Getting into shape and living a healthier lifestyle can be seriously daunting.
That's why BuzzFeed Life reached out to people who've been there to ask them to share their advice. For one guy, that meant learning a way to trick himself into using the spin bike more often. For another woman, that meant transforming her eating and fitness habits, losing over 150 pounds, and getting her diabetes and blood pressure under control.
Whether you're looking to make a big change in your life or a few small ones, you can probably use some of the tips these former couch potatoes shared. And if you've made a healthy living change in your own life, share it with everyone in the comments!
1. Make it easy for yourself to work out in the mornings.
2. Master the art of portion control.
Emily Abbate is an editor at Fitbie, where she writes about health and fitness. She's also been actively training for the 2014 New York City Marathon, and has been documenting her progress in a video series on Fitbie.
3. Get enough sleep.
4. Don’t aim for perfection.
"In 2007 I lost about 80 pounds, and then in 2012 gained most of it back. I wanted to get back in shape, so I decided to try running every day. And I was maybe running half a mile, maybe a mile at the most — I wasn't good at it. I gave up about three times, saying, "It's not working out, I'm not good at it," and just went back to doing nothing.
I had a friend who lost 100 pounds running. And she helped to hold me accountable. She would send me texts and Facebook messages saying, "You don't have to be good at it, you just have to do it." That became my motto. Every time I didn't want to get up: "You don't have to be good at it, you just have to do it." So I started running every day.
I run probably three times a week now, I go to a simulated surfboard class three to four times a week, and I swim three to four times a week. And I'm so happy I do — I feel great."
—Laura Prescott, 30
5. Find a workout you love — that way it doesn’t feel like a chore, and it’s something you’re excited to do.
6. Try to do some form of exercise for 30 minutes (or three miles) every day.
Kit Rich, an NASM certified personal trainer, is a Los Angeles-based celebrity pilates trainer. She's been featured in Vogue, SHAPE, SELF, Women's Health, Real Simple, US Weekly, and Pilates Style. She's also made appearances on Access Hollywood, Access Hollywood LIVE!, E! News, E!Online, EXTRA, and The Today Show. She blogs regularly for Beautylish.com.
7. Focus on creating a sustainable healthy lifestyle, not temporarily following a fad diet.
8. Make working out a social activity.
9. Distract yourself, if you need to.
10. Learn to lift weights.
11. Use social media to find cheerleaders and to hold yourself accountable.
Jamie Goodwin started the Facebook page Wheelin' Weightloss two years ago. Today it has over 5,000 followers. You can follow Jamie's story by liking her Wheelin' Weightloss page, and following her on Instagram.
12. Build a solid foundation of good habits first, and then add to it slowly.
13. Eat more fiber and lean protein.
14. Keep a food diary, if it helps you.
15. Celebrate how exercise makes your body feel — and do things that make you feel sexy!
"I had gained a lot of weight in my first job out of college as a high school teacher, and I tried to go to the gym but I was just so exhausted I couldn't ever motivate myself to go. Then one day I joined my boyfriend at a dance class — we were both musicians, and I was there to drum for the class. I was so intrigued by the women in the class… they were super sexy and had gorgeous bodies! I decided I wanted to try actually dancing. The music was sensual and it was a playful dance style. I was hooked. I started going to dance classes multiple times a week, and that inspired me to start eating better.
The things that helped me: Not only did I find a physical activity that I loved doing, but I also felt so sexy and beautiful while doing it. And there was a great community that I belonged to that held me accountable to keep showing up. I've been Samba dancing now for 14 years and loving it."
—Theresa Stevens, 41
Theresa Stevens is now the owner and founder of ShakeYourBootyDance.com, where she offers dance classes, lessons on strength-training, and nutrition tips for people who want to get in shape, just like she did.
Note: All quotes in this story have been edited for space.