I don't know about you, but the idea of leading a healthy lifestyle had never really appealed to me. I was much more interested in working out sporadically and eating food that tasted good - regardless of the health effects.
It was only at the beginning of 2017 at the age of 22 that I became motivated enough to set myself the goal of leading a much healthier lifestyle. And so my action plan began.
I started with changing my diet to consist of a lot more protein in conjunction with more vegetables and minimal carbohydrates. Alongside this, I set myself the goal of attending the gym minimum 2/3 times a week. I also made sure I did 100 sit-ups every morning before I went to work. I was honestly a girl on a mission mainly motivated by the idea of “looking good.” But after I began to see the results of my hard work and dedication, I actually started enjoying my new and healthier routine which then started to feel like a lifestyle. I became in love with the results and the effects of being healthy and staying fit.
I knew it would be difficult to keep up this type of lifestyle when moving to teach English in China, but I also knew that once I settled in it would be much easier.
So let me share with you some of my best tips to being the best version of you!
Find the foods that you love the most (mine was chicken) and find alternative ways to make it healthier. Try different healthier side dishes like brown rice instead of white rice. If you are looking for specific ingredients that you cannot find in Chinese supermarkets, Walmart is a great place that sells a lot of western brands.
Find a workout routine that works for you and then build yourself up – for instance, you could begin with a thirty-minute session, then build up to an hour. Then you could build up to an hour and a half and so on. There are many gym groups here in China, but if the gym is not for you, home workout routines are also an option. Taobao is a great place to buy yoga mats, skipping ropes and anything else you may want for an effective home workout. Alternatively, you can join any ‘buy and sell' WeChat or Facebook groups.
Cheat days are allowed - but don't go overboard and lose yourself. Everything in moderation!
Drink 2L of water every single day – it helps boost your metabolism and also helps fuel the muscles. In China, please remember that it is not safe to drink the tap water, I recommend buying a crate of 2L water bottles from your local supermarket. I also recommend drinking peppermint or green tea because they help with bloated stomachs (stay away from sugary drinks!!!)
With your exercise, try to be creative to stay motivated. Don't just go to the gym! You could try organising a boot camp in your backyard, or at a local park. Find groups in your cities, take up a new hobby or even cycle to work some days!
With your food, don't be afraid to be boring. Cook meals in batch and freeze them, or make something really simple if you need to eat on the go. If you find yourself short on time, it is common to just go to fast junk food. If you have a boring backup, it may not be the most exciting, but it can help you feel a need from time to time and keep you on track. Not to mention, you can also save a tonne of money this way.
Many people are frustrated when they do not see results straight away, but one must remember that it takes time. Remember, you might not be improving mega-fast, but you're not getting worse!
Leading a healthier lifestyle is a choice, and it doesn't come naturally to many, we are all on different journeys so never compare yours with anybody else's! In China, eating out is cheap, but the food may not be as healthy as it seems. Don't take the easy route when things are slow. Just keep at it.
TOP TIP: Make a goal & plan how to achieve that goal & go above and beyond & reach that goal (and repeat the cycle)
Remember you can be the best version of yourself, all you have to do is try and keep trying!