Happy Friday Ladies! April is here. Winter is trying to hold on…but it won’t win! I’m excited to get back outside with my family!!!Today I wanted to touch on how to start your fitness journey. Starting any type of exercise or diet program can be overwhelming if you don’t have a plan. I wanted to give some advice and some pitfalls to watch for.Here are my top 10 things to do (or not to do) when starting a fitness journey.DO LIST-Reflect on your goals. Realize what you want for yourself one, two, and five years down the road. Many times, people want to do something fast or crash diet only to be in the same or worse situation than they were when they started. Weight loss is a common goal. It’s a great goal…but weight loss should be a by-product of a healthy and active lifestyle. Narrow down the behaviors that aren’t a part of a healthy lifestyle and replace them with behaviors that support your goals.-Count Calories(especially in the beginning) It’s amazing how many of my new clients realize that they eat 20%-30% more than what they think. It’s easy to do. In the age of savvy marketing and packaging it’s easy to underestimate your calorie intake. Many time this extra 20% can easily be eliminated or replaced by nutrient dense foods that will make you feel satiated and full of energy. There’s plenty of easy apps (I recommend myfitnesspal) that quickly keep track of calorie intake. Once you get a good handle on calorie intake and portion sizes you can stop counting every calorie.-Find An Accountability Partner. A great option is someone who lives with you. If people in your household are working toward the same goal, it’s much easier to eat clean food and exercise! OR join a small group gym and meet like minded people to keep you on track. Many gyms also offer accountability services too! -Stay Consistent. I’d much rather work with someone who wants to eat balanced meals most of the time (80/20 rule!) and exercise 3-4 times per week than with someone who wants to work out 7 times a week and try a fad diet. EVERY TIME the person who is consistent and balanced will find better results than the person who trys to do it all in 60 days.-Stay Active. No matter what you do, stay active. Get your steps. Go on a hike. Get to the gym. Keep moving. A sedentary lifestyle can be WORSE for your health than smoking.-Have Fun. Find a program that you enjoy. Experiment with healthy foods that you haven’t tried before. If you find a way to enjoy your new lifestyle, you’ll have a much better chance of being successful.DON’T LIST-Try To Do It All At Once. Don’t go from drinking 6 sodas a day to none. Don’t eliminate the foods you love. Don’t go from being a couch potato to intense exercise 7 days a week. Leave that nonsense to the New Year’s Resolutioners! Gradually reduce or replace the food and activities that don’t support your goals. I recommend making 1-2 small changes per week. After 8 weeks you’ll be in a much better spot!-Do A Fad/Crash Diet-Don’t do it. It’s bad for you physically and emotionally. If you’re looking to lose 30 lbs in 30 days you’re going to be disappointed. The crash diets that allow you to lose massive weight quickly are unsustainable and can dehydrate you. If you can’t envision staying on a diet the rest of your life, then it’s not a good idea!-Get Discouraged If You Vear From Your Plan. If this happens you probably aren’t on a sustainable plan. Life happens. You must incorporate “some” indulgent foods. There will be weeks where you can’t exercise as much as you want. That’s ok. Life happens. Did you have a bad day??? Get back on track tomorrow.-Quit. Don’t quit. If something isn’t working for you…try something else. Don’t be hard on yourself. You’re human. Work on being a healthier person today than you were yesterday.