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Jump-Start Your Fitness Journey

DEALING WITH COVID 15

Article by Bindu Chowritmootoo

Photography by Stock Images

Dear Fitness Diary:

I know it has been a minute since I have written. I wish I can say it is because I was busy with running my new company, giving attention to my husband, taking care of my three teenage boys and trying to train my untrained dog. Well, it's not. It's far from the truth. My life (like everyone else) has completely changed since COVID-19. Being home with the family and practicing social distancing allowed me to truly focus on them more than ever. Not only was I finding new projects to complete around the house, but I also discovered my inner chef and started to cook things I have never cooked before. This meant my home turned into an overnight five-star restuarant! This is great, right? NOT! I completely fell off my fitness wagon. I found myself eating things just because it was there. If you can relate, please raise your hand! Well, now that COVID-19 has brought COVID 15 (15 pounds) it's time to show COVID-19 who's the boss! Fortunately, I have had an amazing fitness coach in my life (thanks, John Pruna!) who has enstilled some long-lasting fitness tips so I can pick myself off the floor and start again. This is meant for anyone who needs a simple but effective way to jump-start their fitness journey. So, let's get started!

Goals

Let me make something very clear. All successes have to be measured! Please don't argue this point with me. You need to set attainable goals for yourself before you even get started on a fitness journey. I am not a big fan of scales, however, I highly recommend you completely strip down (ladies, you know what I mean; hold my earrings, please) step on that scale and deal with reality. That is your starting point. Now, PLEASE try not to look at that scale every other day. There are so many factors that can affect your weight, such as that "time of the month." Your menstrual cycle can literally add a 3-5 pounds to your weight due to changes in your hormones, water retention, sugar cravings, skipping workouts, etc. Why tourture yourself? Some trainers will weigh themselves weekly to make sure they are staying on target. It really depends on how aggressive you are with reaching your goal weight. I have always found that keeping track of your starting weight and then giving yourself 30 days to achieve your goal weight is the most practical. You don't need the scale to show weight loss within those 30 days; you can just simply do the eye test. Your clothes should fit better, and you should notice your body begin to be more toned as you lose weight. Now that we have set goals, let's move on to some important points.

Food

We are all emotional eaters. When we are happy, we eat. When we are sad, we eat. Food is my husband's love language. He loves to create one-of-a-kind dishes rich with flavor, fat and calories! (Yes, I am one lucky gal.) However, my waist may disagree. I finally realized in 2009 that I have to change my relationship with food. There is no reason not to love food. Food is a necessity. It is meant to nourish you. Treat food as nourishment. I hate using the word diet. Instead I have learned to replace it with the word fast.

A very popular and effective fast that most people follow is called intermittent fasting (IF). There are several ways of doing intermittent fasting. The most popular method that I recommend is the 16/8 method, which is also called the Leangains protocol. The 16/8 method requires you to skip breakfast and only eat between 1 p.m. and 9 p.m. Then you fast for 16 hours in between. Limit yourself to drinking water during the fasting time. The benefits of intermittent fasting are weight loss because your levels of growth hormone increase, resulting in fat loss and muscle gain. This does not mean that you binge eat between 1 p.m. and 9 p.m. You will still need to be mindful of what you actually place in your mouth. Let me make it as simple as possible. Less fried food. More baked/grilled. Less carbs. More proteins. More veggies. Lots and lots of water! That's it. It's no secret. In order for you to see actual weight loss, you need to follow this fast for at least five consective days a week for four weeks. So, if you decide to loosen it up for the weekend, it is fine. But still be mindful what you are eating. Not eating after 9 p.m. is overall a good practice. My trainer always reminded me the importance of the 80/20 rule. The basic idea of the 80/20 rule is very simple. In order to be healthy and balanced, you don’t always have to make 100% healthy food choices. 80% is enough. The remaining 20% you can choose less healthy food and indulge yourself. (Plan ahead for a girls' night out or a special dinner at a restaurant!) Now that we covered the importance of building a healthy relationship with food, let's get physical!

Move

As we get older (no, we cannot drink from the fountain of youth forever) it is even more important to maintain a healthy body. Being skinny does not prevent you from being diagnosed with diabetes, hypertension or high cholesterol. Also, if you have a family history of any medical issues, your risk is higher in being genetically predisposed. If you don't take care of your body, you will need to deal with conditions without choice, and most likely will need to be managed with medications. Who likes taking medications? NOT ME. Anyone who knows me knows that I absolutely hate taking any types of pills! (even vitamins, so I replace them with gummies—don't judge) So, do me a favor and MOVE! Push! Pull! Slide! Shake! Lift! Notice I didn't say go to a gym or run 5 miles a day or lift weights. You need to find what type of activity helps motivate you and do it for at least 30 minutes a day. (Without stopping, no breaks, no cheating!) Start with 30 minutes a day and build up to 60 minutes. This can also mean dancing, walking your dog, riding your bicycle, running after your children—anything to make you break a sweat! If you are not sure what types of exercises help you burn calories and help focus on toning certain parts of your body, you can always consult with a personal trainer or Google it. Several social media platforms showcase trainers who share their workout routines on their page for free! So, what is your excuse? Now that we discussed how to get physical, let's move on to learning how to measure your success!

Track

Remember what I said: All successes Have to be measured! If for some reason you are struggling with losing weight, you need to be able to look back and see what you have been eating, drinking, the exercises you have been following, etc. The best way to do this tracking it daily. I have been using a free app called My Fitness Pal. Download it from the Apple store onto your phone. Set you goals and start tracking everything! At the end of the month, it will provide a summary of your weight loss, your nutrition and exercises. You can even ask your family and friends to join you so that you can make it a team effort to meet your goals. This app also shares healthy food recipes and exercises that you can do at home. The more organized and focused you are, the higher the success rate. This is extremely helpful as you begin your fitness journey. It forces you to hold yourself accountable for your own results. After all, there is no point in lying to yourself, right? Who knows you better than you? Document and measure your daily activities so that you give yourself credit for all the effort you put into your fitness journey.

Now that I have given you tips on dealing with the COVID 15, what are you waiting for? This article was written to simplify it as much as possible. I am not a professional trainer. I am a woman who understands how challenging it can be to put your health first. So, trust me when I say YOU ARE WORTH EVERY MINUTE!

Start logging in your fitness diary about your challenges and your successes. Surround yourself with positive people who will cheer you on from the sidelines. Hold yourself accountable. Watch your life transform. You never know; you may just surprise yourself!

Please share your personal transformation with other women, and you may be featured on our company website, Ignite It, LLC! Send us an email at info@igniteitiacademy.com.

EMPOWER YOUR FIRE!

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