Do you ever feel like you’re a professional dieter?

I sure have. I started dieting in middle school and, for the last, 25 years or so…I’ve kept it up. That’s a lot of emotional baggage attached to food, y’all. I started as a strict dieter – only eating sugar-free fat-free cookies; turkey sandwiches and diet coke. I’ve counted calories, points, macros, etc. All of this depravity over the years, lead me to binge eat. From a very young age, I was an emotional eater. I learned to wash my feelings down with milkshakes and candy bars. It worked really well, but the physical results of my binge eating did even more damage to my self-worth.

In 2012, I decided to take charge of my health for the first time.

There would be no more “dieting” with fat free twinkies and diet sodas. I shifted to a “real food” outlook and my life has been so much better since then.

I won’t claim that it’s easy or that change happens right away, but as soon as you decide to ditch the “diet mentality” and really really take charge, that’s when amazing things start happening.

When it comes to your health and fitness journey, it’s better to make a plan for yourself. Progress takes determination; perseverance and TIME. I want to share my top five tips for ditching the struggle bus and taking your own route to health and fitness.

Five ways to take charge of your health right now:

  1. Get a Plan – think about the workouts you truly enjoy. Circuit Training? Group Fitness? Power Walking/Running? Zumba? Biking? Tennis? Crossfit? You do not have to join a gym. I had the most fitness success by working out in my element, at home. I’ve not been a gym member for many years. Enjoy a particular trainer’s style? Grab their DVD or stream their worouts. You can even use YouTube to get many free workouts at your disposal. You have many options and zero excuses.
  2. Track and Carry Out the Plan – You can use a notebook; a paper-bound fitness journal; a heart-rate monitor/tracker/watch; or an online tracker like MyFitnessPal or LoseIt. Be sure to write down every workout and every thing you eat. EVERYTHING (even the oopsies).
  3. Get an Accountability Partner – Even if you aren’t doing the exact same workouts; have the same fitness goals; or same struggles, having that person who is willing to dog you when you’re being lazy and cheer you on when you’re crushing goals, is what you need! If you don’t have someone in your life who will do that, there are plenty of fitness groups online where you can find someone.
  4. Stay Motivated – Sometimes this means giving yourself mini (or big) prizes when goals are met; sometimes it’s listening to motivational speakers or reading a book. Sometimes it’s selfies. I’m serious. If you track your progress, with pictures, from the beginning you can SEE how far you’ve come and that’s serious motivation.
  5. Get Back Up – Do you know how many times I’ve had to get back up? More than I can count. No matter how many times you slip-up; lose track; get distracted; JUST. KEEP. MOVING. You can do this. As long as you’re still breathing, it’s not too late.

Now you’re ready to take charge of your health today. Taking back your life is an amazing feeling and I can’t wait for you to experience it.