Most of the Total Transformation series are focused on broad comprehensive practices that apply to healthy practices and fitness overall. This one gets a little more specific and addresses 6 things you need to change in your life do today if you’re really serious about your transformation. Look at your calories as money and you don’t want to “spend” them on things things just don’t make a lot of sense. So either make a change in these areas today, or make a plan to stop doing them soon.
1. Cut the sodas and sugary drinks
There’s something about seeing the number of calories in something that gets your attention. I was appalled when I went to the movie theater one day and saw this:
Up to 1000 calories in a drink?! I mean, you haven’t even had popcorn and nachos yet, and you’ve already drank half your daily calories. Depending on whether you’re on a clean eating plan or not (I waver on this), either stick to diet drinks or just drink water. You most likely need more water in your life anyway, so this is a great way to kill two birds in one stone. Juice is another culprit. There are just as many calories (sometimes more) in a glass of OJ, apple juice, and many fruit juices. It’s typical to think of these things as being “healthy” because they also have vitamins – however, calories are calories. Consider eating the actual orange or apple for even more vitamins and fewer calories.
2. Do more large muscle exercises
Would you ever spend an hour in the gym working on your thumb muscle? If they had a tiny little dumbbell that you could just slap on to build thumb endurance, would you spend your time doing this? Not only would you look like a complete weirdo but you would also waste a ton of time. But there are a lot of thumb machines and dumbbells at the gym. They come in the form of concentrated bicep or calf exercises.
Here’s the human body:
See those giant butt muscles? The power in those thighs? In that back? The glutes, legs, chest, and back muscles are arguably the largest muscles in our bodies. Why does this matter? If you focus on working these muscles, 2 awesome things happen.
First, you have a better chance of increasing your metabolism through muscle growth since these muscles have greater potential to grow (because they’re so large). Secondly, you naturally work the smaller muscles anyway and spend your time more wisely. So now, instead of just working the thumb, you work the entire hand! (Ok too much of that analogy but you get the point).
3. Get enough sleep
I understand the pressures of a busy life. There’s rarely a dull moment for me. However, of all the things to compromise in your day, sleep is one of the worse choices. There is a direct link between lack of sleep and obesity, as the rational fruit-yogurt-protein eating part of the brain is weaker and the reward-seeking-chocolate-sugar-grease part is amplified. Also, you naturally don’t want to work out when you’re tired and you just feel crappy.
But there is hope! You can actually “catch up” on sleep by getting some extra hours on some days vs. others. It’s not the most ideal solution, but for those of us that need a late night with the girls on a weekday or have a crazy work week, it’s the redeeming factor. But the real value also comes from making some conscious choices about things that can be cut out during the day [insert *mindless television* and *random internet surfing* here] so that you can get your Z’s.
4. Stop chasing shortcuts
How dare I have to stand on the bus? Or walk a block instead of driving? Or even *gasp* take the stairs up one floor? Crazy first world problems. I don’t really know that we even realize that we are complete divas when it comes to taking advantage of everyday conveniences. While we’re probably only talking a few hundred calories burned each day in more labor intensive activities like walking and taking stairs, I think a bigger takeaway is that it speaks to a certain mindset: expecting shortcuts. These same shortcuts make us want to go on quick, unrealistic diets to lose weight quickly. They’re also the reason we cheat on exercises instead of going full out, or take the easy route when our fitness or diet plan becomes challenging.
By making small choices throughout the day to put a little more effort into basic things like getting from point A to point B, we can expect to see greater benefits from many things in our lives.
5. Be realistic with what you can do today
That’s another way of saying “Stop procrastinating.” There is very rarely a reason not to start on your fitness goals today. In fact, I can’t think of any good reasons. Let’s say you don’t want to start working out today because you plan to join a gym next week. There are plenty of at-home workouts (cue SweshFit!) in cyber space that can be done from the comfort of your home. No internet? Get a DVD.Where there is a challenge, there is always a matching excuse.
Now let’s make one distinction: having a specific plan is not the same as procrastinating. If you plan to get started on a particular date, and this is not the 10th time you’ve rescheduled, that’s perfectly fine. Stick to it. Maybe next Tuesday is the day you drink 8 glasses of water. Maybe tomorrow is the day you only take the stairs at work. As long as you have a goal that you commit to, you’re making progress. Otherwise, the pattern of procrastination will continue to repeat itself and you’ll never realize your goals. And you don’t want to be that broken-record person that will always start tomorrow.
6. Avoid Gooey, Buttery, and Fried
Great food is a blessing and a curse. There is a happy medium between great food and healthy options, but there’s usually a compromise. However, it it doesn’t have to be a horrible compromise. For example, here’s a simple guide for choosing what to eat at a restaurant:
Blackened is almost always super flavorful, and so is Sauteed. Of course, Creamy is bound to be delicious, but it’s going to cost you in terms of calories, so choose it sparingly. This is not necessarily an easy task. However, if you commit to finding alternatives that you enjoy, you won’t regret the results.
So how are you doing and what else can you do?
You’re probably looking at some of this stuff like, “Oh that’s nothing?” and other things like “No way in hell.” One thing I definitely want to emphasize is that there’s no need for extreme’s here. Stop some things moderately, and where you can push yourself, stop some things more drastically – and then, if that totally sucks, go back to what you were doing before. You’ll start to see the things that make the biggest impact, but challenge yourself and don’t be afraid to change. It can be so simple, but it just may be the change that completely transforms you.
Check out the 6th and final part of this series for the most important step!