You may be thinking, why is my local Christiansburg, VA Photographer writing a post about getting healthy? Well, I’m a real person too and although wouldn’t consider myself an expert in the field, I do have some experience. My experience includes struggles and bad habits just like yours. I’ve found a few things that work for me.

I thought I’d share because I so often hear excuses from clients that they don’t want photos or “can you photoshop those 20 extra pounds?” And I know it affects your desire to want to be photographed. But first of all, know that you are beautiful just as you are and working on your mindset really is the first step.

Do you often say to yourself, I wish that could work out, but ___ [fill in the blank with any number of excuses]. I think the most truthful excuse is that you don’t like it.

Do you want to know a secret? I really don’t like working out and I definitely don’t love NOT getting to eat whatever I want to. BUT I do it anyway and I do feel better.

Every day I wake up, and my goal is to choose a healthy lifestyle. Has it always been that way? Nope. I have always wanted to be healthier and “in shape”, but in the past, I had never made it a true goal in my life. I am not only surprised to say this, but I am simply proud to say it: a healthy lifestyle is finally a priority in my life. Now sometimes “life” might get in the way and every day is not perfect, but it’s a journey and I just keep peddling.

I began to get serious about my health and fitness and 2012. I had tried many times before that, but I was, for a lack of a better term, lazy. I didn’t follow through and I didn’t have a plan.

There will ALWAYS be an excuse to not work out or eat healthily.  And I struggle with those every day because, well…ice cream. I love it and don’t even get me started on Talenti. It’s my kryptonite. But I AM committed! It can happen for me, so it can definitely happen for you! You can train your mind and body to do the right thing. Because I want to be 70 years old and still be able to move my body and in order to do that, you have to move it NOW!

I’m going to share with you the six ways that I stay motivated to make that happen.

These are probably not news to you, but sometimes it takes a real person saying it to make it click with you.

work out, eat healthy, exercise, kristina rose photography1. Make it a priority

If you are unable to stay committed to this first step, you might as well stop reading now. You will not want to do it every day. As matter fact most days you’ll have to talk yourself into it. But that’s going to be okay because you’ve made it a priority and now you know it’s important to you. You don’t make statements like “I don’t have time to meal plan or workout.” You sit down and put it in your calendar, and if something comes up, you rearrange and fit it in a different place.

2. Have some sort of accountability. 

This step is really important to me and is about the only way that I know that I can stay motivated. When I lost 35 pounds, I did it using Weight Watchers. I knew that I needed the accountability of weighing in every week and having to spend that money. There was no way that I was going to spend more than I needed to lose the weight. Money seems to be a motivator to me.

Recently, I’ve gotten a little lazy again. It’s okay. I am not afraid to admit it. It happens to the best of us, right? So I joined a dietbet to help me get back on track.

Honestly, food is my struggle. I do love to eat, but I have to keep it in check. When I falter, I don’t beat myself up. I just put myself back on track.

What will be your accountability? For some, it’s having a friend that is going through it with you. Maybe you need to journal or share your journey online or on social media. Maybe there’s a certain event coming up that will start your motivation engines. Whatever it is, just use it to fuel you.

3. Find the type of exercise you can tolerate or maybe even like a little.

Why did I say tolerate?  Well, because I am pretty sure that if you’re reading this article, you probably struggle with health and fitness. Am I right? Well, I am here to say that if I didn’t see the results of exercise, I would not do it. I was the person who purchased some cream to get rid of cellulite. NEWSFLASH…it doesn’t work. But loading some weights on the bar and squatting until my legs hurt sure did.

I don’t love it. I love how I feel about myself after I do it. During almost every class, I have to remind myself why I am doing it. Because if it’s not hard and you’re not pushing yourself, you won’t see any changes. But because I have step number one down in this list (make it a priority!), I just do it…no matter what.

I have found what works for me. I enjoy group training. I hate dancing workouts. I love for someone to plan my workout and motivate me while I am doing it. I need to be around people and out of my house so I don’t think of the things that I need to do at home and make an excuse. That’s what I need to make it happen. Here’s a little preview of a workout that I did recently. It was awful, but I was so proud of myself afterward that I made this little video to include with this blog. So that’s the feeling you are going for: do it because when it’s over, you feel so good about yourself!

I feel silly sharing it, but it’s a part of me now and I love working out at Peak (come join me!). Your exercise has to be something that works for you. If you can do videos at home or follow somebody on YouTube and not give up when it gets hard, then do that. One of my dearest friends has an awesome free YouTube channel. Check her out at BodyFit by Amy. And don’t underestimate the value of investing in a personal trainer.

4. Take it slow

I didn’t get to where I am now in a month or even a year. If you think that you’re going to do that, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

Now, I am no expert, but I have dieted and failed many times in my life and bought DVD workouts that never went into the DVD player. Have you? Well, guess what? We are normal.

Nobody has ever said that change is easy. You have to take small steps. I started out with a DVD workout series at home by Jillian Michaels because I did not feel comfortable working out around people.  I finished it and it helped me gain confidence to do something I liked better.

5. Don’t try to get all fancy with your meals.  

Consistency is my friend when it comes to eating. I don’t really like to cook. I do it a lot, but it’s not my favorite thing. I am not creative in the kitchen, but I still eat healthy.

How? Well, I basically eat the same 2-3 things for breakfast, lunch, and snacks every single day. I am okay with that because it is soooooo much easier! As a mom of three and an entrepreneur, I need more easy in my life! I have eggs, sauteed spinach, and sweet potatoes for breakfast. (Side note: make sure to get veggies in for breakfast!) I drink a protein shake for lunch. My snacks consist of vegetables, string cheese, or a few of my favorite homemade energy balls.

6. Feed your mind motivation every single day.

This last one may be just as important as step number one. You need to surround yourself with motivation, and I’m not just talking about hanging a picture on the fridge of what you want to look like.  Get serious about it.

You need to be reading books to keep you on track. You need to find an awesome podcast to listen to on your drive instead of the radio. You need to choose a few great people to follow on Instagram or Facebook who post things that get you excited.

When I see an inspirational quote, I save it to my phone. I have an entire album of motivational quotes that help me. I put two of them in the video above for you.

I hope this helps just one person out there start living a healthier life. Your future self will thank you. Your kids will thank you. Your body and mind will thank you. I’ve heard so many people say that once they got their health and fitness in line, so many other parts of their life seemed to flow better as well.  So what are you waiting for!? Make today the day and then make it a priority every single day.

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