Another year has come and gone and another New Year is before us. Hundreds of thousands of people are feeling the effects of another holiday season of too much over indulgence and too little exercise. Hundreds of thousands of people are yet again, making another New Year’s Resolution to lose weight.
If you are one of the many who is yet again, making weight loss your New Year’s Resolution, ask yourself why you find yourself with the same goal at the start of every year. Why will this year be different from all the others?
Don’t think of it as a New Year’s Resolution. That phrase in itself has a negative connotation and doesn’t sound long term. New Year’s Resolutions have a built in bad reputation for failure. Their life spans are short, goals never quite reached. I would suggest that you look at it from a different perspective. Don’t call it a New Year’s Resolution. It’s a proposal to YOURSELF, a life long commitment to YOU,
Everyone starts off motivated with good intentions of weight loss success, but they fall off the path somewhere. Why? What are the excuses that stopped you in the past? Have you really taken the time to sit down with a pen and paper and write down why your previous efforts didn’t succeed? If you were to do that, you would get a good understanding of where your efforts got derailed and ask yourself what you could do differently this time around to prevent that from happening again.
You need to establish life long habits that contribute to your health and fitness. Establishing good habits take time. They don’t happen overnight. The things you do habitually require no thought and they are actions you perform consistently day after day. The same concept applies towards exercising on a consistent basis and improving your nutrition.
My diet and exercise habits didn’t develop overnight and it wasn’t easy in the beginning. It was a conscious effort. My nutritional habits are second nature to me now. It requires no effort for me to avoid foods that aren’t nutrient rich.
When it comes to exercise, a lot of people will come up with excuses as to why they don’t. The number one excuse most people have is that they don’t have time. I had the opportunity to interview Tom Venuto on my FitTalk Show and when we discussed the “I don’t have the time” excuse, Tom’s response to that was, “you have all the time in the world. You have the same time everyone else has. Twenty four hours in a day. The same amount of time as Bill Gates, Richard Branson, Warren Buffet and The President.” What you haven’t done is taken the time to sit down and prioritize your life – put health as a high priority.”
If time is an issue for you, one of the best ways to maximize your time and your efforts is to walk into the gym with a “game plan”. There are thousands of workout programs out there and fitness professionals such as myself who can create a game plan for you. When you walk into the gym knowing exactly what it is you need to do, i.e., what exercises, how many sets, how many reps, your workouts will be more focused and you won’t be wasting time trying to think about what to do next. Your workouts will have a purpose. Having a “game plan” will help keep you motivated to complete the workout you walked into the gym with.
Most programs are 3 months, 12 weeks, 90 days. Once you have chosen a program, (book, e-book, fitness professional or an on line service such as the one I provide), commit yourself to the length of the program. Set aside an appointment with yourself at the same time 3-4 days per week. By doing this, you are creating a habit. If you can stick to a 90 day program, you are on your way towards making exercise part of your lifestyle.
If you want to a complete game plan on not only how to lose weight, but keep it off for life, be sure to check out my 12 week program, Transformation Over 40 that provides you with everything you need for permanent weight loss success!!!
The next component is your nutrition. I never refer to it as a “diet”. Following a “diet” is never long term, or a lifestyle. “Diets” tend to be quick fixes and most people have difficulty sticking to a “diet”. What you want to do is think of yourself as making better food choices and it can be a gradual process so you don’t feel like you’re depriving yourself or going through withdrawals that some foods can cause once you suddenly omit them from your diet.
In order to make better food choices, you need to be aware of your current food choices. This suggestion is nothing new; however, it’s tried and true. Keep a food journal. Make an effort for 1 week to write down everything you eat and drink. This will make you more aware of what you eat.
When you find yourself snacking, be aware if you’re snacking in front of the TV, computer, etc. Rather than bring a bag or container with you to your desk, living room, etc., put a single serving in a bowl and eat only the serving in the bowl. Better yet, substitute the snack for a better choice such an apple with a handful of nuts.
If you are a soda drinker, and you notice that you are having at least 1 can of soda a day, rather than quit soda cold turkey, try cutting back on the amount of sodas you drink per week. That’s one simple change that can help make a difference. Over time, you will be able to give up soda. (Regular and diet are both bad for you).
When you look at foods, ask yourself if the choice you’re making has any nutritional value. Are the foods you eating have ingredients you can’t pronounce or is it in its natural state (i.e., fresh fruit, vegetables, fish, chicken, etc.). Just like your workouts, if you stick with making better, nutritional food choices for 90 days, you will develop new habits that will get you closer to your weight loss goals. Another tip, if you prepare your meals in advance and carry them with you, it will help you avoid eating foods that aren’t in line with your goals.
Finally, you want to build muscle and burn fat. Like anything else, it’s a process. There is no quick fix. No magic pill. If there was, obesity wouldn’t be an issue. Also, the results you get are what you put into it as a lifestyle. Just as being fit and healthy is a lifestyle choice, being unfit and overweight is a lifestyle choice too.
Here’s to a lifetime of good health through better nutrition and an active, fit, body.