As we approach the new year, many people start to think about how to make next year even better. And many people believe that losing a few pounds will make it great. Now although setting a resolution to get more fit and start living a healthier lifestyle is very important, I don’t really think it should be limited to only new year’s. You should be striving to live healthier every day! Plus, how many people do you know who have made some sort of resolution to lose weight and have seen that fire putter out by February? We’ve all seen it, or hear about it. Gyms are packed for the first 3-5 weeks then it’s a ghost town.
Why do we think that is? Well, I think it’s because people start setting crazy, far fetched goals. Ones that are so out in left field from their usual habits and patterns. Don’t set yourself up for failure by picking a goal that you couldn’t possibly reach! Choose something that isn’t far from how you operate on a daily basis. If you drive to work, maybe plan to walk? Or get a ride there and walk home. If you have a fast food meal 4 times a week, cut it down to 2 to start. People are very results motivated, or extrinsically motivated. We want to SEE or FEEL a reward for the efforts we put forth. So, when choosing a goal choose something that will bring you some rewards quickly. Once you start feeling good about what you’re seeing, you’ll continue your pattern of behaviours of working for your goal!
Losing weight doesn’t have to be a complicated goal. It’s about making small changes as you go and seeing the change both physically and mentally.
How to Lose Weight in 8 Steps
Set A Goal- whether this is lose 10 pounds, gain 10 pounds, run a 2 or 5km race. Set something is possible! Something where you can mentally see the finish line; a number on a scale, pants fitting better, or a literal finish line of a 5k race. Now that you’ve chosen a goal, write it down! Make it real and make it clear! Be specific about what you want to do. That way you can easily visualize and begin to breakdown the steps that are needed to take.
Tell Someone- now that you’ve chosen your goal, go and Tell Someone! A family member, a close friend, a not so close friend, a co-worker, etc. Putting it out there will give you a sense of accountability. Not that the person you told will follow up with you everyday or hound you day and night but now you have an AccountabiliBuddy! Your goal is out there and there is no going back now! Not that your goal really matters a whole bunch to the person you told, but now you don’t want to disappoint (them or have to admit that you quit…).
Cut Portions- Like I mentioned earlier, you don’t need to make crazy drastic changes to your diet. If you ate everything brown or out of a box before, you don’t need to go straight to juicing everything while standing on your head with incents surrounding you. But, what you can do is start by adding in 1-2 green or colourful meals to your diet. One meal at a time you can start to incorporate good habits and eventually those habits will turn into a healthy lifestyle. Like I said, start small if you’re resistant to change. You’d be surprised at how many calories you can cut but scaling down your portions of the exact same foods you’ve been eating for the last year. With the extra calories you’re saving, eventually try adding in some nutrient dense foods- more colour, more nutrients!
Clear out Cupboards & the Fridge- you can avoid temptation by completely eliminating the garbage that sits on your pantry shelves for years and years. Donate the cheesy macaroni, the crackers and sugary cereals. If it’s within arms reach, you’ll probably be tempted to take a bite or two. This is a slippery slope, so I would avoid the temptation all together and completely eliminate the processed snack foods. Now a lot of moms, dads and other guardians will say “but the Kids like to eat those foods!” which I think is a terrible way to look at it! You’re poisoning your kids by feeding them high fructose corn syrup and artificially flavoured & coloured foods. If YOU know you shouldn’t be eating the food then you certainly know that it’s not good for a growing and developing mind and body to be consuming. Your kids only like those foods because YOU introduced them to them. And if they are fussy when it’s time to eat their vegetables, it’s because you’ve given them an unhealthy alternative time and time again. Get the whole family eating healthy again! You’re a role model for your kids and you need to teach them that eating healthy foods can be fun, tasty and help you grow big & strong! So ditch the garbage and fill your house with healthy fruits & vegetables for snacks and meals.
Be Prepared- that being said, having fresh vegetables and fruits easily accessible for you and your kids is going to be one of the best ways to stick to your weight loss goal. Having a container or baggies of grab-n-go vegetables and fruit (and assuming you’ve cleared out your cupboards) you’ll have no excuse to grab something that isn’t going to help you reach your goal. Carrots, celery, broccoli, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, strawberries, grapes, blueberries, melon etc are great for a quick snack for you and the family. Also batch cooking your protein makes it easy to pack lunches in the morning. Tossing some chicken onto some lettuce is super easy and you’ll be set with a filling and healthy meal. Just keep remembering the mantra: Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail. If you’re ready for the day to reach your goals, you’ll have no other choice but to succeed that day!
Exercise- Again, more isn’t necessarily better. Pick two or three days a week to schedule in a trip to the gym or do 30min of some training at home. It’s not about all of a sudden shocking your schedule into being packed with hours of cardio or classes. Sprinkle your week with exercise either at home or at the gym, then the rest of the time make an effort to be more active: parking further from the store so you have to walk, take the stairs, go for a walk over your lunch hour or before you settle in at home after work take the dog for a walk. It’s about small changes over a longer period of time so that you begin to build healthy habits, instead of dumping all of your time into a strict training & eating schedule making it virtually impossible to follow for longer than a week. Set yourself up for Success, not failure!
Keep Track of Everything- I write down everything! I mean everything. From my food intake (what, how much of it and when), to my training and cardio (exercises, reps, sets, weight, rating of effort, cardio intensity and duration) and I even starting making a note of my moods and how foods & training was making me feel throughout the day. Some exercises I hate (ie, pullups) and so sometimes I write F$#& next to the exercise so that next week I try do my best to get through it without being as negative about it. Or if I have some dried fruit and it really hurts my tummy (but it so yummy!) I can remember next week when I go to reach for that same dried fruit, how it hurt me and gave me wicked indigestion. It’s important to track what works and what doesn’t, so that each week you can make small adjustments to help you improve.
Affirmations- Be Positive! This is a marathon, not a sprint. So don’t be so hard on yourself when you don’t “see” outstanding results week one. Give it time and remind yourself that you’re Great and you’re on a personal improvement journey and that you’re going to come out on top! Visualization is a great tool for when chasing dreams & goals. Every night before bed think about what you want to look like, and be specific- how your shoulders will look, how your clothes fit (that LBD in the back of your closet, ladies), how you’ll feel or how much more energy you’re going to have to be able to play with your little ones. Tell yourself that you’re in control; everything from the time you wake up, to the food that you put in your mouth or the amount of time you put into making it to the gym. It’s all you! And you are one powerful and amazing creature! Cut yourself some slack and remember to take every day one step at a time. You’re doing Great!