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Take your Nutrition and Fitness to the Next Level with these 3 Tips. (Part 2 of 6)

2021 is fast approaching and for sure with it will come challenges and changes to different aspects of your life. This second installment of our “Level-Up Series” focuses on an important aspect of your life - your fitness and nutrition.

But before discussing the specifics of this, let’s first ask an important question - why are you doing this, anyway?

Knowing your “why”

In any endeavour, knowing and becoming very clear with your purpose is very important. Having a “why” and understanding it may be one of the most, if not the most important step that you can do to jumpstart the process to a better you. Most people are consumed with the “how” of the process and are eager to do everything all at once. When the heat of the moment dissipates and all the excitement and hype dies down, what are you left with? When things become difficult, because they will at some point, your “why” will ground you and give you perspective. Knowing your “why” will help you be better in handling stress and difficult situations.

You’ve decided that you want to take things to the next level in 2021 - the most important question is, why? Take a moment to quiet down your thoughts and zero in on your purpose, write it down and make sure that you take it to heart because it’s going to help you make good progress in your journey up ahead.

Now onto the first topic! How can you take your fitness and nutrition to the next level in 2021? Here are 3 very simple and easy tips you can incorporate in your life:

Engage in a sport, a physical hobby or a workout routine

Most people don’t want to work out because it’s “too much work”. While this may be true especially for very busy individuals, the benefits of being physically active should never be overlooked. There are people who start a program with so much enthusiasm but find their drive tapering down due to difficulties such as injury, schedule problems, lack of motivation, etc.

A most common reason behind this is that the workout they’re doing is not suited to them. In order to avoid this, try to find a workout routine that works for you - your body type, activity level, lifestyle, amount of free time and level of commitment. Take a moment to think these aspects through and consider them before you decide which routine works. Failing to do this important step will only set you up to fail, and you don’t want that.

One of the most obvious advantages of playing a physical sport is its effect on the body. The best part of playing a sport especially if you do it to unwind or destress is you don’t even realize you’re making an effort to stay active, you just do it because it’s entertaining and fun. It doesn’t even have to be competitive sports, it can be any hobby that will involve you moving and your body making use of energy like biking, walking, dancing and even gardening!

Meal planning

Meal Planning doesn’t have to be complicated especially if you start with the basics. If anything, it can even take the stress out of thinking over and over “what’s for dinner?”. To begin, you may want to start your planning on a weekly basis just to get the habit started. Obviously, you will have to do your own grocery so you can also make sure to not get food items you’re trying to stay away from. Remember, you can’t eat or drink something that’s not there.

However, meal planning doesn’t always mean you have to have every meal a healthy one. Aside from that being overly positive, it might also be frustrating for you if you go “out of plan”. Eating a salad one time won’t make all your health problems go away inasmuch as eating one unhealthy meal doesn’t make you an unhealthy person per se. Include in your plan a day when you can order take out or eat out. This way, you won’t deprive yourself of the experience to the point of going back to square one.

Do your research on meal prep guides and tips to make sure you’re getting all the necessary help you need to make your meal planning adventure a success. There’s a ton of resources on the internet on meal planning, take advantage of these meal planning ideas and other free resources to start strong and get better. You’ll definitely notice a change in your dietary habits as well as in your savings.

Quit one unhealthy food item for a whole year

This is very simple, you just pick one food item that you like eating/drinking and make a commitment to not consume that for the whole of 2021. You don’t have to start with the food item that you most love as that would make it very challenging and might be difficult to sustain. Say for example that three of your most unhealthy favorites are: pizza, soda (carbonated drinks) and fries, in that order. The best bet would be to go for the second one - soda. You have to make a commitment to yourself to not drink carbonated drinks for one whole year. Deciding that you’re going to stop eating something that you absolutely like for 365 days may be difficult, but not impossible.

Some people would say that cold turkey is not the best way to go and would only set you up for defeat in the long run. This tip, however, doesn’t encourage you to quit an entire category of anything, for example, “no sugar” or “no carbs” entirely. It’s about breaking one bad habit in terms of the food you consume one at a time. In essence, it’s like the best of both worlds, you quit one unhealthy food cold turkey, yet you take “baby steps” in breaking your bad food habits, one at a time.

Say, for example, you choose (or rather, not choose?) soda for 2021, this exercise is meant to desensitize you and lessen your craving for sodas in the years to come. The hope is, you may want a sip every once in a while just for taste, but you won’t go back to craving and looking for it again like you did before.

Your nutrition and fitness are among the most important aspects of your life that should always strive to be better at year after year. Your physical body will only be able to perform better if you take care of it, nourish it and give it the proper attention it deserves.

That’s it for Part 2. See you in Part 3!

 

Hero Image by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

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