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15 Former Couch Potatoes Share Their Best Tips For Getting In Shape – Carolyn Kylstra – BuzzFeed
So you want to eat healthier and get in shape? That’s great! Learn from some people who’ve definitely been there.
Getting into shape and living a healthier lifestyle can be seriously daunting.
That’s why BuzzFeed Life reached out to people who’ve been there to ask them to share their advice. For one guy, that meant learning a way to trick himself into using the spin bike more often. For another woman, that meant transforming her eating and fitness habits, losing over 150 pounds, and getting her diabetes and blood pressure under control.
Whether you’re looking to make a big change in your life or a few small ones, you can probably use some of the tips these former couch potatoes shared. And if you’ve made a healthy living change in your own life, share it with everyone in the comments!
1. Make it easy for yourself to workout in the mornings.
“I never exercised. Very rarely. I knew I needed to because I needed the outlet for stress, and I wasn’t sleeping well. But I also didn’t want to exercise after work, because I’d always want to go out with friends, or come home and relax and just watch TV. So I knew I needed to try morning exercises if I was going to fit it into my day.
Here’s how I do it: When I get home from work I lay out my exercise clothes. I fill a bottle of water and put it in the fridge. I pack the outfit I’m going to wear to work the next day. I pack everything — makeup, shoes, outfit — have it all ready to go, and then set my alarm for the next morning. I do everything I need to do before I start to unwind. This forces me to just get up and do it, and not have to take the time to find everything or make excuses for why I can’t.”
—Cat Fuentes, 28
2. Master the art of portion control.
“It hasn’t happened overnight, but in the past seven years or so I’ve lost over 70 pounds. I’m about to run in the New York City Marathon on Sunday — it’ll be my second marathon. Back 70 pounds ago, I never could’ve dreamed that.
Tricks for myself, in terms of weight loss: Portion control is huge when you’re trying to lose weight. I’ve never been someone who wants to cut something out completely, so I had to figure out a way to allow myself little indulgences. I still go to restaurants, but now I’m all about tapas-style dining, which allows me to try a little of everything. It’s something I’ve gotten myself into that allows me to eat better without sacrificing my lifestyle.
Another tip: I snack throughout the day to keep up my energy, so I keep healthy things by my desk. My trick is making sure the snacks are in reasonable portion sizes, so I’m not just mindlessly munching on them all day.”
—Emily Abbate, 26
Emily Abbate is an editor at Fitbie, where she writes about health and fitness. She’s also been actively training for the 2014 New York City Marathon, and has beendocumenting her progress in a video series on Fitbie.
3. Get enough sleep.
“I had a breast reduction a couple months after I graduated high school, and then moved to Chicago to start college. Once I was out on my own, I had to learn to cook, which is typically healthier than dining out. And because of my class schedule, I had a lot of time on my hands to workout. Now that I no longer had HUGE BOOBS, working out was easier/more fun.
My number one tip for living healthier is to get enough sleep every night. You cannot eat healthy or stay motivated if you’re really tired. Sleep is legitimately the basis of all my healthy decisions. I just set a bedtime and stuck to it. Also, setting the alarm on your phone is really good for creating a new bedtime routine. Like if you need to be in bed sleeping at 11 p.m., set an alarm for 10:15 to remind you to like… stop checking Facebook and go wash your face. And sort of related: Unplug before bed. I put my phone in airplane mode to sleep better.”
—Rachel Miller, 29
4. Don’t aim for perfection.
“In 2007 I lost about 80 pounds, and then in 2012 gained most of it back. I wanted to get back in shape, so I decided to try running every day. And I was maybe running half a mile, maybe a mile at the most — I wasn’t good at it. I gave up about three times, saying, “It’s not working out, I’m not good at it,” and just went back to doing nothing.
I had a friend who lost 100 pounds running. And she helped to hold me accountable to get in shape. She would send me texts and Facebook messages saying, “You don’t have to be good at working out, you just have to do it.” That became my motto. Every time I didn’t want to get up: “You don’t have to be good at working out, you just have to do it.” So I started running every day.
I run probably three times a week now, I go to a simulated surfboard class three to four times a week, and I swim three to four times a week. And I’m so happy I do — I feel great.”
—Laura Prescott, 30
5. Find a workout you love — that way it doesn’t feel like a chore, and it’s something you’re excited to do.
“I was never active or in shape… at all. I had years of failed attempts at fitness that mostly included running on the treadmill and failing at the gym. After a doctor ordered me to quit drinking, I needed an outlet to keep me sober. I looked into hip-hop dancing but felt out of place and hated it.
I used to pass a Krav Maga school every day on the way to work. One day, I stopped in for a trial class and signed up for membership that day. Feeling empowered and excited, I went four times a week. I was hooked. Not long after I started, they invited me to join the instructor program. After weeks of grueling training, I completed it — an accomplishment my 220 pounds, 20-year-old self would never have imagined.”
—Ben Ronne, 34
6. Try to do some form of exercise for 30 minutes (or three miles) every day.
“I suffer from body dysmorphia, and consequently I really abused my body like crazy. Whether it was overeating, eating the wrong things, or eating to stuff my emotions down. I was also drinking a lot. Those habits didn’t go away when I became a trainer, and I felt like a humongous hypocrite. As time went on, I realized that I had a responsibility to my clients to walk the walk and talk the talk. I needed to make changes.
My big tip is consistency is key to getting in shape. The rule I set for myself (and that I set for my clients) is Thirty by Three: 30 minutes a day of some sort of exercise, whether that’s walking for 30 minutes, or five exercises that last about five minutes each with some breaks in between. OR you do three miles of something — three miles on a treadmill, elliptical, hiking. Sometimes an hour feels like just way too much, but 30 minutes always feels attainable.
For the past eight years, since I began focusing on my health, I’ve remained consistent — my body has stayed the same weight, I’m healthy, I’m a normal weight, I’m fit, and I’ve maintained it, and that’s what matters to me.”
—Kit Rich, 31
Kit Rich, an NASM certified personal trainer, is a Los Angeles-based celebrity pilates trainer. She’s been featured in Vogue, SHAPE, SELF, Women’s Health, Real Simple, US Weekly, and Pilates Style. She’s also made appearances on Access Hollywood, Access Hollywood LIVE!, E! News, E!Online, EXTRA, and The Today Show. She blogs regularly for Beautylish.com.
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