Monday night’s annual celebration of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute’s Met Gala 2017 marked one of the highlights of New York City’s spring time festivities.
Often marked by some of the most daring and albeit stunning gowns and silhouettes; everyone remembers Rihanna at the 2015 Gala, Beyonce’s latex gown at last year’s red carpet and who could forget Kim K at 2013’s event; the annual Gala serves as one of the museum’s biggest fundraising events and is typically the grand opening of the annual design exhibit.
Although I’ve stated in my resolutions post I’m not aiming to completely transform myself, I have opted to get back into shape for a healthier me, (gotta be able to climb the stairs at least – L.O.L). So with that in mind I’ve decided to introduce a new segment to the blog called #WorkItWednesdays.
#WorkItWednesday will be a blend of health and fitness, with work and lifestyle. I thought it would be a really great way to share some more of the things I feel passionately about and keep myself motivated and accountable.
This week’s #WorkItWednesday is all about health and wellness.
Here are some of the things I have found key to getting back to my health goals.
Know your body type.
Based on your personal goals and motivations develop a plan of action. i.e. Are you doing this to be healthier, stronger, tone your muscles or for weight loss, all of the above? If so, how much weight? Decide what is your desired outcome (appearance, feeling.etc.).
Research – after identifying your desired goals find your fitness plan (fat burn, strength training, cardio, pilates, cross fit/HIIT, Zumba, Barre fitness) that best suits your needs. Be sure to get all the necessary information to move ahead in a healthy, productive manner.
Determine the necessary changes or steps to ensure your success (clearing out the junk food, dietary substitutions, investing in equipment/gym membership, workout wear and comfortable shoes.etc.)
Once you’ve identified your goal and fitness plan, it’s on to tackling the other important factor in your success – your diet. I know, I know – everyone says it – the way to a healthy life is diet and exercise, but there’s truth to it. Trust me on this. Diet does not have to be anything super extreme like juicing or going vegan, it simply means making healthier choices in the foods we ingest.
First step: identify your caloric needs.
Plan a balanced meal chart, snacks included. Remember just like developing your fitness plan this requires research, you may enlist the help of your primary care physician or a nutritionist if you’re unsure of where to start. You can also find inspiration can be found online at Buzzfeed, Pinterest, Women’s Health, Self, Bodybuilding.com. etc. Keep these some place visible, like the refrigerator door or pantry.
Make your shopping list and stock up;Include more lean meats and protein (beans, fish.etc.), complex carbs, healthy fats (i.e. unsaturated), greens, nuts, fruits and veges;
Some people find it easier to get into making these healthier choices by starting a meal prep according to their plan, (remember this takes time so only opt for this if you have the time to allocate for it);
For those seeking a less intense overhaul, limiting and substituting certain foods are a healthy way to improve your diet. e.g. Try cutting back on the number of cups of coffee, or sodas per day by swapping your 3 p.m. pick me up with a cup of tea, or flavored seltzer water, swap sugar or artificial sweetener with honey or agave, milk chocolate for dark, Cocoa Puffs or Trix for wholegrain or multi-grain blends, wholewheat instead of white, and so on. You get the gist. These small changes can help you still achieve your goals.
Just as important as caloric intake is the nutritional value of the food we food choices. If you find yourself lacking a specific nutrient (determined by your physician), a simple dietary supplement can help you substitute what you lack from your meals. Including a daily multivitamin does not hurt either.
