Fall is the perfect time to take stock of your fitness routine and go back to basics. Whether you’re stuck in a fitness rut, can’t seem to drop that last five pounds or you’ve fallen clean off the healthy eating bandwagon, now is an ideal time to refocus on your health and put a fresh plan into place.
Why now? Before you know it, you’ll be roasting turkey, hosting family dinners and shopping for gifts — so we say get back to basics while you still have time! Here’s how.
Clean out your cupboards
One of the first places to start when refocusing on fitness and health is the kitchen. What exactly is in those cupboards? Take an afternoon to really look at what you’re buying and whether it helps — or hinders — your health and fitness goals. Are you shopping for convenience? If so, you might have some serious purging to do. The more healthy items you have, the better your meals and snacks will be.
- Replace white pasta with whole wheat, or better yet, pasta made with brown rice, quinoa, spelt or kamut.
- Trade white rice for brown and/or wild rice, or quinoa (which cooks up quickly).
- Say goodbye to sugary cookies and granola bars. Instead, make your own trail mix for easy grab-and-go snacking. Pack it full of pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries or blueberries, raw almonds, raw sunflower seeds and raisins.
- Skip the snacking crackers and instead stock whole grain or rice crackers.
- Say no to canned soups, which can be loaded with sodium and preservatives.
- What should you stock up on? Things that make it easy to make a quick meal (canned beans, canned diced tomatoes, coconut milk, all-natural curry pastes and other robust seasonings).
Regroup on goals
What are your health and fitness goals? If you don’t have a clear idea in mind, do some thinking about what you want to focus on. Set a healthy example for your kids? Provide healthier meals for your family? Lose 10 pounds? Run a half-marathon? Your goal can be simple, or it can be a real challenge, but the key is to pinpoint something that will motivate you to keep moving and eat in a way that not only tastes good, but that fuels your body with everything it needs (and nothing it doesn’t).
Reprioritize your health
Sure, losing a few pounds would be great, but the real reason you hit the gym every week is because you want to be healthy, right? If not, it’s time to remember that being active and eating a healthy diet are more about leading a long, healthy life than fitting into a size two. Maintaining a healthy weight is important, and we all want to look our best, but this fall, focus on the fact that all your sweat sessions, trips down the produce aisle and extra-long walks with the dog are for long-term gain, not for bathing-suit season.
Focus on what fulfills you
If you hate the step class you drag yourself to every Wednesday after work, stop going. If jogging is the last thing you would ever want to do, but you do it anyway, stop doing it. No, we’re not suggesting you sit on the couch instead, but this fall, take the time to try some new activities and figure out what you really love. Maybe it’s martial arts, maybe it’s CrossFit, maybe it’s swimming or a combination of all three. But if what you’re doing doesn’t fulfill you, you’re either not going to do it for long or you won’t give it your all.
Get a checkup
One of the easiest, but most important, things you can do for your health is pay a visit to your doctor. Get a general checkup and find out if there are any tests you should get based on where you are in life, age, weight or stress level. That way any potential problems can be nipped in the bud before they become full-blown health issues.
What are you doing to stay fit and healthy this fall? Share in the comments below!