Eat less and exercise more. Never has such a simple-seeming little credo been so hard to put into practice in our daily lives. I remember times when I was so desperate to change the way my body looked that if someone had uttered those words to me, I might have full-on decked them. They would have deserved it.
As simple as those words are, the concept they are summarizing is much more complex. Sure, eating less (or at least more of the right sorts of foods) and exercising will change your body and make you feel better. But in order to do those things, you've got to make an entire change to your lifestyle, and that ain't easy.
More from The Stir: 5 Healthy Changes to Jumpstart Weight Loss
I think it's a bad idea to draw a line in the sand with something like "today is a new chapter -- another carb will never pass through my lips and I will go to the gym seven days a week." When you operate this way, you're setting yourself up to fail by creating unrealistic expectations. Of course you're going to eat a carb or 80 -- carbs are great and in most things. You might love exercising, but life has a way of setting up stumbling blocks when it comes to seven straight days of gym time.
Thankfully, the key to starting this "new chapter" is easier to access than you realize. The first step isn't hours in the gym -- it's increasing your activity levels. Take a look at the simple things you do every day that are already helping you grow stronger and leaner. I bet you're doing much more than you think.
1.) Child Heaving
I'm not saying your child is a medicine ball, but don't doubt that all that lifting and carrying is giving you some serious core strength.
The bending and tossing and the folding -- it's like you're doing toe-touches AND working on your fine motor skills. Bonus points if you have to walk elsewhere to do your laundry.
Be it by hand or in a machine, you're getting a mini-workout. Your arms are getting stretched and toned when you reach to put something away, and those caked on scrambled eggs are doing wonders for your upper-body.
Every time you climb a stair, you're increasing your rate heart and burning calories. This is an easy one to do more of -- it will also strengthen the muscles in your knees and butt.
5.) Cleaning Windows
Shoulders and forearms look out -- you're a lean, mean, window-scrubbing machine.
6.) Scooping the Litter Box
Popping a squat to scoop out your cat's litter box engages your entire body. Focus on your breathing and on drawing your navel toward your spine. You're making a house that smells great and a lean tummy. Plus you only look slightly ridiculous.
This is a full body workout: Your arms are pumping, your legs are going, you're bending, turning, and twisting. Basically, you are Jillian Michaels.
The key to real fitness and health is not to be so hard on yourself. If you can do the stuff you already do on a daily basis (and let's be real, it's a TON of stuff), then you're totally prepared for taking the next step -- whatever that might be for you.
What household chores make you work up a sweat?
Image via Editor B/Flickr