While on vacation, I was working out on the treadmill and watching The Today Show. It was New Year’s Day and they were reviewing tweets from people regarding their resolutions from last year.
The one that stood out to me the most said, “I stuck to my resolution and lost 15 pounds…but gained 16.” While the comment was funny, the issue is one VERY FAMILIAR to most people who try to lose weight. Many people find initial success losing weight but have difficulty keeping it off.
I love the notion of someone wanting to lose weight and be healthier as a goal. I applaud their recognition that they have habits that need to change and that something must be done to attain optimum health!
I often wonder though if “weight loss” as a New Year’s resolution title is a bad idea because it’s too general and non-specific. Losing weight is something that requires many components that often need to be addressed first in order to achieve success.
If “weight loss” is your goal, it may actually be wise to list smaller categories of resolutions that will ultimately help you reach the weight loss goal. It may take some soul searching to find out what the areas are specific to you.
Ideas on Where to Start Your Weight Loss Journey:
1. Why do you over-eat or eat poorly? Boredom?
If this seems to be the case for you, it’s time to identify a hobby or something to keep you busy and out of the house and/or kitchen. Would you like to volunteer at your child’s school, the local library, a hospital? Maybe you have always wanted to try your hand at a craft–knitting, beading, painting? Look for a class you can enroll in a couple times a week. Another idea that could have a dual benefit would be to
sample all types of exercise classes to see which one suits you, or maybe find a healthy cooking class!!
2. Are you substituting food for something else?
Many people eat or overeat to compensate for an emotional void. Consider seeking a professional if this speaks to you and address it. If you ignore the emotional component of what drives you to eat poorly, you will always return to your bad habits no matter how many New Year’s you resolve to change your habits.
3. Why are you not making exercise and healthy eating a priority? Too busy?
If this is your “go-to” answer, time to make “Get Organized” your resolution. Looking at your daily routine as a whole instead of individual items done sequentially can make things overwhelming and lead to poor choices and decisions. Take 15 minutes a day to look at what’s required of you in the upcoming day and plan each item precisely will allow you to avoid self-sabotaging healthy intentions.
Simplify your days and clear away the obstacles to be more efficient. Sometimes we put the hardest stuff last on our to do list, that looming item you don’t want to tackle. Do it first. Get it over with and you will find yourself plowing through all the other items. Some people say make a “today list” instead of a “to do” list with 5 items max. More than that? Move it to tomorrow.
4. Excuses, excuses!
Are you an “excuse monger?” Do you justify your bad choices? Do you seem to always have a reason to “not” do something? For example: I have lunch plans, I have a wedding to go to Saturday, I have a vacation coming up, it’s my birthday, my kids are out of school, etc.
Time to remove these from your mind. They are all one-day events, if tackled individually and
properly planned, will not sabotage your weight loss success.
5. Cook or eat out?
Eliminate the notion that you can’t cook and that eating out is your only option. Anyone can create something healthy in their own home that is satisfying and simple if you put in a tiny bit of effort. In the end, the reward of making something yourself will boost your confidence and make you want to continue.
Shop well and fill your kitchen with only good nutritious options. No processed foods, sugary treats, or easy non-filling snack foods. Buy fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, lean meats. Now you are set up for success. You can google ANYTHING these days–find fast easy recipes you can make and use for a couple days worth of meals either at home or packed to go. If it’s not in your house, it’s not in your mouth!
6. Exercise does not have to be time consuming.
It all adds up! If you can do 10 minutes of SOMETHING several times throughout the day, it will make a difference. Taking the stairs, walking for 10 minutes after or before you break for lunch, push-ups and crunches before you shower in the morning, getting up from your desk and pace around while you talk on the phone. Find a class 2-3 times a week on the way home from work so you can’t avoid it. Always put workout shoes and clothes in your briefcase. The more you plan, the more likely you will find the time.
7. Feeling deprived?
Make a list of things you love to do. Make sure you do these monthly. Ignoring your joys will make you resentful and will create a roadblock to achieving your success.
My advice to all my clients is to not deny themselves of the things they enjoy (food particularly) altogether. Live your life, but find the balance. Monday through Friday may be stellar days of discipline and then take Saturday to indulge (not over-indulge) so you eliminate the anger you may experience from cutting things out from your previous lifestyle.
The decision to adapt a healthier lifestyle and ultimately get the number in the scale to move downward should be qualified differently. Maybe it would be more often attained and maintained if the “resolution” we’re smaller with shorter goal dates?
For those who want to lose 15 pounds this year, why not declare and outline a monthly realistic goal list that you can check off as you go? Those little successes will feel so good they will propel you in the direction of working hard to check off another. It will be the domino effect you are looking for.
Reward yourself for your accomplishments along the way—a new outfit? A massage? A night at the movies? Choose things you don’t normally do and make them special. Treat yourself well because the positive energy that comes from feeling good about yourself is contagious. It will only lead you in the direction you want.