It’s that time again when we make our New Years resolutions to shed off those extra pounds we gained from the holiday festivities. This is also the time that we decide to take better care of ourselves this year. But losing weight is not easily done on a whim. Every year, many people make the choice to lose weight in January. By March, a very small percentage stick to their resolution. It is one thing to make the choice to lose the weight, but doing it is another matter. This requires proper goal setting and planning. After all, twenty pounds of fat is not gained over night. It slowly creeps on due to lifestyle changes that continue over time. Here are a few tips on how to plan a proper weight loss program:
Set Your Goals: You can’t get what you want unless you know exactly what you want. So take a good look inside. What do you want to improve? Is it your cholesterol or stress level? Do you want to lose fat? If so, what is a realistic weight loss goal for you? Do you want to get back to the athletic level you were in while in High School or College? Find out exactly what you want and need. Then set realistic goals. If you want to lose weight, how fast do you want to get there? How much weight do you want to have shed six months from now? Once you know exactly what you want and when you want to get there, then you can do what it takes to make these goals a reality.
Plan Out Your Future: Now that you know what you want, you have to ask yourself how much time you want to put into getting there. So plan out your week. Set aside time in your calendar to exercise. Perhaps the first two weeks, you only want to train two days a week for half an hour. Then the next week you want to add on to that. Know exactly when and where you want to do this. Keep in mind your level of fitness and your history of injuries. If you injure yourself by going to hard right away, you won’t be able to continue your training. It is best to plan out how you will get strong over time than it is to burn yourself out and injure yourself before you ever have a chance to achieve your goals. Also, plan out what you eat. Make a shopping list according to your new diet and only buy what is on the list. Plan out the times you need to eat with your work outs. You don’t want to starve yourself or you will burn yourself out while you exercise. Eat a proper meal after workouts in order to repair your muscles and take advantage of the metabolism boost. Don’t wait till you are starving. This will cause you to eat the first thing you see. If you wait until you are hungry to eat, you will be more likely to overeat or eat the wrong things.
Be aware of the fact that most people who return to the gym give up after the first one to three months. Mark your calendar for those months. The number one cause of failure is burn out and lack of results. Remember that most people do not see results until after three months so if you give up during this time, you will be cutting yourself short. After all, there are more advantages over looks to staying fit such as lower cholesterol and blood pressure, increased vitality and less muscle pain. Avoid burn out by starting gradually. Injury, inability to sleep and irritability are all signs of burnout to look out for. If this happens, take a break but COME BACK. If there are set backs or illnesses in your family, take care of them but COME BACK. The key is to come back and remember to keep your health a priority.
Plan Out Your Training: How will you train? Are you going to jog every other day morning and do calisthenics twice a week? Are you working out all major muscle groups? Are you incorporating a cardiovascular, strengthening and flexibility program in your training? Perhaps you can get all your fitness needs taken care of by taking one fusion class at the gym. Make sure you are doing something you enjoy and that suits your personality. This is when hiring a certified trainer can be invaluable as he/she can assess your goals and needs and plan out a program for you.
Set Lifestyle Goals: So, what else can you do? Plan not to gain the weight back. What did you do the past that caused you to gain that weight? What can you do this year to prevent this? Perhaps you took on a few unhealthy eating habits that you need to replace with healthy ones. Can you take the stairs instead of the elevator? Do you drive across the street when you know you can walk? Lifestyle and habits can greatly affect our health in positive or negative ways. Sometimes we think we cannot change but we need to remember that our behaviors can be re-programmed. After a month of taking the stairs, you’ll forget that the elevator ever existed. Once you quit smoking, you won’t be able to stand being around cigarettes. Once you cut down on eating your favorite desert, after a while, you won’t believe how much you used to indulge. The key is making that choice and sticking to it long enough to re-establish new habits. Talk to others who have made successful changes in their lives and they will tell you that once you trade in a lifestyle of increased energy and wellness for those bad habits you feel you need to keep, you will find you never missed them.
Making the choice to be healthy has many advantages. Reduced stress and illness, increased mental sharpness, energy increases, less joint pain and injuries and increased self confidence are just a few of the life changing results starting a fitness program can bring. Making the choice to be fit can lead to the kind of energy and strength that can overflow into every aspect of your life. Stay educated on what keeps you healthy and that will motivate you to keep it up. Set long term goals such as taking a pound off a week for one year. Studies have shown that people who establish the habit of exercise for longer than six months are more likely to stick with it for life. When you feel like doing nothing, tell yourself that the best way to be depressed is to do nothing. It is difficult to be sad when you are moving. Burning energy, builds energy. Go out and dance, run, walk, move and you will be glad you got off the couch.
I hope you can use this information as a tool to help you in your lifestyle choices. No prescription drug, herb or supplement can out do the power of proper diet and exercise. It fights stress, prevents disease, increases energy, mental focus, beauty and confidence. Ask yourself what you can do to improve your lifestyle. Simple changes can make a world of difference. Good luck to you in this New Year.
By: Rhea Morales