Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Slow and Steady Wins the Race!

Here we go again, right? Is there a little voice in the back of your head that’s groaning at the thought of taking on weight loss and fitness AGAIN? Are you a little worried that you’ll do great for awhile and then backslide? Well, it does not have to be that way. A big mistake many of us make in changing habits and diets is to try to make sweeping, larger changes all at once. This time, take small steps to create the changes you want in your life and body. Instead of setting large and intimidating goals, set much smaller goals, add them into your daily routine until they become new habits for you, and then set and add in another goal.

For example, if you’re hoping to get up to pressing play and working our 5 days a week but you’re not doing anything right now, think about committing to 2 days a week for 2 weeks and then adding a day per week until you reach your goal? This can create important successes for you that encourage you to both keep up the new habit and add others. It really does work- I’m living proof!

Here are some other small changes you might consider adding into your life gradually to get you further down the path to your fitness goals. These are modeled after my diet plan of choice, The Mayo Clinic Diet, and they really work:

Small Dietary Changes: Think about making one positive change in your diet each week. For example, this week, you might only allow fruits and veggies for snacks rather than popcorn or crackers and cheese. The next week, skipping starch at either lunch or dinner might be your goal. Each week, choose one new 'good' habit to replace a 'bad' habit, and slowly work into a weight loss routine that is permanent and a true lifestyle change.

Write it Down: Journal your eating, activity, and sleep, ideally every day. This means writing down everything you eat and drink, and your exercise. This both documents the positive changes you are making, and helps make you more aware of what you’re actually doing so you can make adjustments and hold yourself accountable.

Get Support:  Find a freind, spouse, relative, or co-worker to be a fitness buddy.  Use each other to develop accountability for goal setting and steps to reach your goals-  meet every week in person, on the phone, online, or through email.  You can also consider a professional coach to help you with this.  Some charge upwards of $125/hour for fitness coaching, but I will coach you for free through Team Beachbody. 

Move More: Increase physical activity, but gradually. Instead of pushing yourself to work out 4-6 times a week right away, find other ways to increase your physical activity without actually setting aside time in your schedule to exercise. Exercise IS important, but when you do not exercise regularly, ramping up too fast can cause injury and other problems.

Some things to try:

• Park farther from your destination and walk rest of the way

• Take the stairs instead of the elevator when you can

• Walk or ride a bike instead of driving when possible

• Play with your kids at the park or in your yard- they’ll give you a workout!

There are many other small ways you can make the changes you want in a way that will stick this time- be patient with yourself and get the support you need from yourself and others.


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