October 26, 2012 by mybattlebuddyfitness
Getting Started is the Hardest Part
Who said losing weight and being healthy is easy? That’s a damn lie. I know, I know. I should sugar-coat it for you and tell you that if you follow my advice, you’ll be thin, healthy, and vibrant in no time. After all, isn’t that what all those infomercials promise? The thing is, that I’m not in the business of lying. While it IS true that you will be thin and healthy if you follow my advice, I’m not naïve. I know you are going to take half of my tips (probably the ones that you like the most), and throw the other half out the window. That’s okay with me though. My goal is to show you that despite ALL of your best excuses, you CAN lose weight and start living your life to the absolute fullest. It will be hard—especially at first. But I promise you this: it is SO worth it. You just have to remember that getting started really is the hardest part (and then you have to remind yourself of this day after day).
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen that look that some people give me—the one that says, “I know you’ve gotta have some magic secret that you’re not sharing with me.” Well, I’m here to tell you, I DO have some secrets. But I am more than happy to share them with all of you. Some of these tips are larger and more conceptual, while others are super practical things that you can start doing right away.
Mrs. Meany’s Top 5 Tips for Getting Started on Your Lifestyle Change:
(1) Set goals for yourself and write them down– you should try to set one large, long-term goal for yourself and a couple of shorter-term, mini-goals that will help you achieve the larger goal. These goals don’t necessarily need to be related to weight. For example, perhaps you have always wanted to run a marathon. Sure, it seems out of reach right now, but after setting a goal to run a 5K and then a 10K and then a half-marathon, it won’t seem so absurd anymore.
I highly encourage you to set event-oriented goals like this, in addition to weight-based ones. Sometimes the scale can be frustrating and detrimental to your journey. If you focus too much on what the number reads, you might miss all the little victories that are worth celebrating. By training for an event, you will undoubtedly get fitter and healthier, but more importantly, you will be filled with a sense of accomplishment that is both incredibly satisfying and motivating. Registering for an event means that there is a date set in stone—a date by which you guarantee to accomplish your goal. On those days when you feel like skipping a workout, it’s highly motivating. I warn you though, these events can be addicting!
It’s important that you write these goals down somewhere. By writing them down, you make them real; they are no longer just floating in infinity. You get extra bonus points if you tell your friends and family about your goals. Having people ask you about them will help ensure that you stay on track.
(2) Put on your workout clothes first thing in the morning, and don’t take them off until they are sweaty! This tip is especially helpful for those of you that say you don’t have enough time; or for the stay-at-home moms who get caught up in the events of the day and suddenly realize that it’s 7pm and they haven’t worked out. I don’t know about the rest of you, but a sports bra and spandex was the LAST thing I wanted to be wearing when I was overweight. It’s so much easier to conveniently forget about that workout when you are comfy and warm in your cotton sweatpants…It’s also a lot easier to overeat in those sweatpants (curses! elastic waistbands!) By putting on my workout clothes immediately upon getting out of bed, I ensured that I got a workout in early on in the day—before time got away with me.
(3) Keep your expectations realistic- in a world where we demand everything right NOW, it’s easy to give up on losing weight way too early. As I mentioned previously, we are conditioned to think that there is an easy-fix and that you should be losing 10 or more pounds each week like they do on the Biggest Loser. Having trained the Season 12 at-home winner of the Biggest Loser, I know exactly what it takes to lose weight like that—if that’s the program you are looking for, then dismiss everything I have said about moderation and sustainability and prepare to immerse yourself in a world that revolves around diet (yes, I said diet) and exercise for the next six months.
If this is not the program you are looking for, then remind yourself to keep your expectations realistic. Healthy, sustainable weight loss is somewhere between 1 and 3 pounds per week. The exception to this is if you have more than 20 pounds to lose, in which case you could easily see weight loss numbers of 7 pounds or more during the first couple of weeks. Believe me, I know how very frustrating it is to realize that after a week’s worth of hard work, you haven’t lost a pound. You will have weeks like this, I guarantee it. The important thing to remember is that next week will be better. Trust that you are doing the right thing and stick with it.
(4) Stop buying crummy, processed foods. If you don’t fill your cupboards with processed foods, you won’t eat processed foods. By the way, if you think that you are doing your children favors by keeping those things around, you aren’t. Processed foods are just as bad for the little ones as they are for you.
Here is a golden rule: if it comes from a package, a wrapper, or a can (with some exceptions), DON’T EAT IT. It’s that simple. I know that some of you think you are doing yourselves a favor by buying those little cereal bars (or oatmeal, or crackers, or diet beverages, the list goes on) that claim to provide protein and fiber, but you are doing your body a great disservice by eating those things. I could go on about this for pages (and I will someday, don’t you worry), but I will keep it simple for today. All those little fat-free, “diet” foods are empty calories. They are full of chemicals and artificial sweeteners, they won’t satisfy your hunger, and worst of all, they will only cause you to crave more sweet treats.
(5) Seek out a support network. The importance of having a support network cannot be understated. If you are truly trying to make changes that will last for a lifetime, your friends and family need to realize that this isn’t a phase. I cannot tell you how many times I have endured eye rolls and looks at family functions—all because I chose to skip the hotdogs and fill my plate with fruit and veggies instead. I have been called “crazy” and “extreme,” and it was disheartening. But you know what? At the end of the day, I was able to look at myself in the mirror and know that I held strong to my commitment to my health, and that felt so much better than the hotdog would have made me feel. Once those around you realize that you are serious about making changes, they will likely jump on board and support you (especially when they see how fantastic you start to feel and look). You will probably have to endure a little bit of nay-saying for a while, so it’s important that you have some people to share your frustrations with.
More tips to come soon…And as always, I am here to listen to your frustrations.