Let’s be real here…how many of you want to lose weight? How many of you are actually trying to lose weight?? I’m sure you have a goal number in your head (be it a number on the scale or a certain size). Now, how many of you think your goal number is actually realistic? A lot of times in the “lose weight” game, we often fail because we set ourselves up with unrealistic goals. If the last time you saw your goal weight on the scale was before your high school graduation...I’m talking to you. How many times to we wake up on January 1st with lofty diet and exercise goals only to peter out by February? The first step to sustainable success is to first have reasonable and realistic goals.
The second step to success?? Well that would be working hard to achieve these goals. I have previously talked about small ways you can tweak your current diet to make it a bit healthier. However, I hesitate to do the same thing for exercise. Yes parking in the furthest spot from the store and taking the stairs instead of the escalator are great habits to build into your daily life, but they are not going to get you the results that you want. Getting in shape takes motivation, dedication, and sweat.
I absolutely dislike it when a fitness magazine/book/post tries to get people to believe that optimum fitness and a rock hard body will come easy. I have this particular Abs DVD (which overall I love) that is broken down into four 10 minute routines. In one of the routines, the instructor says “Imagine if you did this routine 2 times a week, how chiseled your midsection would be.” 20 minutes of easy (Maybe not extremely easy, but not exhausting) ab work is all it takes to look like them?? NO. Sorry to say it but NO. Fitness takes work. It can be hard, sometimes it can be grueling. But in order to really get your body in top shape, exercise will be anything but easy.
I am here to tell you that unfortunately, if you want to be in shape you do have to work for it. If you want to lose weight, you DO have to work for it. Fad diets and questionable weight loss supplements and pills are a bad idea. Good ol’ fashioned healthy eating and exercising is the answer. Learn this: it takes approximately 3500 calories burned to lose a pound. If you walked 1 mile a day it would take you 35 days of walking to burn off enough to lose just one pound! Most reasonable weight loss programs suggest cutting 500 calories per day in order to safely and successfully lose 1lb per week (any more than this and chances are you are losing muscle too, except if you gain weight back you gain only fat and then eventually end up with a higher amount of body fat than you had before). You could manage this by making some tweaks to your diet to cut out 200 calories and then combining that with walking or running 3 miles.
Of course, if you don’t like to walk or run then find something else that works for you. If you hate to do something, then chances are…you won’t do it! Find something that you love to do whether it be walking, running, lifting weights, zumba, yoga, pilates, step…the possibilities are endless.
If I could offer advice for losing weight and getting into shape it would be:
- Set a realistic goal, complete with a time frame in which you hope to accomplish it
- Break the bigger goal down into smaller, more manageable goals (ie…35lbs overall and break it down into 1/2 pound a week)
- Start cleaning up your diet; start a food journal to track your eating habits
- Find a form of exercise that you enjoy doing
- Stick to the exercise consistently…make sure you break a sweat!
- If you find yourself falling off the wagon, just get back up and start over. Health is not an all or nothing game.
- Don’t be surprised if things are harder and take longer than you thought they would. The Biggest Loser does not equal real life!
- Celebrate your success in a positive, non-food related way. Thing of weight loss in terms of “Hooray I lost 5lbs” instead of “I still have 30 to go”
- Love yourself as you are in this moment. If you keeping waiting until you’ve lost “those last 10lbs” to really live the life you want, you could be waiting a while.