Hey, look, it’s finally spring, which means it’ll soon be summer, which means tanning season. If you’re a glutton like myself, and have a little bit of a belly, you may be self-conscious about your body in swimsuits. That’s cool, totally normal. Here’s where this list comes in. It’s five simple tips to finally break into exercising, and they’re all baby steps.</p>
1. Let your caffeine addiction replace sugar.
Do you drink a lot of juice and/or soda? Do you drink a lot of tea or coffee? Great! You’re halfway to cutting sugary drinks out of your diet. When drunk black, tea or coffee has virtually no calories (literally 1-2 cal/100g). If you’re like me, and like something besides water when having a meal, coffee or tea is your saving grace.
Additionally, if you’re not into caffeine, water is best for you. If you want to reduce your calorie intake, drink two full glasses of water before eating, it will aid in reducing your food intake. If you think cutting sugar out completely is impossible, trying diluting juice to ease into pure water.
2. Stop taking the bus.
You may or may not be one of the people who takes a bus at DC and gets off at Phillip, or a bus from BMH to Lester. I get it. In the winter the weather sucks, it’s cold, you’ve got a heavy backpack and being outside is terrible. But now, it’s nice outside! Shockingly, walking from DC to Phillip is like, six minutes, that’s nothing! You’re probably waiting seven minutes for the bus.
If you live close to campus, but take the bus, you are missing out on some serious calorie burning. Walking from Hazel, Albert, Sunview or Lester can range from 12-20 minutes. That could easily be 100 calories on a round trip! Spring is a great opportunity to start walking. Stop being limited by bus times and enjoy being outside. You’d be surprised how easy it is to get around Waterloo without bussing.
3. Use the gym to watch your shows.
Let’s be honest, we all spend a good amount of time watching videos, be it television shows or YouTube. Part of your day likely consists of sitting down and watching something for at least an hour. Why not kill two birds with one stone by exercising while you’re watching? (Note: this method is not ideal for laptops). If you can watch your shows on your phone or tablet this is a great way to utilize your time!
An hour on a bike or elliptical will fly by if you’re watching something. Additionally, you can use this method to encourage attending the gym — you can only watch the show at the gym. If you only have a laptop and don’t want to watch things on your smartphone, try listening to podcasts while you’re exercising.
4. Make it a routine.
It’s easy to think that the gym can’t be fit into a schedule, which is certainly possible with a full course load. The UW gyms, however, have very accommodating hours: 7 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Whether you go early in the morning, late at night, or squeeze in a quick lifting session during lunch, there is always time in the day! The important part is making it a routine.
The more you attend the gym regularly, the more normal it will be. Once it becomes a habit (once a week or twice a week, whatever), the easier it will be to start increasing workout days. I’ve gone from three days a week to five in a couple of months, so it’s definitely possible!
5. Reduce unnecessary food consumption.
A lot of weight loss programs encourage less eating, because it is the smartest, easiest way to lose weight. If your goal is to lose weight, exercising is helpful, but eating less is the ideal. The one way to do this is to not eat while “bored.” I have a very poor habit of eating whilst watching videos, so it’s easy to eat when I’m not even hungry. Once you separate relaxing from consuming food, you’ll likely find that you’re snacking less.
If you find that you get very hungry in between meals, I recommend higher protein meals and less carby meals. You’ll find that you will not get as hungry as fast this way.
And there you have it, five baby steps that will ease you into exercising and hopefully lose a little bit of weight. You could begin with just one tip and build on that, or start with all five. Hopefully this advice will encourage a change in lifestyle. Good luck!