What is your “why”? Write down your goal(s).
If it’s weight loss, why? Are you at risk? Or already diagnosed with health issues? Then look at it that way, “I’ve gotta do it for my health!” Doing so will create an enhanced sense of urgency and will more likely have a higher rate of success. Naturally as the weight goes down, your clothes will fit loose, you’ll have more energy and your confidence will be boosted!
Seek advice and support.
Seek advice from a nutritionist about easing into a new eating lifestyle. Meet with a personal trainer that could help with keeping you active. Review your goals with them to make sure you’ve set realistic goals for yourself. Vocalize your new goals to friends and family, ask them to support you. Find Facebook support groups to join in on. See if your neighborhood has a page where you can reach out to your neighbors and create an exercise support group. Follow inspirational athletes on Instagram! Just try not to compare yourself to them. I must say one thing about the social media #instafamous. Lots of photos are not genuine. They have filters, they are photo-shopped, posing and angles enhance figures and curves. YOU are YOU and you should practice embracing that if you don’t already!
Quit making excuses.
Cancel thoughts of wanting to eat bad food. Cancel thoughts of feeling too tired to get up and exercise. Cancel thoughts of feeling unmotivated because you didn’t lose any weight this week.
Instead, visualize how you would feel AFTER your workout. You know the feeling, sweaty, a bit out of breath and feeling the surge of endorphins running through your body. Ever read the meme: “Wow, I really regret that workout.” -Said No One Ever
Visualize how it would feel to CONQUER a nasty craving for fast food. Watch that smile cross your face as you wrap up your day, sticking to your foods as planned.
Place notes for yourself around the house, reminding you of your goals and past accomplishments. I’ve got a client who places a post-it on her fridge every week reminding her of how much weight she’s lost to-date.
Ideas for tracking progress:
*Take body measurements using a tape measure. Measure bicep, chest, waist, hips/glutes and upper thigh every 4 weeks.
*Snap selfies every few weeks. Take a front and profile picture.
*Check body weight. Be aware of how your clothes are fitting and how you are just “feeling” these days. We can feel when we’re down in weight just as we can feel when we’re up in weight.
A note about body weight, choose a weight range to fall within. About a 5 pound range is good. This is because the food we eat, amount of water we drink and hormone levels vary day to day. You’re not going to gain 1 to 2 pounds of fat from one day to the next. If body weight is important to you, then consider a weekly weight check. Make sure it’s the same day of the week, first thing in the morning after restroom use and before drinking or eating anything.
For some of my clients, we’ll do a weight check every Monday and Friday. Friday’s check in is to see what happens when we’re 100% on point with nutrition and exercise during the week. Monday will show what happens when we indulge (or don’t!) over the weekend.
Keep a journal specific for this journey. In it, you can write down meal plans, workouts, ideas, successes, frustrations, etc. An idea for its use is to write down experiences of a craving for something you’re trying to cut out. Write down what happened. Was there an incident that triggered it? Write down your thoughts. Did you give in or were you able to walk away? What did the post-incident feel like? Writing something like this down instead typing binds a physical connection to the brain that makes getting through a process like this much more impactful.
*Create a reward system.
This can be looking forward to your upcoming cheat meal as long as you’re on point with your nutrition & exercise plan. Let me tell you, the feeling of being strict with yourself the whole way through makes that cheat meal way more tasteful!
Buy yourself something nice by putting money into a “workout jar” every time you workout. Then after one month, spend it! Or deposit it into your savings!
Sometimes something along your path will shift. I’m talking about losing motivation. Maybe you fell ill. Maybe something with work came up that knocked you out of routine. Maybe something personal happened. Whatever the situation, it will be OK!
Some of us may simply need someone to give us a slap in face and tell us to “suck it up buttercup!” Not really, but maybe!
For others, meditation and visualization may help jump start our motivation engine. Visualization is quite powerful. Putting images of yourself back in the gym or cooking home-cooked meals again or jogging to clear your mind can stimulate the physical self to get going. Do this as often as needed throughout the day, as you lay in bed before sleep is best.
Consider changing up your exercise routine, try something different! Sign up for a 5k or an obstacle course race, that way there’s an end point, a goal if you will. My activity has shifted from trail running to weight training to Muay Thai to Yoga to Obstacle Racing and Powerlifting. I encourage you to be curious, see what your body can do!
“But it’s Memorial Day Weekend!” I hear statements like this all the time. Excuses. Excuses for one to feel better about giving in to indulgences. Holidays, birthdays, weddings, vacations, baby showers and anniversaries can add up! Especially if you have a large family or social group. I’m not saying don’t, just be mindful of how much and what you are putting into your body. Check in with your body following the event. Are you bloated, brain fogged up, did you break out or maybe feel like you have stiff joints? Your body might remind you of why you should reconsider your indulgences at your next event.
Eventually, this new lifestyle will balance with work and family. A happy medium will take place. Just be patient. Expect for this process to take months, maybe as long as a year! Play with the idea that this will have to be a lifestyle change. Not a quick fix or a short term diet. Visualize what your life might look like while in this lifestyle. Watch yourself learning how to prep new foods, having fun exercising, getting restful sleep, being less stress, playing with the kids more or jogging with the dog and…..just happy!