If you have set yourself a goal to lose weight, that’s the first step. It is often one of the hardest things to admit to yourself that you fell off the wagon, or let yourself go, or were dealing with everything else in your life but yourself and your own needs, but despite the reasons why you ended up in this position, it can still be extremely difficult to get going and to keep going once you’ve set your mind up to tackle your weight. There are however, several things you can do to help yourself stay on track and to help keep your eyes on your ultimate prize.
1. Schedule Your Workouts
Just like you would schedule in your work meetings, or reminders for exams, or your kids basketball games, schedule your workouts on a calendar you keep handy, or use your phone. Treat them exactly like they are; important times and dates that you cannot afford to miss. Get into the habit of attending these sessions and building them up to be part of your weekly routine.
2. Display Your Workout Clothes
Install a hook in your bedroom or place a chair somewhere where you can’t miss it, and hang or lay your workout clothes for the next day on it, and leave your sneakers and socks, and everything else you’ll need for a session, right there as well. This is a visual reminder that you’ve got some work to do and it eliminates the tendency for you to say or think things like, well, I don’t know where my shoes are, so I can’t get going. It also serves as a visual cue for you that until those clothes are removed from that hook or chair, you still need to get your workout in for the day.
3. Clean Out the Fridge and Pantry
As much as I work out and eat right, I know there are still to this day, foods and drinks that will trigger me and I will binge on them if they’re sitting around in my house. Having your triggers around, or any junk for that matter, is not setting yourself up to succeed but rather to fail. It’s always that one day where you’re stressed out, or you’re super tired, or just bored, that will have you reaching in and grabbing that bag of chips or cookies and just pigging out when you can eliminate the problem by just not having it with you in the first place. Extend this spring cleaning to your work area. Stock your desk with healthy treats for when you get cravings.
4. Schedule workouts with “your crazy gym rat” friends
You don’t even have to wonder if your friends who workout religiously will be up for a walk, run, gym session, laps at the pool, or racquetball. Don’t pick workout buddies who only sort of sometimes show up. You need someone to help keep you accountable and these types of friends are just that especially if they know you are motivated and have a set of goals in mind.
5. Make Your Fitness Goals Bigger Than Just Pounds on the Scale
So often, people get frustrated when they set a weight loss goal, find they haven’t met the quota for the week, and they feel like it’s the end of the world. And they tend to want to quit shortly after. The scale is just ONE tool to measure your progress but it is not the best, nor the most accurate full body assessment of all the work you are putting in. For this reason, you need to assign yourself goals that have absolutely nothing to do with what the scale says.
Set your goal to lower your blood pressure and resting heart rate by your next doctors visit, or set your goal to be able to run a mile, or lift a certain amount of weight, or get through a whole workout DVD without stopping and gasping for air. Keep track of these goals and when you accomplish them, celebrate those goals just as much as you do for pounds lost on the scale. Progress can be seen in so many different ways beyond the scale.
6. Compete with your Water Bottle
Water is your friend in the weight loss game, but it can be hard if you’re so used to drinking sodas and high calorie juices and other sugary drinks, so start a competition with yourself or others. Either purchase or simply take a sharpie and draw on a re-usable water bottle, lines that correspond to either the amount of water in the bottle, 20 oz, 15 oz, 10, oz, etc, or how much you think you can drink by a certain time, i.e. by 10am, 12pm, 2pm and mark these off. It’s a visual reminder to keep drinking your water throughout the day. It will help you feel more full, stave off hunger cravings which are often really your thirst, and get you to drink a whole container as opposed to just a few sips. It will take practice and dedication and a willingness on your part to really focus on drinking water, but by turning it into a sort of game with yourself, it can help you stay on track.
7. Create a Home Gym
Creating a small or a big space in your home or apartment for some exercise equipment/gym equipment makes it possible for you to workout when you really don’t have time to go elsewhere; when the weather sucks, when you’ve got the kids and can’t really leave, and makes it that much easier for you to not be able to find a reason to skip your workout. Before you can utter the words, “but I don’t have any money,” a home gym does not have to be treadmills and weight machines in order to get something that you can get a good workout in.
Hand weights, cables, yoga mats, jump ropes, cones, a diy agility ladder made from duct tape or chalk, fitness DVDs, fitness balls…all of these things can basically be found under 30$ or thrifted or made. You can get a real high intensity workout from literally just your blood, sweat, and tears, and a jump rope doing intervals, and jump ropes are cheap and readily available. Just having that space and knowing that you can get to it if you can’t go for that walk or head to the gym, makes it easier for you to succeed because all you need is within your own home/apartment.
8. Do not buy into the infomercials, fad diets, quick fixes
Every summer, or reunion time, or time there is an event, you should not have to keep saying, I’ve got to start this or that plan up again. It is hard work getting into and sustaining ‘yet another’ fad diet or gimmicky workout plan. Focus on a plan that does not end in six weeks or six months, but is something you can do over time, can continue to grow with, and that doesn’t have you forking out tons of money for results that last about a month before you give up and you’re back to your old ways.
These quick fix plans set you up for failure. They cannot be sustained by any normal human being with a job, or school, or a life because they have you drinking cabbage soup and working out for three times a day to see results. Instead focus on making small incremental changes to the way you workout and your diet, and don’t change everything all at once. You need to give your body and your mind time to adjust slowly to your new healthier lifestyle. You want to maintain your health and fitness throughout the year, not have to come back to it at some inopportune time on someone else’s schedule