Don't just dream about a healthy lifestyle, adopt it and maintain it

This is part of a series of posts by Jennifer (@liftingfairy on PumpUp), a bikini competitor. Check out her blog here. 

The first month of the New Year is slowly coming to an end. I’m sure that a lot of people have already given up on their good intentions. This is pretty normal if you don’t have a specific plan in mind. Even if you did give up, it’s never too late to start again. This time, let’s start right.

Here are my 10 tips to maintain a healthy lifestyle

1. A realistic and healthy eating plan: 

As I always advise, set up an eating plan with lots of variety. Don’t make it overly complicated. Make it interesting for you. Think about healthy options that you’d personally (and realistically) look forward to eating, and plan around it.

2. Have faith in yourself:

Seeing is believing. Once you see results and see that you are capable of making changes in your behaviour, you will become more confident and motivated. Break down your goal in smaller steps; it will make it easier for you to believe that you can achieve it.

3. Avoid negativity:

Research has shown that social support is very important, especially after the first few weeks when your motivation begins to fade. Avoid negative people, seek support from a community of likeminded individuals like those on the pumpupapp, or get a gym-buddy to work out with you.

4. Work out all the details:

If you want to lose weight or hit the gym more frequently, set up a sensible plan for your grocery-shopping, cooking and workouts. Get a solution for your cravings without depriving yourself from food you love.

5. Celebrate small achievements

Say that you want to lose 30 kg. You’ll be much more motivated to stick to your goal when you think of every 5 kgs ‘lost’ as a ‘milestone’. Your success is a composite of mini milestones strung together. 

6. Prepare yourself for cravings:

Cravings are caused by swings in your blood sugar. Avoid quick boosts like sweets, soda or simple carbs. If you eat every 3 hours and include lean protein from nuts, meats or beans, you will satisfy your hunger for fewer and healthier calories.

7. Control your surroundings:

Eliminate tempting and fattening treats from your environment by stocking the pantry and refrigerator with healthy foods. For the first weeks, it may also be best for you if you surround yourself with people, places and things that will HELP you change and not tempt you.

8. Change your bad habits into good ones, don’t just cut down on them

Instead of resolving to eat less junk food or watch less television, think of a good habit that you can substitute for each bad habit that you’re trying to get rid of. Just dieting and cutting down on everything is non-sense. It isn’t a healthy, nor sustainable way to maintain your lifestyle.

9. Treat yourself:

Every time you reach one of your ‘baby goals’, reward yourself with anything you want: flowers, new gym clothes, even a sweet treat (in moderation).

10. Setbacks are inevitable:

It is totally okay if you have a setback, what matters is that YOU can control it. You have to learn to ‘recover’ from slips. You have to be strong, and remind yourself that you are strong and that you can do it. You shouldn’t see a setback as a failure and use them as an excuse to give up.

As far as I am concerned, I don’t call it ‘New Year’s Resolutions’ but rather ’ New Year’s Goals’, simply because I think that if you set a goal you are more likely to stay motivated and reach them as if you just set up some good intentions. And while I don’t have to change my eating habits or change my gym-habits, I have different things I want to achieve or improve for this year:

  1. Spend more time with my family
  2. Walk my fluffy ball Mumble more often
  3. Get in even better shape than I was in 2014
  4. Get a satisfying placement at the ‘Top de Colmar’ (France), Powerfood’s J-M.B Open (Luxembourg), Miss FIBO Power Beauty (Germany), West-German Championship (Germany) & maybe qualify for the World Championships in Warsaw (Poland)
  5. Be more organized  
  6. Be more positive
  7. Save more money (very original I know haha)

I am convinced that by the end of 2015 I will have tallied almost all the goals on this List. The 4th resolution may be the most difficult one, but I believe in myself. I want to represent my team with my best possible shape at the Powerfood’s J-M.B Open and if I get the chance to participate at the world-championship in Warsaw I don’t want to just be part of the event. I am going to compete. 2015 is GAME TIME.