When it comes to living a healthy lifestyle, consistency is key. If you want to stop feeling lethargic and overweight, you have to stop being lazy. Sorry to be blunt. It's all about creating a consistent lifestyle that promotes healthy eating and movement throughout the day!
I’m a personal trainer, but I am not always a perfect eater. I love pizza — I love bacon on my pizza. When I indulge, I make sure that two out of the three meals I eat that day are still healthy. On days that my body is sore and rundown, I still get up and move. Laying around only makes the soreness worse — get those muscles moving and get a good stretch or foam roll in.
I remind myself that even on my worst days, I can still walk. I can move. I don’t have to just sit around, I can strap on a backpack and walk around Nashville to grab a cup of coffee (It's going to be gorgeous here this weekend, holy cow!). Here are the other rules to follow to maintain a consistent, healthy lifestyle:
1. Get at least 10,000 steps every day.
This is the gold standard of consistency. It equals about five miles — here are some ways I make it happen every day:
Park far away
Use the stairs (want that strong booty, stairs are the best)
Walk the dog
Pack your lunch so that you can walk during at least half that break
Bike like in the picture above (just make sure to strap your step tracker on your shoe, he's doing it wrong ;)
2. Teach your body to be healthy by being consistent.
When you make being healthy a habit, your body know exactly what it’s in for and responds accordingly. If you're able to stay away from sweets for an extended period, your body won’t crave them as much and when you do eat them, too much sugar will taste horrible! Try a piece of 80 percent dark chocolate for an after dinner treat and use gum to curb cravings.
3. Eat breakfast so that your body knows to be hungry.
Too many people have gotten used to not eating breakfast. It’s SO important! By eating it every day you actually will wake up hungry, and this is a good thing. That means your body is expecting the food and has started your metabolism already.
4. Sweat every day.
Our body’s cooling system is amazing. We shed all the heat by sweating. If you are a consistent trainer, your body knows what’s in store and will start cooling you down immediately. If your body isn’t used to working out, you will find yourself overheating due to your body’s idea of consistency — that you don’t need to sweat because you don’t work out. This will change over time!
5. Think long-term, not short-term.
Dieting provides short-sighted goals — 10-day juice cleanse, 3-day starvation, 30-days carb-free. What you really need is a consistent and fulfilling idea of eating clean and healthy that lasts a lifetime. Lower sugar, lower sodium, no starches in the evening and less booze (sorry).
6. Be active throughout the day.
One hour at the gym does not make an active lifestyle. Getting to the gym routinely is great and I commend everyone who does it. But saying, “That’s all folks,” for the rest of the day while you sit at a desk, car and couch does not make an active lifestyle. Consistency throughout the day will help you get and stay lean.
7. One workout does not make you strong and one day without weights does not ruin everything.
Consistency can be attained by sticking to your healthy lifestyle 80% of the time. Everyone needs a day to relax from the stress ... just don’t let that make you feel guilty — enjoy your life!
8. One meal does not make you healthy and one meal does not make you fat.
When I ask about the meals my clients had the days before our workout together, I will always get a rundown of the healthiest options they chose. Yet they’ll also complain about why they aren’t losing weight. That one salad choice at lunch two days ago will not get you to your goal! Consistently choosing the better option will yield results and also increase your ability to refrain from temptation.
9. Drink water consistently throughout the day so you never feel thirsty.
If you don’t get enough water in your body before your workout, you won’t get as much out of your hard work. Blood brings oxygen to your muscles and brain. Blood is made up of quite a bit of water. If you are not hydrated, it is harder for you to get oxygen to where it needs to be.
The more you sweat, the more water you should drink. If you drink coffee or alcohol, you should also up your water intake.
10. Indulge on special occasions.
For me, this means eating pizza sparingly. Moderation within consistency is the biggest key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Remember that it's a lifestyle. Find what makes you happy AND healthy. A great way to do this will be in my book, The 4x4 Diet, coming out on Februrary 2nd. Pick it up for some more solid and simple ways to create your best, healthy life!
Erin Oprea, former Marine, owner of Oprea Personal Fitness, and author of the forthcoming book, The 4x4 Diet. As the new USANA Fitness Ambassador, Erin provides focus on functional fitness and a straight-forward approach to nutrition, she has helped create healthy lifestyles for celebrities (such as Carrie Underwood and Kelsea Ballerini), executives, music industry leaders and great people dedicated to an active, fun life for over a decade. www.opreapersonalfitness.com