A few months ago, I was given the opportunity to collaborate with other bloggers to write an e-book. Here is the chapter I wrote…
A Big goal – Make one.
A “big goal” like “don’t die early” is clear, but not concrete. Something you can measure like “lose 50 pounds in 6 months” is reasonable, but may not motivate you to work each day and eat clean for each meal. Or it may seem impossible when the weight loss plateaus, which will happen. It may be better to make the goal something you will do, like “run a 5K”. Your fitness level and appearance are side effects of the things you do to reach the goals. Set a goal that will keep you motivated to train when the scale stalls or when there are social pressures to eat what you know you shouldn’t. It’s a lot easier to say “I’m training for (fill in the blank)” instead of “I’m on diet”.
Be ready for the “Mental Game”
Life happens. Things will go wrong. Results will be invisible. That’s normal – you are changing your body one cell at a time. If you are going to change your life, accept that you are going to live differently. Time is relative. Accept it and the inevitable ebbs and flows. Be ready for the bad days. Have a plan.
- Repeat daily (sometimes more frequently): “DON’T STOP TODAY!”
- Remind yourself that YOU are in control, you are smart enough to do this, and you can solve any problem.
- Educate yourself about what you are trying to do.
- Learn about the physiological processes of fat loss, muscle gain, and metabolism.
- Set small goals so you can feel like you are making progress.
- Goals should be behavior-based, not outcome based. “Don’t skip workouts”, “log all food and beverages”, or “drink a gallon of water”. You can achieve behavior goals. When you do, you continue your forward progression and results follow.
- Use motivational items.
- Take progress pictures. Hard at first, but very motivating later on the “bad days”.
- Make a Facebook album for quotes.
- Put post it’s on the bathroom mirror with favorite sayings.
- Try on new, smaller clothes.
Routines & Preparedness will save you!
There will be bad days and routines will guarantee forward motion when you’re not really “into it” that day. Early mornings are not when you want to think – set things up so you just need to go through the motions…get up, brush teeth, grab gym bag, drive car, etc. Leave post-it notes on the coffee maker the night before so you won’t forget anything the next morning.
- Keep the daily routine going, no matter what comes up.
- Food prepared and packed up ahead of time.
- Pack the gym back the night before with work clothes. Keep extra underwear in that bag, too. Keep extra things in your car.
Support System – This is HUGE.
The enormity of the task can defeat you before you start. If possible, give yourself permission to spend a little money to get the tools and support around you that you need. Build a support system so when you feel defeated, you will have people around you or online that won’t enable bad choices. Most people who want to make a big transformation, may not have a reliable support system at home. That’s OK. You can find them online – Facebook and blogs are great resources. Start your own blog to document your process. It doesn’t need to be the best blog out there – it’s like a diary. Share as much as you can. The public accountability is psychologically helpful.
Change the Program
If you are having a setback, it’s possible your body has adapted to your program. Change is good! Word of caution – DO NOT drastically reduce calories. Better to swap out foods and change the ratios of protein, carbs, and fats.
- Research recipes, new workouts
- Check the macros – maybe carbs are too low? Calories too low for too many days? Shock the system and have a “refeed” day.
- Allow for a rest day at least once a week.
- Take a new class or add a new exercise.
If you are feeling defeated and tired, you might just be tired. Sleep is a major component in fitness. The body needs it to follow through on the processes of fat loss and muscle repair. Try to get 6 to 8 hours every night.
Please be patient, loving, and forgiving with yourself. Consistency is what works. Time is relative. It takes as long as it takes.