It happens to all of us. We try on that pair of jeans that we found in the back of the closet or the bathing suit from last season. The slight panic starts about how much weight we gained or how much muscle definition we lost. Our emotional state drives us to start dieting immediately or pledge to hit the gym for hours a day.
We often make rash decisions like these when we are upset about our bodies, but do we stick to these decisions? No most people won’t, myself included. The reason: there is no plan to hold ourselves accountable.
Before throwing yourself into another diet, take a look at these tips and rethink the way you look at fitness and weight loss.
1. Make a “why” list
Before you do ANYTHING, write down all the reasons why you want to slim down or get more fit. Think of this as a bucket list for your future, slimmed-down self. What would you do if you were to whittle away those extra pounds? Go to your next college reunion? Go bike riding with the kids? Whatever your reasons might be, this list will help you skip those after dinner cookies.
2. Do a body scan
This may be hard to believe when you’re staring in shock at the scale in the doctor’s office or your bathroom, but those three digits staring back at you aren’t everything. In fact, the reason we often give up on our fitness goal is our focus on the pounds. This is so important to remember. Take some measurements before you begin your new exercise routine. The number on the scale may not go down as much as you’d like, but you can refer to these measurements to see your progress.
- The circumference of your chest, waist, hips, and thighs.
- Your clothing size (stretchy pants don’t count).
- The time it takes to run/walk a mile.
- The number of push-ups and sit-ups you can complete in one minute.
3. Find four teammates
One person to be your partner in crime: say, a workout buddy who will text you to make sure you are going to class or will meet you there every day. Ideally, this is someone who’s trying to lose weight too.
One person to cheer you on: someone you can call to celebrate your every milestone.
One person to act as a role model: a friend who has, for as long as you’ve known her, seemed to have a health halo over her, knowing exactly which entrée is the smart choice or which cereal to buy. Observe and copy her!
One person to be your mentor: a pal who’s lost weight in the past and has kept it off–and will let you check in with her regularly to share your progress, help you stay accountable, and get through moments of weakness. (She knows, because she’s been there.)
If you don’t have one or more of these people in your life currently, you can find them at S.W.E.A.T. =) I know I have made many friends that push me to get to class all the time.
4. Throw away all your excuses
On a piece of paper or on your computer, write down all the excuses you have used in the past. You know what they are… “I can’t cook a healthy meal tonight because I have to drive the kids to practice.” or “I can’t go for a run today because it’s raining.” After you have written down all the things that have stopped you in the past. Write down a way to change them. For example, “I’ll prepare that healthy meal tonight so tomorrow all I have to do is heat it.” AND “It may be raining today, but I can run on the treadmill.” If you get stuck, reach out to your teammates.
5. Train your mind
Jess says it all the time, your body won’t do what your mind won’t let it. Every time you catch yourself uttering a negative phrase about your fitness goals, stop yourself and change it to a positive. Fitness is mostly mental. Your mind has to jive with your body for you to reach your goals.
6. Have a “pantry party”
For most people, including myself, this one is the hardest. To stick to a fitness goal, we need to get rid of temptation. Grab a few plastic bags and go through your food cabinets. It’s important to remember, that it is ok to treat yourself sometimes. If you find something in your pantry that leads you to devour half the bag or go for second servings (i.e. chips, cheese puffs, candy, ice cream), give it away. If family members still want goodies, stash them in a separate drawer and remind yourself that, just like the clothes in their dressers, they’re not yours.
7. Check your workout clothes
Is that old pair of sneakers and stretched out pair of yoga pants telling you to get off your butt and exercise? If not, head to the store and get excited about new exercise clothes. If you are excited about your clothes, you are more likely to use them.
8. Plan an exit strategy
Though it may seem premature, consider what you will do with your fitness plan once you reach your goal. Will you fall back into your old habits? Or will you continue to eat right and exercise enough to maintain everything you worked so hard for? Decide now so that you don’t have the temptation later.
So may not all of these tips will help you, but try a few and they just might!
And on a side note. CONGRATS to all the S.W.E.A.T. family that ran in the Scranton Half Marathon on Sunday. I know many of you surpassed your own goals and expectations. You all did awesome and make us so proud!