So you want to get healthy. That’s great! I’m here to help. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned about getting healthy, it is that you need help to get there in the first place and to stay that way consistently. I have compiled this book to help those looking to increase their fitness level, eat a bit healthier, lose weight, feel better and to make a lifestyle change. I believe that the best way to do this is through connecting to others, as well as connecting to yourself.
We are all looking for someone to motivate us, hold us accountable, tell us to keep going when we don’t want to and for people not to judge us as we tackle this health, wellness and fitness journey (what I like to call, living a healthy lifestyle). What better way to do this than through connecting with online communities through social media.
Social media a great way to connect with people that are like-minded. People who have been where you are, can encourage and motivate you to reach your goals. The best part of connecting with people through online communities is, IT’S FREE. Who doesn’t like getting something for free? You will get free advice, encouragement, motivation, recipes, suggested workouts, and a community of people who will not judge you if you fall down.
This healthy lifestyle journey is a process and if you can connect with like-minded people on your journey it will make the journey a little easier. Being a part of an online community can also help you to find the process that works for you. What one person might do to get to where they are on their journey may not be the same process that works for you. But being a part of a community gives you the opportunity to try different things that may or may not work. You will find a process that works for you and that process will help you to reach your goals.
Although you may walk this journey alone (you have to put in the work, no one can put it in for you) you don’t have to do it alone. You will need the encouragement of others, people you can look to for advice, people to pull you up when you have fallen down and motivation from people who tell you, “If I can do it, you can also” The one thing I love seeing in an online fitness and health community are before and after pictures. This shows everyone, if they can do it, so can the next person.
Don’t you want people to encourage you and tell you that you are doing a great job? Everyone does and you will get this from the online community. But you have to be willing to share your pictures and make a collage of your progress. I know this may be embarrassing at first, but, you have to love yourself where you are so that as you go through the process, others will see how much you love yourself. Never be embarrassed at where you start because everyone has a starting point. Sometimes the best way to get that encouragement is to post a start pictures (which also helps with accountability) or a picture after you workout to get those encouraging words that we all love to hear.
One of the hardest things you will face on this healthy lifestyle journey is changing the way you think. No one is exempt from the negative thoughts about eating unhealthy food-“I wish this was a cheeseburger”-or not wanting to work out (“I’d rather watch TV”). How you handle these thoughts will be the difference between success and giving up.
When you start thinking things like “It’s too early,” “I can’t get up,” “I will start tomorrow,” “This isn’t working,” “It is too hard,” this is when you have to start telling yourself the opposite. When you think, “It is too early,” tell yourself, “Well, if I get up now and work out, I can take a nap later.”
What I have found is that, when people wait to work out later in the day, if they usually work out in the morning, they don’t end up working out later because they get too tired or too busy by the end of the day. Sometimes you have to just force yourself to get up. I have had to do this on many days-but once I am up and moving around, I am ready to work out.
When it comes to healthy eating and negative thoughts, you have to be strong for yourself. There may be times when you give in to the cravings, but this should not be all the time. You have to be able to tell yourself, “I am not going to eat [fries] today. I can wait to eat this for my free meal.” Another way to get through the negative thought of eating unhealthy food is to always bring your own food not matter where you go.
Here are some things to remember when it comes to negative thinking:
- Replace negative thinking with positive thinking.
- The more you say something, the more you will believe it and then you will do it. If you are always saying, “I can’t eat well,” you will begin to believe it, then you will stop eating healthfully or not try. But if you say, “I can eat healthy food,” and you say it all the time, you will begin to believe it and do it.
- Remove negative people from your life. You have enough stress with trying to change your own negative thoughts, without other people being negative around you. You need people around you who will encourage you to continue with your journey.
- Find a support group. There are a lot of great groups out there, with people in it to motivate you and to encourage you to keep going. There are groups on Meet Up, on Facebook and on many other social networking websites.
- Remember: For every negative thought, there is a positive one, so don’t minimize the positive.
- Don’t speak negatively about other people.
- Don’t make stuff up and believe it. Sometimes we will make things up that aren’t true about ourselves or our current situation. No matter what happens to you in life, look at the positive of it, but don’t lie to yourself about reality.
- Learn to love yourself no matter what you look like. You are a work in progress and this is not going to happen overnight. If you love yourself, you will not put yourself down. Would you tell a child they couldn’t do something? No, you would encourage them to do the best they could. Why not treat yourself that way?
- Make sure you get 7-8 hours of sleep. Not getting enough sleep can encourage negativity. You end up “too tired” to work out, but then you find yourself awake in bed for hours. That one hour when you could have worked out, you were sitting on the couch watching TV feeling sorry for yourself.
- Don’t play the victim, or blame someone else for what you know you should have done. This is your healthy lifestyle journey, no one else’s. If you allow someone to take you off your journey, it isn’t their fault, it is your fault. I like to tell people, “You make your own decisions and you have to live with the consequences of those decisions. Sometimes the consequences are good and sometimes they are bad, but it comes from the choice you made. Don’t let others dictate your choices.”
