Ah, fall is here. Such a beautiful time when three major holidays bring people together through traditions, decorating, shopping and…drum roll (you guessed it)…FOOD. Oodles of candy, pumpkin spice donuts, honey-baked ham, sweet potato casserole, hot chocolate, cookies for Santa…and the list goes on and on. As great as the holidays can be, it can be a stressful time for people as the tendency to pack on “winter padding” becomes dangerously easy.
To those of you who just experienced a spike in stress levels just thinking about the temptation coming up, rest assured you’re not alone. I experience those exact struggles, however have found that there is a secret “hack” to getting fit now.
It’s not complicated. The secret lies in your mindset. Trust me. How to get fit now and stay fit won’t be nearly as difficult if you alter the way you think.
Don’t believe me? Keep reading.
Build a Good Momentum
OK here we go! So the main thing I would tell anyone wanting to get fit now is to build a good momentum. You may be shaking your head right now, but just hear me out. It’s relatively easy to read articles online on “How to Get Fit Now” that tell you to eat healthy and work out. On the screen, it seems simple. Just go through the process and BOOM – you now have 5% body fat with a six-pack.
Ehh, that’s only partially true. Before I go any further, always remember that:
Eating clean and working out consistently WILL ABSOLUTELY get you the body you want
The problem most people (including myself) have is actually carrying that out. Why is it so hard to choose a salad over a burger? Or enjoy the banana you brought to work as a snack when your co-workers just paraded in a box of donuts?
It’s simply because we don’t have a good momentum going.
Building Momentum – Why is the First Step Usually the Hardest?
The science behind it involves the hormone dopamine. Research has suggested that when we consume high levels of fatty and sugary foods it can affect the brain very similarly to addictive drugs. When we eat that piece of cheesecake or load up on those nacho fries, the dopamine receptors in our bodies light up and give us a “sugar high”.
With the more fatty and sugary foods we eat, our bodies become accustomed to the huge influx of junk. As a result, it becomes harder to activate that dopamine “feel good” response.
So naturally what do we do?
We eat more junk. The cycle then continues, leading to unwanted weight gain and added stress to our heart and other organs.
It’s not that we have terrible self-control, it’s the fact that we have allowed science to create a destructive momentum to our bodies – one that can spiral out of control very quickly if allowed.
Think back to the last time you decided to eat healthy. Maybe you forced yourself to order a grilled chicken wrap instead of a quarter pounder or maybe you chose to skip that 2nd round of dessert. Be honest with yourself. How did you feel afterward?
For me, I’ll be completely honest – I experienced a rise in self-esteem. OK, it wasn’t immediately afterward. Usually what directly followed the meal was a cranky, unsatisfied version of myself. However, as the day went on, my mood would change. I realized that I had the power to decide what went into my body. It sparked something within myself…the start of a good momentum. And as shocking as it sounds, I felt…
…GOOD! The next time I was faced with the choice between gorging on two plates of food vs. a serving sized option of my meal, it made choosing the healthier option a little easier. In other words, it was empowering to feel in control of my body and what went into it.
For those of you who still feel intimidated, I would suggest trying these three steps when tempted to overindulge on those not-so-healthy options. At the very least, they will force you to slow down and think before mindlessly reaching for another piece of fudge.
3 Steps to Make the Temptation Easier
Step 1 Reminisce
Do a little reminiscing. Remember that last time you overate and felt sick. Don’t just remember it though…
…try to relive it. Imagine that nauseous, bloated feeling backing up in your throat.
For me, this was the time when I overindulged at Golden Coral after only eating one meal earlier that day. I was very, very hungry and ended up eating 6 plates of food plus dessert. Needless to say, afterward I dry heaved in the parking lot (not smart, I know). As stupid as this sounds, now if I’m ever tempted to make bad nutritional choices – even if it’s a small one – remembering that night boosts my determination NOT to put myself in that situation again.
I mean, who likes regretting bad food choices AND throwing their guts up? Definitely not I.
Step 2 Distract Away!
Find a distraction. For this, you can literally use anything you want. I personally will find a bottle of water to drink (drinking H2O makes you feel fuller), talk to someone else at the table or whip out my phone if I’m by myself.
HELPFUL TIP: this is a time when using your Pinterest or Instagram accounts can be very beneficial in terms of fueling your motivation for building that good momentum. All those fitness posts (as filtered and “insta-fied” as some may be) have the potential to help focus your mind visually on what consistency and good choices produce. It works for a lot of people and I’ve found it particularly helpful.
Step 3 Don’t Limit – Instead Substitute
Replace what you’re craving with an alternate healthier option. A few common substitutions I use are listed below.
Chocolate/Peanut Butter Cravings
- · Apple slices with peanut butter powder (add mini chocolate chips if desperate although chocolate sprinkles are the best choice)
- · Sugar free hot chocolate (for those cold months)
- · Fat-free sugar-free ice cream (it’s not as bad as it sounds)
- · High fiber/low sugar cereal with light whipped cream on top (you’ll soon learn I’m obsessed with whipped cream)
- · Low-fat whole grain Wheat Thins with a low-fat cheese spread or humus (Laughing Cow and Sabra are both good brands)
- · Low-carb whole grain tortilla with turkey, cheese and lettuce, dipped in honey mustard
- · Low-sodium popcorn with Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top (go sparingly on the butter)
- · Turkey jerky (a high protein, low fat gratification)
Good Momentum – Just for Controlling Your Appetite?
This concept of developing a good momentum for our bodies can also be carried over into other aspects of our lives. Have you ever met someone who was so unbelievably happy every day that it made you sick? You know, that one person who would stride into work on a Monday WITHOUT COFFEE and chirp “Gooooodmorning”? I once knew a girl like this. Even though her perpetual cheerfulness was sometimes annoying, it made me wonder what her secret was. I wanted what she had. When I asked, she simply told me that after looking for the good in everything for so long it didn’t even phase her now. It had become second nature.
Not gonna lie, that was hard for my brain to wrap around initially. That fact that she had built up such a strong positive momentum that had changed both her attitude and outlook on life was truly amazing. It made me realize how just taking that initial (sometimes difficult) step could be the start of a momentum that could change your life. On a large scale, it seems impossible. But when you break it down into steps, it becomes much more doable.
Conclusion – How to Build a Good Momentum
To sum everything up, the key on how to get fit now is relatively simple – develop a good momentum. Sure, it takes hard work and persistence, but sometimes taking that first step is the hardest part. Get past that and the sky is the limit. God has already blessed you with a wonderful body as it is, so why not make that one good decision to care for it today? Because once you get momentum on your side your fitness journey will take off!