So you’ve decided you want to make a change in your life… great! Now you’re just not sure where to start. Let’s start by answering some questions. Grab a pen and paper and write them down, you always want to know where you started so you can see your progress. Then, I will give you some tips and tricks for each section and you can apply the ones that suit you best.
- What are your short term and long term goals? Make sure you’re being reasonable here otherwise you are just going to set yourself up for failure. You can determine the time span of your short and long term goals. Some people consider short term goals 5 years and long term 10, others consider short term goals 1 year and long term 5… just depends on where you’re at and what you’re trying to achieve.
Ex. Long term goal: I want to get down to my high school weight.
Short term goal: I want to lose 4-8 lbs/ per month.
Tip: The journey to a healthy lifestyle is something that will take time and patience, and should be slow and steady. Depending on how much weight you have to lose, a healthy weight loss (or gain) goal is about 1-2 pounds per week. If you have a significant amount of excess weight you may initially drop weight a little more quickly- this is ok.
- Evaluate your current habits. Maybe you thought you were already eating healthy and getting a fair amount of exercise in but you still can’t seem to drop the weight. I can’t tell you how common this issue is- I’ve even fallen victim to it. See what trips you up whether it’s exactly how to eat, when to eat, how much to eat, etc.
Tip: Create a food log of everything you eat for a few days- every tiny little thing. You may be consuming way more calories than you think. Portion control is a big thing these days. With everything supersized it’s easy to over- estimate what correct portion sizes are.
- SCHEDULE in your workouts. It seems like a no-brainer that you will just fit your workout in when you have time during the day, but let’s face it- life happens and things get put off. Scheduling your workout in should be as important and picking your kids up from school or you going to work to pay the bills.
Tip: Look at your schedule for the next day the night before. Write out what needs to get done, and set a specific time frame aside for you to get your exercise in. And make sure it’s something you enjoy so you can look forward to it- not dread it. Even if you have to split it up during the day, that’s fine. It’s better if you can get it all in at once, but if you can only get in 15 minutes in the morning, 15 minutes on your lunch break and then 15 minutes when the kids go to bed, that’s better than nothing. I know what you’re thinking: I’m not going to exercise on my lunch break, I’ll get all sweaty. You don’t need to break a sweat taking a 15 minute walk, but you’d be surprised on how much all that walking adds up.
- Join support groups. This can intimidate people, but it makes a world of a difference. I’ve found accountability holds people to their goals. When I check in with my fitness groups and I’m posting pictures or talking about my meals and my workouts, I know that I don’t want to be embarrassed, so I make sure I’m getting my workout in and eating healthy meals. On the contrary, when I have a “bad” day, there’s tons of support to get me back on track and not let one slip up derail my whole plan.
Tip: Search Facebook for groups pertaining to your goals. Those people are likely in the same boat as you are and not looking to judge. If you can’t find any that target what you’re looking for, create your own!
- Treat Yourself. When you achieve goals you’ve set out for yourself you need to celebrate. Yes, there is always room for improvement but you have shown dedication and commitment and you’ve hit a milestone! Plus is helps keep you motivated to keep going.
Tip: When you are listing your fitness goals, have something in mind that you are going to treat yourself to once you reach that goal. Having a motivating factor can give you that extra discipline to stay on track. Don’t go and eat a whole chocolate cake now, but splurge on the cute new yoga pants you’ve had your eye on or go get a massage- you’ve earned it!
These are just a few basic strategies that I’ve seen working with other fitness enthusiasts and from doing my own research. Hopefully you can find a system that works for you!