GalleryMy article was written so you won't be one of the thousands of post New Year Resolutionists who say "I should've gone to the gym on my day off "BUT", I could've ordered a medium instead of the SUPER size "BUT", I would've kept my weight loss resolutions "BUT"… If you are still reading this article, then you can identify with this thought process and the snowball effect which leads to another resolution shelved til the next year.
The goal of my essay is to bring awareness to the fact that fulfilling your fitness goals is 110% achievable. Living a healthy lifestyle begins with behavior modifications and with time and discipline you can reap the side benefits e.g. weight loss, increased energy, better self esteem.
It is more common for people to give up on their fitness goals due to mental road blocks than physical limitations. Here are a few common pitfalls you may encounter and how to navigate through them.
*Goal setting: Creating unrealistic goals within a short period of time is a very common set up for failure. If you are looking for long term results then you are better off developing a flexible, practical & realistic fitness plan with weekly and monthly goals.
Losing 1-2lbs per week is REALISTIC. You will need a minimum caloric deficit of 3500 per week. This is about 500 calories per day which can be a result from daily exercise plus a caloric deficit e.g. cut out soda intake, take a brisk walk for 30-45minutes.
Wishing to lose 40lbs in 30 days is dangerous, unrealistic and a fantastic catalyst for YO-YO dieting. Save yourself some frustration and invest time in developing a 3 month to 6 month fitness program. For example, plan for 3-5 days of 30-45 minute workouts/cardio along with a target daily caloric intake/meal plans.
*Fear of failure: Past attempts of not achieving fitness goals should be viewed as an experience to learn from and not as an excuse to abandon your goals. If in the past you did lose weight but regained it back then welcome to the club! You are not alone; many individuals have gone through a similar experience.
Somewhere after you achieved your fitness goal you drifted away from the basics or the principles that brought you success.
Today is a new day and you have the reference point that it is achievable. It's now time to step out of the past of "could've" and "should've" and into the present with renewed spirits.
*"Butt" is what you sit on: Here is where most people will say "but I cannot do it again…" Nonsense, let's take the word "but" out of your vocabulary in context with your fitness goals and you will find a "purpose" rather than an "excuse" for not investing in your health.
*Unwilling to change lifestyle because: Your New Year's resolution should not be contingent on external circumstances such as a gym membership, new job or ex-boyfriend. Unexpected life circumstances (not to be confused with daily obligations) will affect your focus or approach but they should not be used as an excuse to reverse your decision. At this crossroad of life, you can change your fitness routine to fit into the current situation. Remember, you can temporarily focus more on nutrition than actual exercises or vice versa. The idea is to continue with your fitness plan on a daily basis because you are in it for the long run.
*Reverse peer pressure: Socializing with individuals who undermine your attempts to live a healthier lifestyle makes adhering to your plan more challenging. A perfect example is eating with friends who chastise you for eating more vegetables than fried Buffalo wings. Another example is family members who encourage you to eat more and are surprised and non-supportive about your new eating habits.
Usually, their remarks are not malintentioned; however it does not make it easy to listen to. The mental hangover can lead to binge eating or complete abandonment of your fitness goals.
Reaching out to a supportive friend can change your perspective for the better and allow you to move on.
Chances are your new lifestyle change may have a domino effect for your immediate friends and family.
Now, let us move on to the physical aspect of embarking on a fitness goal. Understandably, many are not clear on how to start a fitness program or are aware of the fact that it requires literal exertion or hard work to get results! This is the population late night infomercial and fast gimmick companies prey on.
On that note, I would like to share with you a common fitness acronym called F.I.T.T., I have added one more principle to this acronym that many of us have missed in the past and it's called "Structure" …
*Frequency: How often per week you will exercise e.g. 3-5/week.
*Intensity: Level of intensity. Should be moderate but consult with health professional.
*Timed: Duration of exercises e.g. 30-55minutes.
*Type: Type of exercises e.g. resistance training, kettle bells.
My last personal suggestion is….
*Structure: Pre-planning your daily caloric intake and/or workout. Utilizing pen and paper to outline the next day's expectations.
F.I.T.T.S is a basic checklist for a realistic, customized and results driven fitness program in achieving your goals.
In closing, if you are just starting on a new weight loss program, thinking about abandoning your workouts or returning to last year's resolution it is worth checking your thought process more than the scale.
You may be surprised to find that your thinking is the biggest obstacle to your program. Armed with this awareness you can now sail through these temporary mental roadblocks to a leaner, healthier you!