At the end of every year we usually reflect and try to reevaluate our past goals, especially the ones that were not met. One of the goals that is often hard to keep up with is our health and fitness goal.
Once the calendar strikes “New Year”, you hit the ground running. Literally or figuratively. You’re motivated. Excited even. “New year, New me”. However, as time goes by, you start to slow your pace gradually till you eventually stop. Before you know it, its summer time with no summer body to show for it (insert gasp smiley). I’m sure a lot of us can relate to this New Year routine. So, how about we try another way that is more likely to work in the long run.
Below are 10 tips that will help move you in the direction of your fitness dreams.
1. Start before January
Do you know you don’t have to wait till the beginning of the year to start your health and fitness journey? You can start right after reading this post, you can start anytime you want. This helps eliminate the feeling of being a new year cliché. You know, those people who are in the gym for all of 2 weeks in January and its see you same time next year. When you start before the new year, it feels more like a lifestyle change than a new years resolution, and chances are you’d be sticking to your routine for a longer period of time.
2. Ditch the scales
Like right now! I will wait… Just get up and dump it in the dustbin or wrap it up and gift it to a friend you don’t like. Scales don’t always tell you the whole story and stepping on it over and over again wouldn’t do your emotions any good or change the number it keeps bringing up. Instead, focus on your non-scale victories. Like how a pair of pants you bought before that could barely go past your thighs now fits perfectly and looks good on you too. If you must weigh yourself, try to limit it to once or twice a month.
3. Focus on getting healthy as opposed to losing weight
I know this might feel hard to do especially when you are looking to see an almost immediate result when you have that salad, but by focusing on your health instead of the number on the scale you get to see the bigger picture. Also, it helps you focus.
4. Set realistic goals
Don’t start out thinking you will lose 20 pounds in 20 hours it doesn’t work that way, bro. A realistic and safe amount of weight to lose is 1-2 pounds weekly. Depending on your current weight, of course. This seems like a little amount, but it all adds up in time. Chances are, if you lose 5 or 10 pounds in a week, you’re actually really losing water weight as opposed to fat. This means that once you go back to your regular scheduled program of eating more calories, you’re going to add all the weight right back. Even more! When you lose fat, you lose it forever, as long as you stick to your routine.
5. Reward yourself
Set incentives for yourself. Incentives do not have to be food related. They can be along the lines of.. a day at the spa, a nice pair of shoes or a dress or phone you have been meaning to get yourself. Treat yo’self guurl!
6. Have a cheat meal instead of a cheat day
I always advise to have a cheat meal instead of a cheat day once or twice a week. This is because when you dedicate a day to eating all the foods that your body has been craving, you are more likely to go overboard and undo all the hard work you put in the previous week. Trust me, the longer you get into your routine, the less you crave foods that aren’t so great for your body.
7. Use this trick when eating out
Now the fact that you have chosen to go the healthy route doesn’t mean that you should cancel out all your outings with your girlfriends. Instead try doing this… Eat half of whatever is on your plate and if you must, you can request for the other half to be packed up for you to eat as a meal of its own at a later time/day. Portion control is a major key to meeting your fitness goals.
8. Ease into the process (don’t go cold turkey)
If you’re someone who has lived a sedentary life for a long time, chances are you wouldn’t be willing, or able really, to run 5 miles the first day you start to workout. Give you body time to adjust to this new routine. Maybe start by walking 3 miles 3 times a week. As the weeks go by, you can increase your pace little by little until your body gets used to the routine. Then you can increase the number of days you practice this routine. Say from three days to five days and so on. Always listen to your body.
9. Have a visual picture of what you want to look like
I read an article of a lady who used to be healthy and fit. Then she started having kids and her fitness went downhill from there. After having her 4th child, she looked at herself in the mirror very disappointed at how much she had let herself go. She decided she’d be her own motivation. She printed out so many pictures of herself at her fittest and posted them in strategic points of her house. Especially places where she could give in to temptation, like the fridge, the pantry, the kitchen cabinets, etc. Those physical visual images of the goal she wanted to achieve kept her accountable throughout her fitness journey, until the person in the pictures matched the person looking at them. Your visual picture might be yourself or someone who inspires you fitness wise. Note that everyone is different and not all bodies at the same, so a better way to approach this is to say, “I want to be as fit as x” as opposed to “I want to look like x”.
10. Don’t wait till Monday
If you ever overindulge, fall of the fitness wagon or miss a few days at the gym, don’t wait till Monday to start again. Just pick yourself back up immediately and keep going. We all make mistakes. What separates winners from losers is the ability to get up, shake the dust off and keep going. Just. Keep. Going.
See.. It isn’t rocket science after all.
Happy New Year guys!