Deciding to make a changes in your life can be daunting. Especially if the change is going to significantly impact your way of life. But it doesn’t have to be challenging and you don't have to deny yourself a social life. Sometimes it's just as easy as making a few changes in the way you think and/or view food and fitness. Here are some things that keep me motivated:
1.) Take weekly body measurements. Trust me. Don’t rely on the scale alone - ESPECIALLY if you’re starting a weight training program of any kind. This was something that was hard for me to wrap my head around in the beginning, and over the past year I’ve actually GAINED 8lbs, however I lost 11 inches throughout my body and dropped 2 pant sizes. So don't get discouraged by the scale and get yourself a tape measure!
2.) Take full body pictures (in the same outfit), once a month. I say once a month, because any more and you may not see the changes you hope for, and that can be discouraging. Fitness should be a positive experience, so it's important to not set yourself up for unnecessary failures. You could wait longer and take photos every couple months, or even just at the start and finish of a workout program - whatever is easier for you personally. Just try to take them in the same place and in the same outfit, as that's how you can see a true comparison.
3.) Don’t give up on foods or drinks that you love. You want to change the way you eat, not deny yourself things that you enjoy. I love sweets - cookies, candy, chocolate, thats my jam. And I still eat them. I just try to plan ahead. When I'm craving cookies or chips, I eat a serving size (usually we buy the boxes of single serving bags of treats at Costco as that makes it easier to grab a bag and walk away without mindlessly eating more), drink a large glass of water, and find something else to do that keeps my mind off of eating more. This does get harder in social situations, as you're not going to necessarily want to sit there and count out 11 pretzels while in the middle of a conversation with someone you just met.. But grab a small plate, put what you want on it and walk away from the food table (and don’t go back for seconds!). By grabbing a smaller plate, you’re less likely to over fill it with unhealthy choices. This goes the same for a buffet dinner and a dessert table. Something that works for me is following a few bites or a few sips of a cocktail with a glass of water as it fills me up so I don't over indulge!
4.) Start slow. If you’re just starting out and have never really workout or watched your nutrition, don’t jump in and change up everything at once. Making too many changes, too fast, can lead to failure. You want this to be a lifestyle, not a crash diet. Don't jump in with a plan or program where you workout 6 days a week for an hour a day - instead, slowly incorporate exercise in a few days a week for about 30 minutes a day. Once you have that down for about a month, re-evaluate and add in some additional workouts if you feel up to it! You don't want to get to the point where it gets too hard or you get overwhelmed and quit. So if slow and steady helps you stick with your workouts then stay with that for as long as it takes for you to feel comfortable moving to something more intense. Same goes for nutrition. If you're used to snacking and eating a lot through the day, or having big meals, then start slow and cut out one snack or replace it with a protein shake and go from there. If you need suggestions for incorporating healthy snacks, reach out and I can help.
5.) Reward yourself with what will keep you motivated (NOT with food). It’s Friday and you made it through a work week staying on plan with nutrition and exercise - AWESOME job! Reward yourself with a pedicure or a new workout top, something that will keep you feeling good about yourself and keep motivating you to stay on track! The bigger the goal reached, the larger the reward - just think of the new wardrobe you'll "need" once you hit your goals! - shopping is always my motivation!
Now these aren't hard and fast rules and there are definitely days or events where I don't think about my food or drink choices and I just think about having fun with my friends and/or my family. And that's fine. The most important thing is that you are enjoying life and having great experiences, I'm a firm believer that as long as your eating healthy and working out AT LEAST 70% of the week, enjoy the other 30% (just make sure you suit up and get yourself back and track when that 30% is up!).