This is a post by Abraham Kim, the latest contributor to MenProvement. He revamped his life and now writes about motivation and self image. To become a contributor, shoot us an email.
It’s a fact that a majority of people want to live a healthier lives, whether it be through losing weight, quitting bad habits, or staying active. In 2014, these three lifestyle changes ranked among the top ten New Year’s resolutions.
My personal story and journey towards living such a life began when I was extremely young. Like many, my excessive weight was a normalcy that had haunted me for as long as I could remember. The tipping point was during my freshman year in college where I packed on 30 lb. onto an already overweight body for a grand total of 252. I still remember that day 18 months ago where I looked into the mirror and stood speechless. I never imagined that I would reach this point in my life. There is no doubt in my mind that even though one might be comfortable being overweight or accept their physical state, you will be exponentially happier and more confident living a healthy and fit lifestyle.
It has since been a year and half since my tipping point, and I am the happiest I have ever been. The Abraham from freshman year is a mere shadow of what he is now. With the experience that I have accumulated during the past 18 months, I have decided to share the knowledge that I have gained. The following tips are not going to ensure that you will lose any amount of weight or that you instantly be living a healthier life, but it will definitely help.
1) Drink More Water
Water is key to weight loss. While it doesn’t play a direct role in the burning of fat, water plays a huge facilitative role. Being hydrated is possibly one of the easiest steps to losing weight and staying healthy. Many people will be surprised to know that they are consistently under hydrated, the Institute of Medicine recommends that the average man take in roughly 13 cups of water a day, 9 cups for women. People will often confused hunger and thirst pangs, a good trick to ensure that you are satisfying your hunger not thirst is to drink a cup of water and wait 20 minutes. If you are still hungry after 20 minutes, a snack may be in order. An extremely common indication that you are properly hydrated is to check to see if your urine matches a pale yellow color. Do not underestimate this fairly simple advice, as I have personally learned the importance of hydration.
2) Sleep Normally
This might be harder for most, especially if you are a college student where classes start at noon and parties end at 4 am. Regardless, sleeping consistent hours and regularly will help to prevent overeating and late night snacking, which can play a detrimental role in any progress towards healthy living. In fact, it has been statistically proven that people that slept for nine or 10 hour every night are 21% more likely to become obese. Further, oversleeping can cause one to actually feel more tired upon waking up. If you can get a consistent eight hours of sleep a night, you will soon learn that you will be filled with more energy to be active than if you chose to oversleep every chance that you got.
3) Take It Slow
If you were like me and not accustomed to much physical activity to begin with, remember to take it slow. One of the biggest problems I had, and I believe many have as well, is wanting to see results immediately. Take everything in small strides, and before you know it you’ll be running five miles easy or bench pressing two plates like cake. Do not be discouraged if after a week you are not at your ideal weight, or even if you fall off the healthy horse a few times. Failing to go to the gym for one day or eating an unhealthy snack does not warrant you to give up entirely. Dieting and working out aren’t temporary changes, they are permanent lifestyle adjustments, and this is what you need to keep in mind. Everything will happen gradually, so if you stay motivated and stay consistent, you will see results.
4) Record Everything
Whether it’s in a personal journal, an excel sheet, or a large poster board in your kitchen, record all of your steps forward or backwards. Similar to number three, seeing your small results overtime will help encourage you as they accumulate into something larger. Further, seeing a small step backwards surrounded by your positive step forwards will encourage you to keep on pushing towards a healthier lifestyle. Record anything and everything from the meals you eat, your workouts, and even your sleep schedule. You might be concerned with how long all of this will take, but daily records should not take more than a total of ten minutes for all of your recordkeeping.
5) Be Mentally Strong
Shifting your life 180 degrees like I did from an unhealthy, sedentary 18 years of living is not an easy task. The journey towards living healthily is difficult and filled with obstacles, it is important to be mentally prepared for it. Self-discipline is going to be huge towards your success during this journey, because at the end of the day, the only thing standing between you and your ideal life is you. You are the only one responsible for yourself. Do not let little failures, self-doubt, or even negative feedback from others weigh you down. If you are properly working towards your goal, the results will surely follow.
6) Keep Learning
Whether it’s a new recipe or a new workout, keep learning. There are always new ways to improve or differentiate your healthy lifestyle, so that it does not become mundane and repetitive. You will soon learn that healthy living will actually be a genuine interest and hobby, so much so that you’ll want to constantly look for new ways to maintain your positive lifestyle.
This assortment of advices is obviously a very general and introductory step towards changing your life for the better. I encourage you to make your first steps today, rather than continuously procrastinating. If there is nothing truly holding you back, then there’s no time to change your life like the present. It’s been 18 months since I have begun to change my life, and I have never looked back.