The media and many fitness professionals promote the erroneous idea that weight loss and fitness is hard and rigid and requires a will of iron. That simply is not true. Weight loss is simple; burn more calories than you consume. Fitness can be easy if you choose the right activities for you. You will quite willingly do what feels good. We are natural hedonists. What is very hard is forcing yourself into a one size fits all fitness and nutrition regimen expecting to get permanent, instant success.
Here’s what I suggest.
Step 1- Find your passion.
What are your values/priorities? You will NEVER be a size 8 if deep down you know you are completely content and healthy at a size 12. When you have to choose between sleeping late or going to the gym, the size-8 goal will NOT get you up and out the door into the January chill. On the other hand, if you are at the gym doing resistance training to prevent osteoporosis, because you value being healthy and strong into your later years; you will get up and make it happen.
*Take a moment and decide what you value. Why are you getting healthier? Why are you losing weight? How will you improving your fitness impact you and those you love?*
Step 2 – Power up with knowledge.
Get clear on your fitness goal and what it takes to get there. You know why, now you have to get specific about the what and the how. If your goal is to lower your bad cholesterol, do you know exactly how many points you need to lower it? Do you know what foods you should eat to help achieve that goal? Do you know what specific exercises are good for raising good cholesterol? Become an expert on how to do what it is you want to do. This doesn’t mean you have to become a nutritionist, it means get the information from a nutritionist on how to lower cholesterol, improve thyroid function or deal with gout. Compile a variety of strategies so you have options and don’t feel lost if one choice doesn’t work out or feel right.
*Get clear about the specific steps that will lead you to your goal. Create and action plan to implement a specific course of action. Understand the timeframe for results and plan accordingly. Set milestones with an allowance for less than perfect performance.*
Step 3 – Flow
Change is challenging, more for some of us than others. Some of us have trouble with being consistent and embrace change every couple of days. 😉 Here is where you find a balance. You are a unique individual creating plan to make a change in your physical body, based on general principals. That plan may work perfectly and you may flow right along to your goal effortlessly. Probability is that you will have to make some adjustments to accommodate your individuality. For example, your new fitness routine is going well, you are eating the proper diet and following the program. But you start to notice after 3 weeks that you are not feeling better and more energized, you are increasingly tired and run down. Rather than ignore these feelings, adjust one or two aspects of your program. Maybe increase your calories and sleep, or decrease the intensity of your workouts. Respect the messages your body is sending you and monitor the response to the adjustments. Don’t be afraid to change your program if it is not working for you and your body. Or maybe, you just HATE the workout you started or the menu you created. Then STOP! Find something you like to do. You are creating the foundation for your new life. Why would you build it based on something you hate? There are so many ways to be active and healthy in this world, there is no reason for you to do anything you don’t enjoy doing!
*Keep a journal of how you are feeling mentally, emotionally and physically as you progress. Record EVERYTHING you eat. There are tons of ways to record your food intake from pen and paper to phone apps. It will not only help you to stay on track, it will one day be documentation of the empowering journey you took.*
Step 4 – Trust and Release
You did your research. You made informed choices about the steps to reach your fitness goal. You committed to a course of action and are consciously, steadily moving forward with your plan. Now it’s time to trust in the plan and release the impulse to push harder and go faster. Everyone’s body responds differently, so you can’t judge your results based on the picture in the magazine. If you trust the process, listen and respond to the messages your body sends and are consistent, your results will come. Consistency is the key to success in any endeavor.
*Review the milestones from Step 2. Review your performance. Were you consistently doing the steps you identified would lead to success? If not, start!*
You do not have to strain, struggle or starve to get healthier. You will push yourself outside your comfort zone. You will strive to do more and be better than you were. You will make informed nutritional choices that allow you to feel good and be healthy inside and out. But fueled by your passion these changes will be akin to rowing downstream as opposed to climbing Mt Everest. Rowing downstream, you work to stay on course, but your movement is effortless. Effortless health and wellness sounds like a good plan to me.
- Cholesterol Diet for Hypercholestremia (justslimming.com)
- The Problem With The Special K Challenge [Weighty Issues] (jezebel.com)
- Seven Significant Reasons for Weight Loss Failure (womenandweight.com)