Social Media: Online Diet Tool
Everyone has his or her opinions about social media-some people love it and others detest it-but there are a number of great reasons to use social media, including your health. Joining a social media site, group, or app is a great opportunity to for you to get free advice, workouts, support, motivation and meal ideas that will help you on your journey.
There are a number of social media websites you can join to help you on your weight loss journey. The following are ones I personally recommend:
- Fitocracy – Free/Paid ( https://www.fitocracy.com/ )
- Facebook – Free ( http://facebook.com/ )
To learn more about each of these social media websites please visit them at the website listed.
How Can Social Media Help Me?
There are different kinds of social media, which can help you in several different ways on your journey to a healthy lifestyle.
Some groups are a great way to get the support you need-you will have access to people that are starting out like you, or have been where you are now. But even those far ahead of you may be looking for support, and you can help them as well with your feedback. As some of you may know from experience, sometimes those around us-family, co-workers, children, friends-are not very supportive, or as supportive as we would like, of our journey. Joining a group of like-minded people, with similar goals and experiences, can provide the extra support and motivation needed, even when those closest to us may not be able, or willing, to supply it.
One thing you should always be able to get FREE advice. Whether you are just starting out, or have been working out for a while, you should feel comfortable asking questions concerning workouts and healthy eating. If somebody criticizes you, you should report that person to the administrator of the group. If the administrator doesn’t handle the situation, you might want to leave the group. But there are many to join, and one will be right for you and your needs.
Social media can also help you to keep your journey going, when you run into boredom, or a plateau, especially in your exercise routine. Specific groups that focus on running, weight lifting, Zumba or other dance classes, yoga, overall fitness, vegan, vegetarian, low-carb, or other aspects of fitness or healthy eating, can be useful for you to investigate new exercises or eating plans to incorporate into your journey. If you want a routine to begin with, or to spice up your current one, you can see what people in these groups may have posted about their workouts or you can ask a question to the group as to what workouts members do for different body parts. Then you can pick and choose when people respond.
Online support groups are great for helping you stay focused, committed and consistent on your healthy lifestyle journey. When looking for a support group, do your homework. Ask people you know, research groups in your area and related to your interests, and look up groups online and associated with gyms, centers, schools, even workplaces. The more you know about a group’s goals and what they can offer you, the more successful you will be.
There are a number of videos you can use to work out from the comfort of your own home. You can buy videos you see on TV, online, or from stores. Some examples of well-vetted video programs include P90x, T25, Insanity, Taebo, Complete Pregnancy Fitness with Erin O’brien, Dance Off the Inches, Zumba and Total Body Pilates. You could also work out to videos on YouTube, which is free and has a lot of variety. If you don’t know where to start, I will give you some YouTube workouts that I have been doing for a couple of years that I love.
Tiffany Rothe has a YouTube channel called TiffanyRotheWorkouts. Tiffany Rothe Workouts are fun and effective 10 minute routines that you can mix and match to help you lose body fat, tighten your butt, shrink your waist and firm your back and arms. If you subscribe, you can also be the first to get new workouts! Not only have I seen great changes with my body doing Tiffany Rothe Workouts, but so have many other women.
Here are a few of her workouts: Fabulous Fat Burning Workout, Waist Shrinking Tummy Tightening Workout and Sexy Upper Body Workout. My personal favorite is the 10 min Booty Shaking Waist Workout.
There are other channels that you can also use for your workouts: FitnessBlender is for men and women. This channel provides you with free full-length workouts that include bodyweight workouts, HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), strength training, cardio, Pilates, kettlebell, yoga, circuit training, low impact, stretching, and more. It contains workout videos for literally every fitness level, from very beginner to incredibly advanced.
The BeFit Channel provides you with high-quality workouts on Lionsgate BeFit that are sure to keep you looking and feeling your best. Re-shape your body, burn fat, and sculpt lean muscle as you work out with top fitness trainers like Jillian Michaels, Denise Austin, Jane Fonda, Billy Blanks Jr., Scott Herman, Samantha Clayton, Garrett Amerine, Rainbeau Mars, Bryan Tanaka, Sadie Nardini, Dr. Deepak Chopra, Envy Girls, Kym Johnson, Tara Stiles, and many more. Slim your waistline and tone your arms, legs, abs, chest and butt right from your living room for free.
Cassey Ho offers a lively and lighthearted pop culture approach to yoga and fitness instruction, ideal for a younger audience. Her work outs can be found on Blogilates.
SparkPeople Videos has playlists ready to go for pregnancy workouts, swimsuit bootcamps, healthy cooking classes and more.
Yogasync.TV boasts a huge library of guided yoga lessons that, if you can spare 20 minutes three times a week, will help you learn the ancient art in your own home.
Diet.com Video Diet.com has over 500 videos (with over 103,000,000 views) that cover all aspects of exercise, weight loss, nutrition and healthy eating.