Do NOT forget to HYDRATE. I can not stress this enough. Even though you may not feel the need to consume your daily requirement of 8 glasses a day (I’m looking at those of us living in temperate climates where it’s sub-zero right now) we have to remember that it is still necessary. Even if we’re not actually breaking a sweat we are still losing water when we use the bathroom – that needs to be replenished. If a plain old glass of H20 isn’t your thing – try an infuser (you can add fruit or citrus flavors) or flavored seltzer water to fill those soda cravings and still get your hydration.
p.s.for some of you keeping a food journal ( physical or electronic) is also a good way to help keep track of your diet;
Shoes – because there is nothing worse than being in an uncomfortable pair of shoes to add insult to impending injury. Based on the type of exercises you will be doing different shoes may be required to prevent injury and to ensure comfort;
Bras – Ladies, we all know the most annoying part of working out is either having a bra with an underwire digging into you or one that doesn’t provide enough coverage or support;
Underwear – preferably cotton, comfortable and seamless.
Headbands/hair ties – as a woman with natural hair this is one of the most important things as I don’t want to look like a frizz ball nor do I want to have my hair flopping in my face mid workout;
Workout Wear – other things to consider when working out are: Tops – based on workout type and let’s not forget weather is always a factor; Bottoms – yet again another item that is dependent on the type of workout you’re engaging in; and Outerwear (sigh for those cold ones);
Gym bag – something durable, sturdy, and preferably machine washable or easy to clean. And, oh – doesn’t trap odors;
Workout gloves – essential for preventing those so not attractive calluses.
Makeup** – although I have a firm no make-up at the gym policy, I know some people would not be caught dead without it – even to break a sweat so here goes; Waterproof mascara, tinted lip-balm, waterproof CC/BB cream. Don’t forget the wipes to wick away all the built up sweat and oil.
If you’re working out at home there a few pieces of essential equipment: jump rope, workout mat, medicine ball, step, weights, resistance bands, *kettlebell, foam roller
Is there someone whose physique you admire or would like to model your fitness goals after (being realistic of course)? Find a flattering picture(s) and keep it someplace visible as a source of motivation. Some people create a vision board;
Some people are better motivated or “pumped up” by great speeches you can find several of these clips online, like this one on Youtube;
Enlist a trainer. For those of us who need additional motivation or help getting into the workout swing, a certified trainer is a great way to get started. Or get a workout buddy or enlist your significant other to join you. This provides you a source of support and encourages accountability.
This may seem trivial but create a playlist – trust me having music that makes you want to be active does wonders for your morale. Besides, if you’re feeling like quitting try coaxing yourself to get through one more song, it helps.
Do not forget to document your progress that is often times the biggest motivator of all!
Now that we’ve bolted down the big stuff it’s time to get started. Remember as with all things that we begin we have to ease into it. So if your new goal is to train for a tri-athalon start by getting in shape and then work on building strength and stamina. If becoming a runner is your goal start off with power walking then increase to light runs an so on gradually increasing the intensity and distance. The same goes for everything thing else – baby steps.
Enlist the help of a fitness tracker to keep a record of your daily activity. This serves as another source of motivation as well.
Just like kids need positive reinforcement for achievements so do we as adults, especially when we are juggling all the tasks of adulting, including diet and exercise. So, just like rest is important so are treats, whether it’s that extra glass of wine at dinner, having the filet mignon, fries with that burger, pizza – no salad, large popcorn – extra butter or a chocolate shake. So don’t forget to enjoy your food journey too.
p.s. There is no shame or guilt in indulging – so try to turn off your mind, for just that second and relish in the sugar rush.
While working out and eating well are great to develop your physical well being, let us not forget that resting is an essential part of our health. So don’t forget to include a rest day(s) in your workout plan
As integral as physical fitness is to your well being so is mental health – Don’t forget your me time. This can be enjoying a glass of wine, your favorite show, reading a good book, journaling, breathing exercises/yoga or just winding down your mind before bed. Just remember to find that time to be at peace.
Keep At It
I know for some of us this transition can be daunting – especially with the increasing intensity of our workouts as we progress along our plans – but remember to just keep at it.
Whenever there are moments of self-doubt just remember to find your peace of mind for a second or to take a look at your vision board or motivational video. If none of this works it’s ok to take a break – just resolve to continue on after your day off.
Have Fun. And remember, Texting is not cardio. L.O.L.