Image courtesy of: Pinnacle Health Group

By: Julia Recine

Changing your physical fitness habits and diet is all mental; it takes self-motivation and dedication.

Personal trainer, Anthony Esposito, 34, said, “A lot of people see images of others and say they want to look like that person, but in a sense, you then are limiting yourself.  Why not look even better than that person?  Think about what you would like to accomplish, work hard at it, keep focused, expect no quick fixes and most of all be patient.”

First step to changing your life – convince yourself you can do it.  Start by changing your daily routine. Even small changes can make a difference.

Waking up every morning with a positive attitude about yourself and your physical appearance can drastically affect your weight-loss process. Learning to love your body and be confident in your own skin is the first step to successful weight loss.  Start by looking in the mirror and telling yourself you are beautiful, everyday.

Your eating habits are half the battle. Always grab the apple instead of the muffin. Start the day by making yourself a healthy breakfast. Skip the sugary cereals full of empty carbs and calories, spring for something with more fiber, good carbs and protein. Cook yourself a few eggs, slice up avocado, season it with spices of your choice. Salt, pepper and a little hot sauce are game changers. The avocado is considered a good fat and leaves you feeling fuller much longer. Eggs are an excellent source of protein and good cholesterol.

Extreme dieting, or completely cutting out a major food group, is never a good way to lose weight, mainly because it shocks your body. For example, diets like no sugar, no carb and no dairy cause significant weigh-loss right away, however once you return to normal eating you’ll immediately gain all the weight back.

Esposito also say, “It’s about finding your maintenance calories, then creating caloric deficit.  From there, eating the correct protein, carbohydrate and fat ratio.  For example, grilled chicken, a sweet potato and some avocado would be a perfect protein, carb and fat choice.”

It’s all about making healthier choices, not depriving yourself of things you love. You can have that chocolate, but in a healthy way. Moderation and healthy alternatives are always the way to go.

Eating better causes you to feel better, you’ll have more energy, feel better about your body and ultimately will help on your journey to weight loss.

Next, physical fitness: the bane of everyone’s existence.

Start small, park your car farther away at the grocery store, farther at your job and make sure to always take the stairs. These small acts can positively contribute to better physical health. It may seem hard at first, but eventually you’ll see how much easier it gets to walk up three flights of stairs. That’s how you know you’re making progress.

Go for a light jog or a brisk walk if you aren’t interested in diving headfirst into weightlifting or intense cardio. As the weather warms, walking or jogging around your neighborhood for an hour while listening to your favorite songs is a great habit to get into.

If you’re more interested in intense cardio and weightlifting, join a gym and invest in a few sessions with a personal trainer. Personal trainers are great assets because they can teach you how to properly weight lift, how to perfect your form and what exercises are great for your body type.

A personal trainer may not be for everyone. Esposito gave another tip on weightlifting for beginners:

“Start with light weights to see where ones weaknesses and strengths may be,” Esposito urged. “Weights are a great way to isolate certain muscle groups and really get your blood flowing,” said Esposito.

Esposito believes consistent exercise breeds not just improved physical health; it makes better people as well. “Expect it to be a challenge, but that’s what builds us as a better person,” said Esposito. “We all want the final outcome, but what makes us a better person is the process.  It’ll be tough, but it’s possible, depending how bad you want it.”