Scott Herman Fitness. Scott Herman’s channel offers new routines and exercises every week with questions and answers, contests and vlogs (video blogs).
Sculpt Your Abs and Burn Fat Jillian Michaels’ Six-Pack Abs Workout is 30 minutes of fat-burning cardio that sculpts the abs as well as the arms and legs. The best part? There’s instruction for beginners and more advanced exercisers so you can continue to push yourself throughout the full six weeks.
Get Intense With a Bootcamp. Add boot camp workouts to your routine with the BCx Bootcamp videos that include jumps, kicks, pushups and everything in between. Ranging from 4-15 minutes, you can rev up your metabolism with a quickie in the morning or mix and match for a longer workout. Plus, fitness trainer Steve Pfiester words of encouragement will help you charge through.
Turbulence Training was created by Craig Ballantyne. His training is designed for peak fat loss and he offers some great full-length hardcore workouts on his channel. I prefer his routines to some of the other more popular “hardcore” workout channels out there because Ballantyne really knows his stuff and explains the “how” and “why” behind his exercise selection well, which is really important for safety when it comes to high intensity routines. If you like to work hard and push yourself to your limits, then check out his channel!
Brittany MissFitBrit Ramsey. Learn total body conditioning for everyday use to become fit, healthy and increase your motivation, confidence, and encouragement as you view new techniques for functional movement!! If you are getting sick of knee aches and pains in your lower back or other extremities then MissFitBritt is here to help you!! Get Fit with MissFitBritt and become a member of the Rock Hard Boot Camps for all fitness levels, come train with MissFitBritt for Personal Training packages and get MissFitBritt to come speak to your company, or organization as she is also a Motivational Speaker as it relates to Health n Wellness of Life!!
TONIC focuses on Yoga moves for just about anything and other workout videos. The length of the videos range from 10 minutes to even under a minute.
Nicole Chaplin focuses on intense and targeted workouts. Her videos are great for those who want to intensify their workouts. She focuses on everything from partner workouts to bootcamps. Her videos are under three minutes. You can find her on Instagram.
Sixpack Shortcuts focuses on abs with trainer Mike Chang. He focuses on all things abs: from losing belly fat to gaining muscle to building a stronger core. His videos usually are 15 minute in length
You no longer have any excuse not to work out. I have given you the option to choose from a number of free work outs, from walking/running to using YouTube videos. You can pay for a trainer or buy videos to do your work outs. And of course, you can also join a gym, but if you do this, please, please, buy books or magazines that show you what exercises to do and the correct form to use when performing them. I don’t want you to hurt yourself while working out. Also, please, listen to your body. This means, if you are too exhausted (not just lazy!) please rest. If you have an injury, please take care of your injury before exercising that area again. As you can see I did not say, don’t exercise at all, unless you have to or your doctor has told you to stop. I have given you many ways to get start, pick one and get started tomorrow. Now, what did you say your excuse was again?
Chicken Almond Stir-Fry
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (4oz each), cooked and cut into cubes
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
- 2 teaspoons coconut oil
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds
- 1 cup broccoli florets
- 1 cup snow peas; cut in half
- 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
- 2 scallions; cut into pieces about 1 inch (2.5 cm) long
- Stir together the soy sauce, broth, garlic, and ginger.
- Heat 1 teaspoon of coconut oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat
- Add the almonds and stir-fry them until they’re light golden.
- Remove and set aside.
- Heat another teaspoon of coconut oil in the pan and add the broccoli, snow peas, mushrooms, and scallions to the pan.
- Stir-fry for about 5 minutes or until just barely tender-crisp.
Banana, Nectarine, Pineapple Green Smoothie
- 1 banana, peeled
- 1 nectarine
- 1/2 cup pineapples chopped
- Handful raw spinach
- Add all the ingredients to the blender and blend on high for 30 seconds or until the smoothie is creamy.
- If you would like more liquid add more pineapples. Place in the freezer to cool.
Spiced Summer Vegetable Casserole
- 1.5 lbs. (about two) zucchini, sliced on a diagonal into half-inch pieces
- 1 lb. (about two) sweet potatoes, unpeeled, sliced on a diagonal into half-inch pieces
- 3/4 lb. (about two) beets, unpeeled, sliced into half-inch pieces
- 1 onion, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
- 2 Tbsp. + 2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp. balsamic vinegar 3/4 tsp. sea salt
- 1/2 tsp. garam masala chili flakes, to taste
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Grease a large casserole dish with 2 tsp. of the olive oil.
- Begin layering the vegetables, alternating between the zucchini, sweet potatoes, beets, and onion, starting on the outside and working your way in until you have an accordion-type pattern.
- Drizzle with remaining 2 tbsp. olive oil. Sprinkle salt, garam masala, and chili flakes evenly over the top. Cover with parchment, then aluminum foil. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove parchment and foil. Bake, uncovered, for an additional 30 minutes.
- Serve hot, room temperature, or cold.