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Start with What You Have

Updated: Sep 9, 2020

Establishing a healthy diet and exercise regime can be accomplished by using some things around your house and assessing what's in your kitchen. You don't have to necessarily go out and buy a bunch of workout clothes, meal prep containers, and equipment, or fret over which gym or grocery store you need to go to for organic produce. Start with what you have and go from there.

Too often people get discouraged and give up on their health goals because they are paying too much attention to what everyone else is doing, especially on social media. It's okay, and, wise, to find a health expert and fitness trainer who really knows their stuff. They can provide some guidance on how to get started with your personal health goals. However, when you start to focus too much on other people's progress or final results without considering person-specific factors, you could lose the motivation to fulfill your own goals. The family doctor is a great person to start with because they already know your health history, including previous injuries, and can advise you on what to eat, what to do and what to refrain from doing in the process of developing a healthy lifestyle.

Running and walking are great ways to start your workout regime. Both are free and the benefits are optimum

Here are a few tips to help you get started where you are and with you already have. May they inspire you to stay the course as you fulfill your health goals.

Good Nutrition is Key.

Start with modifying your diet. Assess the contents of your refrigerator and pantry to determine what unhealthy foods could be eliminated from your diet and from your future grocery list. Ask yourself if the foods you currently have provide the essential nutrients you need each day. If not, discard them. Check the amount of calories that each food contains. If you have determined that the item is healthy for you, be sure to pay attention to serving sizes when it is time to eat. Chances are, you probably have enough healthy foods right in your kitchen to get you started with your health goals. Take it one day at a time and create achievable goals so that you are more likely to stick with the plan and be successful.

Once you assess what you already have in your kitchen, create a menu that includes an array of essential foods like fruit, vegetables, proteins and grains. If your food supply assessment results in a trip to the grocery store, include the aforementioned items on your list and be sure to focus on those items while shopping. I will admit, you will need to practice some discipline so that you choose the right items and not revert to old habits and poor food choices. You've already taken the first step towards achieving good health so I know you can do it.

Take the time to research different foods for their nutritional value as well as their sources. These days there is a wealth of information online about food, where it comes from and how it is grown, harvested, processed, and distributed to markets. Finally, if you have enough of them, use the storage containers that you already have overflowing the pantry or your cabinets to prep lunches and snacks for work and school. Pack fresh fruit and vegetables, yogurt, nuts, cheeses, crackers, or whatever suits your taste, in small portions so that you can stay focused on your goal.

Drink plenty of water.

While this is also part of your diet, I had to include this tip separately because sometimes people ignore their water intake. Sugary, caffeinated drinks may taste good to you, but they are not good for your body. The human body is composed primarily of water (approximately 60-70% and sometimes higher for children). Replenish that water each day so that you can maintain healthy vital organs, skin and hair and energy levels.

Use what you already have and what you know to begin your workouts.

Before you head out to the store and purchase expensive equipment or commit to a gym membership, think about what you already possess that can put you one step closer to your health goals. If you can run or walk, put one foot in front of the other, go outdoors, and get some fresh air. If the cold or wet weather is an issue, consider signing up for a walking program at the local mall or other public facility offering this service. Perhaps you have a spare room or space in the garage where you can put on some music and dance or stretch. Dust off the bikes and helmets and go for a ride through the neighborhood or local parks.

And let's not forget the old school exercises and activities many of us engaged in long before we knew what HIIT, cross training, yoga or pilates was. I have nothing against those forms of exercise, I think they are all great, however, jumping jacks, jump rope, push ups and squats STILL work. Oh, and don't hesitate, to look through your kid's toys and equipment for ideas. From trampolines, to swings and hula hoops, you can get creative with your workouts. Just don't break or take over the kid's stuff. Better yet, get a good workout in by playing with the kids.

Identify an accountability partner.

Ask a family member or friend to walk through this journey to good health with you. Maybe you know someone who has the same goal in mind. It would be ideal for you to partner up and share workouts and meal ideas together. If not, find someone you trust and who will be honest with you. They can check in with you regularly to see if you are meeting your goals. You are more likely to stay motivated and meet your goals when you invite others to share in the process.

Think positively.

Now that you have some ideas about how to jump start your health goals by using what you have, it's time to get moving. As you implement these steps into your routine, identify a few affirmations that resonate with you and use them daily to inspire and motivate you during the transformation process. Sayings like, "believe in yourself", " you got this", "I can", "I am amazing", "I can do anything" and "I am strong and beautiful" are the perfect way to inspire self-confidence and motivation to eat well, workout consistently and achieve your health goals.

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