That's what Jamie M, 31, did when her eating habits caught up with her a few years ago. She knew it was time for a change. She explains, "I began slowly -- training two times per week -- thinking that would do the job, but I realized if I wanted to really change my body and my life, two hours per week wasn't going to do it."
With the help of her trainer, Lauren Goldberg (aka L Boogie) at Peak Performance, Jamie began to exercise more. "[Lauren] said I commit to everything else, and why not this? Once she said that, it was on -- I made sure to integrate fitness into my life, 20 minutes [or more per] day whenever I could, plus my sessions with her two times per week," adds Jamie.
Transforming your lifestyle into a healthy one isn't just about the exercise: it's about making full life changes. For instance, if all you do is start exercising more, you aren't going to see the results that you want to -- and that can be demotivating. If you only eat healthier, the results won't be there either. "The whole key to making changes is balance," says Greene. It's important that when you are resetting your exercise mindset, that you also change your eating habits so that you remain in balance.
Another important aspect of the lifestyle change is to make it something that jives with your specific lifestyle. For mom of two Erica Spoor, 37, that meant joining a kid-friendly YMCA and finding ways to exercise that her kids could enjoy, too. "Once my general fitness level was back up, I started training for small, local duathalons and runs to set goals for myself. Biking is great because it allows me to be active with my kids, which they also enjoy," says Spoor. "We also use the Wii Fit as a family but it's not really strenuous enough to be part of my regular routine ... I think it's a great way to add extra exercise or for those just starting out though."
Everything changes as you age: you need less sleep, your metabolism slows down and your body chemistry shifts. "All of us have changes in our metabolism as we age," says Greene.
Avid exerciser Lori Reader, 48, says that getting older has made her even more passionate about being fit. "I guess as I am getting older ... my weight is something I can control as the aging process begins," says Reader, who also watches what she eats.
As your body changes, so should your exercise regime. Greene suggests adding in more strength training to combat the metabolism slowdown. "Strength training [is] ... better than we thought for metabolism," says Greene.
Perception is reality, and the best way to adopt a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise and a healthy diet is to change your perspective and see it as something you do for yourself . Get advice on dropping bad habits and starting good new habits here.