Practical Tips to Get in Shape from a Non-Expert 
by Matthew J. Nestor (Lifestyle Contributor)

A few years ago I decided I wanted to lose weight.  At the time my reasons were simple if not a littlecliché. I remember wanting to "make a change," and to "challenge myself." And I did, because it really was a challenge. Three years later, I have lost and kept off the 45-50 lbs and have found many extra benefits from losing some of the weight. Again, it wasn't easy, but I started to realize after a while that it wasn’t the hardest thing in the world if I programmed my mind the right way. I just realized that if you have the right information, it makes it so much easier. There are many things the experts don't tell you, that you have to really scour the web forums to find out. There are also things you end up discovering that just work for you. Here’s a little bit of both in my collection of tips for making the journey a little easier:

A few years ago I decided I wanted to lose weight. At the time my reasons were simple if not a little 
Prepare To Do This for the Rest of Your Life

Yes, for life. Unless you come from the perfect genetics tree, to stay in shape, you have to work out consistently. If you look at it as a discipline and a routine without always looking for results, it makes it easier. Make exercise a habit and let the positive results be a bonus.

Count Your Calories

Personally, I use the MyFitnessPal app. At first it seems a little tedious, however not only will it help you keep track of how you eat, but it will let you see how many unnecessary calories you are taking in. It blew my mind when I realized how many empty calories Twizzlers or a sugary drink with every meal added on. It also made me more willing to skip those things to save the calories for more substantial meals.

Drink Plenty of Water

Yes it’s good for you, it hydrates you, all that good stuff, but it also acts as filler. It will help you feel full on those days when you feel constantly hungry, and you sometimes will.

Find a Workout That Seems Fun

I started with P90x and the challenge of it appealed to me. Since then though, I’ve tried many different workout programs. My wife and I sometimes play Just Dance or Zumba to lighten things up. Mixing it up will help you avoid the monotony and motivate you to keep going.

The First 2-3 Months will be the Hardest...

…so find a routine, stick with it and ignore the early results (or potential lack thereof). It will feel like a grind. You will be more tired than ever before in your life. Eventually, though, it gets easy enough to where you get bored and have to move on to tougher more complex routines (see previous point).

Don't Give Up

Losing weight is not easy, but stick with it. I started at 290lbs and now hover around 245. It hasn't been easy keeping the weight off but the health benefits of weighing less and eating better have made me want to exercise. I’m almost 30 and realize how important what I eat and what shape I’m in affects my body. You can make a change, but do it for the right reasons. And keep doing it.

What are your tips for someone starting or in the middle of a get-in-shape journey?

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