I think I know the answer! As evidenced by my successful 50 pound weight loss and the fact that I still love all things fitness :)
Let’s see. You are a couch potato and hate to exercise. Or more likely, somebody who has given up on your appearances and have no idea where to start. You are tired of being sick and tired and hate shopping for clothes, especially, yeah, the bathing suit dilemma. If that was it, it is half-trouble as we say in Russia. Imagine health issues on top of your shopping frustration – diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and those little chest pains you’ve been having for awhile, what are they? A donut induced indigestion? Or a heart attack waiting to happen? Scary stuff.
My story is pretty typical. Gained weight with pregnancy and delivery, gained some more after coming to America, lost 70 pounds on a concentration camp regimen, gained some during medical residency as post-call calories didn’t count, then lost 50 pounds after making myself a different person and successfully maintaining without even thinking about it. And I am a doctor for God’s sake, I should have known better than gaining and losing, gaining and losing again, right? Wrong! There is a difference between knowing and applying, a huge one.
So, here is a simple approach you can take to get out of vicious circle.
1. Become inspired. Fire your overweight friends for awhile, unless they want to join you! Marina, this one was for you :)! They won’t help or inspire you and actually might hurt you. It is your 230 lb friend who keeps talking about internal beauty, luscious curves, and crazy things in between. It is she who is not taking care of herself and wants everyone else be in the same BMI area so she feels better about her morbid obesity. No more. Be with healthy and fit, hang out with them, follow them on Facebook, go where they go, do what they do, it will rub off on you, I promise. In my case I kept reading annoying Facebook statuses about running, and gym, and Weight Watchers, and weight loss and one of these days my legs brought me to the gym and my hands downloaded a Couch to 5K app. And my mind finally bought into the idea of finally changing the way I do things around here. And after that a nuclear reaction of events happened, most of which I don’t even know how to explain.
2. Read fitness magazines and healthy living blogs. My window into the world of healthy living was stumbling upon Carrots and Cake and Healthy Tipping Point blogs. These girls are amazing. Young, educated and passionate about their health and well being they share every day of their life in their respective blogs and I couldn’t get enough of it and still can’t. I read what they ate and went ” impossible, how do they have all these meals and remain in shape?” Desserts, vino, cocktails, peanut butter, pasta, cheese – is it all bogus, or is it all real? And then I started buying Oxygen and noticed similarities in their approach to life. And here is the magic formula – eat real food, not too much, not too little, exercise to spend more calories than you put in, indulge 10% of the time and you will be fine! Make a goal to read a few healthy blogs and monthly fitness magazine, it will keep your motivation levels at all time high.
3. Show up. Do you show up for your appointments, work, other commitments without even thinking about it? Do the same with your exercise sessions. Plan on Sunday, put your gym time, or running, or home workouts on the calendar and JUST SHOW UP. If you start thinking about it, eventually you will come up with a tempting thought of skipping. Tired, hungry, no energy, haven’t seen husband and kids since morning and you miss them, your 230 lb friend broke the line of defense and taking you to Applebees, whatever you do, don’t start rationalizing. Just Do it! Or simply show up. Put your workout clothes on, get out of the door, turn on DVD, give yourself 10 min and then stop if you hate it. I guarantee that once started, you will continue on and finish 97% of the time. And if you don’t feel like doing anything after 10 min, that’s a sign that your body needs some rest and you obey!
4. Do what you like. If you hate running and regret every second of it after you have given it a good honest try, quit it and do something else. You can’t hate the activity and successfully engage in it. Try elliptical, or Stairmaster, or bike trainer, or just walk! One of my coworkers walked herself to being 70 pounds lighter and she is a perfect example of busy – 4 kids, full time job, no time for anything. She made or created the time for herself, dirty dishes be damned! If you like to be fit and eat a lot – lift weights :)!
5. Tell everyone so they keep you accountable. Facebook, text messages, Twitter, family reunions, tell your spouse and kids about what you are going to do at the gym tomorrow morning or tonight after work. Give them an immediate feedback after you are done for encouraging comments and positive energy. Share, over share, make them hate you for being a fitness freak, don’t shut up about your success, how you ran further, lifted heavier, did more RPM or swam longer.
6. Eat real food. Don’t eat anything out of the box, unless it is oatmeal or grains. Eat a pound of raw veggies and a pound of cooked veggies and then eat anything you little heart desires, if you poor stomach can take more food. Get your bases covered – good breakfast, healthy lunch, nutritious snack and hearty dinner. To me dinner sets my mood for tomorrow – if I did great at dinner the previous day, the next day is a piece of cake, literally. If dinner is a fiasco, then my motivation level suffers in the morning, big time. Cook, research new recipes, bake your own desserts, don’t eat out except one meal a week if you absolutely must do it.
7. Don’t weigh yourself more often than every 2-4 weeks. Stop being a slave of the scale. Little things like fluid fluctuation before or during your period, eating something salty the night before, or the scale being placed on uneven surface steered so many people off their healthy paths because they felt like failure and “fat pigs”. Drop the every day scale habit immediately and you will feel liberated to say the least. You are able to tell how things are by the way your clothes fit, right?
There are many other tricks I am sure, but these 7 helped me tremendously and I hope they will be useful for you as well.
What do you do to keep in shape?
My 2 readers, do share :)