Let’s be honest. January in the midwest is not the most amazing time. It’s dark. Cold. We all have holiday hangovers from too much everything. But here’s the thing — it’s actually a really, really good time to make changes.
Right now is a great time to take a step back. Grab a big ol’ cup of tea or coffee and write down some goals. Make a plan. Chat with your significant other. Get it together now before everything gets crazy again. Wouldn’t it be amazing if come April you were a better version of yourself? Lighter? More energetic, positive, and happy? If you start right now and get serious about weight loss, you could easily be 20 pounds lighter by summer; and girl, 20 pounds is a whole new you.
So if you want to change — if you know you NEED to change — then this is for you. I have worked with hundreds of women and helped all of them lose weight, from 145 pounds over two years to those last five pounds of seemingly stuck-forever baby weight. It can be done. You can do it. You can be successful, but you need to get serious and you need to stop making excuses/getting in your own way/self sabotaging and being stuck in a “can’t” mentality. This article is designed to help you do that.
Set goals for yourself each week. You may also consider making a mid-range (1-3 months) and long-range (6-12 months) goal as well. Goals should be specific and have a clear win/lose clause to them. For example, “eating more veggies” has no way to know if you’re winning or losing your attempts at that goal, whereas “eat six different vegetables each day this week” has a clear win/lose component.
My suggestion for goals are to make a physical goal (e.g. walk seven miles this week), a nutrition goal (e.g. I will eat breakfast and incorporate two fruits into my daily snacks), and an overall wellness goal which could tackle stress, prioritizing yourself, sleeping, etc.
Share your goals with people and ask them to support you to help further encourage success. Take it one step farther and ask someone to be your “accountability buddy” who will check in with you (set a specific day/time). When asking those close to you (significant others, family members) for support, list specific and clear things they can do to help — for example, “please do not leave chips or cookies on the counter (or better yet, please do not buy them at all!!!).”
Move Every Day
There is no wrong or right way to move — you just have to do it. You can take a yoga class, bike with the kids, take a walk with the family, jog, do a strength training video, try Pilates, take a fitness class. It doesn’t matter so much WHAT you do, as that you DO. For more information on how strength training can give you the most bang for your buck, check out this article on breaking up with the elliptical.
Choose Healthy Activities
Research shows that people who engage in health-minded activities throughout the day weigh less and achieve their goals more often than those who do not. So pick a blog, subscribe to healthy newsletters, get a few health magazines on your iPad (or delivered to your door). Set reminders and learn something new every day which will ultimately help you reach your goal of being healthy. I’d love to have you check in with my business page, ClubFit. Go after weight loss like it is the MOST important thing in your life, because after all, you ARE the most important person in your life!
Make Healthy Easy
Do whatever is necessary to make healthy choices the easiest. Keep a fruit bowl on the counter, put cut-up veggies in a bowl at the front of the fridge. Hide the unhealthy stuff, or better yet, just get rid of it.
My husband knows that when we get home from Costco, I need around 30 minutes of uninterrupted time to wash, cut, and bag all of our produce so it is ready for the coming week. If you don’t do it now, when are you going to do it? Bagging your snacks ahead of time allows for easy grab and go (and healthy snacks for little eaters, too.) Even better? Get your kids on board as soon as possible — have them bag up two healthy snacks for each day in the week, and get them involved in picking out new fruits and veggies to try while they’re at it.
Accept Some Universal Truths
- If it’s in your house, you will eat it.
- Yes, it DOES have that many calories.
- No, you will not suddenly start jogging and work it off.
- Yes, each bite does matter.
- Yes, there is a BIG difference between three bites and eating the whole thing.
- No, carbs are NOT good for you (wheat, especially).
- No, it doesn’t matter if you don’t love or feel like eating salad/broccoli/kale/legumes/whatever; you should be eating it and there is a way to make it work for you if you are creative enough.
- Maybe lots of meat isn’t the best choice.
- Yes, that muffin/donut/brownie/etc. will not look cute on your butt/abs/upper arm.
Post your personal mantras around your house and office, and face the music. There are no magically thin people in the world. All healthy/fit people do lots of healthy/fit things throughout the day — they are called habits. Make some of your own!
Understand What It Takes
One pound is 3,500 calories. You have to run/walk 35 miles to burn off a single pound of fat, and it is hard work. Eating 500 calories less per day will also get that pound burned off by the end of the week. Five hundred calories is a lot. For most people it requires swapping a lot of things for veggies and fruit and really limiting carbs.
You should not be full. Ever. Being full is actually a sign of over eating. Gross.
Losing weight requires focus and continuous monitoring, so get over the idea that it will be “easy, quick, or painless.”
Understanding what it takes also includes knowing what you NEED to be successful. You may need help. If you’ve tried “eating healthy” or “working out at home” or if you want to but don’t know where to start. If the idea of changing makes you anxious or if the last time you tried working out you ended up injured or quit after two weeks, then girl, go get yourself a professional. Let’s put it this way — would you try to fix your car yourself? No? How about fill a cavity? No? We trust and rely on experts to keep the most important things in our lives running, and YOU are no different.
Yes, trainers and nutritionists can be pricey, but a good one will teach you a lifetime of knowledge in a few months. And most importantly, they will save you the most important thing every woman has: TIME!
One custom-designed workout by an experienced trainer can actually CHANGE YOUR body. It can address your strengths and weaknesses, cure aches and pains, prevent injuries in the future, and help you build the best body you can have. No generic workout you find online will ever do that.
Make Your Choices Count
You are the only person who makes you fat or who makes you healthy. It’s worth repeating. YOU are the only person who determines your weight loss and level of health. It is not the fault of your husband, mother, best friend, boss, baby, or whoever. It is you. You make choices, you are the dictator of your body. So EVERY choice you make takes you one step closer to your goals or one step farther away — or depending on the choice, maybe four steps closer or farther away (I think of Chutes and Ladders).
There will always be more food in the world, and you can always make a different choice tomorrow, so don’t freak out about it. Choose something healthy right now, and don’t worry about anything else. Just right now. Just focus on getting to your goal RIGHT NOW, and leave the Jedi mind tricks to some one else.
Believe You Can
Do you believe you can lose the weight you need to lose? Eat healthier? Improve your health? Have more energy and a more positive outlook on life? Gain confidence? Fit into a smaller pair of jeans? Have fewer aches and pains? No? Why not? The answers to “why not” are SO, SO important. They will help you understand your personal roadblocks. Once you understand your own “mental noise” and the messages it is telling you, you can make a plan to combat them.
BELIEVE you can be successful. KNOW that you deserve all the good things and happiness in life. SURROUND yourself with people who also know and believe those things. Tell yourself every day all day: “I am worth it. I deserve to be healthy and happy. I am the only person who can make that happen, and I know I will be successful.”
And if all else fails — fake it ‘til you make it.