Health Advocate Blog

Starting a new fitness plan? These tips can help

Who says you have to start a fitness plan at the beginning of the year?  New Year’s resolutions are great, but no time of year is too late to focus on getting fit.  Starting a healthy exercise and eating plan and sticking with it isn’t easy, though.  Below, check out some helpful tips to keep you focused on your health and fitness goals.

  • Have realistic goals.  Dropping 50 pounds by the holidays may be less feasible than reducing your body fat by 10%.
  • Have healthy goals.  For instance, if you’re a woman who’s 5’2″ and weighing in at 140 pounds, it would be unhealthy for you to aim to lose 50 pounds–15 pounds would be a more appropriate amount.  Know the healthy weight range for your height and create appropriate pounds-based goals based on that range.
  • Write it down.  Keep a food diary so you can track what you’re eating (if you log that you’ve eaten nothing but potato chips and soda with nary a vegetable in sight, it may be a sign that changing your eating habits could help you reach your fitness goals faster).
  • Have variety.  Keep yourself from being bored by switching up your healthy activities.  Are you an exercise bike aficionado when you hit the gym?  Switch it up and try the elliptical or the treadmill–or take a walk outdoors.  Think becoming fit means you eat nothing but salads?  Try some lean protein as your main dish.
  • Hydrate yourself.  There’s nothing unhealthy about drinking water.  Make sure you stay hydrated before, during, and after a workout.  Have water available to drink during meals–it’s a zero-calorie way to help you fill up.  Bored with plain ol’ water?  Add thin lemon slices, a fresh sprig of mint, or thinly sliced cucumbers to your water for a healthy, tasty kick.
  • Banish temptations.  If you don’t keep fattening, high-calorie foods in the house, then they can’t become your late-night snack–it’s as simple as that.
  • Weather the storm.  If the weather is yucky, that doesn’t mean you have nowhere to walk to get exercise.  Grab your sneakers and head to the mall.  Going early in the morning can help you avoid crowds so that you can walk at a brisker pace.  (And if a gym membership isn’t in your budget right now, mall-walking could be a good–and free–alternative!)
  • Remember that you’re not perfect.  So you had that cupcake.  And then you watched Project Runway from your couch, not your treadmill.  Don’t get discouraged–it happens.  You’ll have days where you slip up.  Don’t beat yourself up about it.  Remember that tomorrow’s a new day, and you can resume your regimen then.

It can be helpful to seek professional advice when figuring out a new fitness plan.  You can seek advice from a nutritionist, wellness coach, or your family doctor. Check to see if your employee benefits package offers any type of wellness or nutritional coaching and/or education; some Health Advocate members have access to Wellness Coach, a useful resource for questions and concerns about nutrition.  If you don’t have access to an advocacy service through your company, check out Health Proponent, a program individuals can use to access many of the same advocacy services that Health Advocate offers.