR TIME-BOUND: Make sure you have a timeline of when you’d like to accomplish your goal. This gives us a sense of urgency and excitement. For example, instead of "I want to run a 5k," try "I want to run a 5k in three months;" it's a more specific goal with a deadline.
FUEL YOUR BODY WITH WHOLE FOODS
Food is fuel. Eat meals that are going to make us feel good and give us the energy to take on the day. Lean proteins, fruits and vegetables, grains, and nuts are always a great place to start.
Beware of diet trends and marketing promises of “lose weight fast” or “flatten your tummy.” Whatever you choose, make sure it’s sustainable over time and you’re eating a variety of foods.
If you are looking to make big changes, consult a nutritionist, dietitian, or your physician.
MAKE A COMMITMENT TO YOURSELF AND YOUR HEALTH
Many of us are notorious for waiting too long to make our wellness a priority and often put everything before ourselves! When you take care of yourself, it not only makes you feel better physically and emotionally; it helps you be even more capable of taking care of everything else life hands you.
Let’s be real: life is not a straight, smooth road! We have turns, bumps, potholes, and more. Our health and wellness journey is no different. We must expect bumps in the road. The “all or nothing” mentality rarely works so we have to learn to go easy on ourselves when injury, travel, family and work expectations, and unexpected events occur. Remember: even small changes and tweaks to your habits can make a big difference so give yourself grace and keep moving forward no matter how small those steps seem. Believe you can achieve desired results even when you are faced with setbacks and challenges.
DON’T COMPARE YOURSELF TO OTHERS
Everyone’s journey is different. Genetics, goals, life, and circumstances are all different. Stay on your path and be consistent! You will get to where you’re going. Anything challenging us will make the outcome that much sweeter. Remember: each drop in the bucket will eventually become a swimming pool. Focus on the drops… not the pool.