Are you someone who has started a fitness program and meal plan, only to be done with it a month or two later? Trust me, you are not alone, and I’m going to give you some ideas and simple steps to create a healthy lifestyle. The goals will come with that healthy lifestyle. Adherence is the ability to stick with something until the end result is achieved. If the result is not achieved, adherence has been lost. There are many, many reasons why adherence may be lost. In fact, the stages of change theory has been used to assess where someone is on their ability to achieve their fitness goals. Today, I’m going to be talking about one cause I have seen thousands of times through my time as a master personal trainer, a fitness manager, and a provider of continuing education credits for fitness professionals. I call it too fast, too hard, and I’ll give you a way around it.
This person remembers the terrible muscle pain after a session at the gym, or the strained joint from jogging for the first time in 15 years from their last failed attempt. This person still feels the self judgement from not being able to make it. There is also self judgement every time you drive up to a fast food drive thru, eat ice cream at midnight, drive past a fitness club. And, often there is anger. Anger that your best friend is in perfect shape, anger at that coworker that has so much energy they almost levitate, anger when you see someone eating something that looks like it tastes good, and anger at yourself for not doing better.
Too fast, too hard is the person who decides now is the time. They join a gym or exercise group, workout 2 hours everyday, start a drastic new meal plan, and reduce caloric consumption so low no one could do it for more than a day or so. You use all of that judgement and anger, funnel it into furious workouts while starving, and you have your goal in mind. The only problem with all of that….you want your goal by next Tuesday, and you’re in misery. We live in an immediate gratification world, and we want our goal now. I can tell you though, nothing tastes as good, and no tv show is so wonderful as to surpass how amazing you are going to feel when you have achieved a healthy lifestyle. You may even get to stop taking some of the medications you’re on. If you can keep working at achieving a healthier lifestyle, all the goals will come with it.
Here are the steps I would teach every person starting a healthier lifestyle plan, whether in a gym or not.
- Move more today than you did yesterday, and keep doing that until you start to have more energy. It will come faster than you think. Even if it’s one extra flight of stairs, or 10 minutes every hour, just make it more.
- Eat less today than you did yesterday, and keep doing that until you lose a pound. Don’t worry about what you are eating right now, just make it less. As you start to lose weight, you will start making healthier choices on your own and doing more with that energy described above, because motivation will have just come to visit you.
- Remember, you are moving toward a healthier lifestyle. Healthy lifestyles can have food splurges, but it can also have hiking trails with packed fruits. This is a process, and things that we think of as screw-ups are not screw-ups. They are life. There should be no judgement or other negative emotions turned upon yourself. Just have a good day and keep going.
- For the most part, people eat about 80% of what’s on their plate. Use a smaller plate. There is a great intermediate size paper plate that is perfect for this, right in between salad and dinner plate. (I would try to avoid fast food restaurants. I know you are going to order the salad, but then you roll the window down, and next thing you know, you have a super sized something sitting in your lap).
- Be able to see plate around everything on your plate. You can get creative and try to stack it six inches high, but you have to be able to see a space between the different foods on your plate.
These five steps are an amazing way to just get the ball rolling, versus the dodgeball of the previous plan. Once you have these five steps down, then look into getting a personal trainer if you can, or watching any of the exercise experts online. I’ll be back with more on that next time. Or, you may know enough from the past, and now have the confidence to walk proudly into a group exercise class or the free weight section of the gym. And, if the weight you are lifting at the gym weights less than your purse/briefcase, you need to up your game a bit. Unless you can’t lift your purse over your head, then you can do a little less. I can’t wait to hear how it goes!!
Most importantly, have fun, and think about a healthy lifestyle versus a size of jeans. If you focus on just being the healthiest you that you can be, all the rest will come.