Most people choose to make a new resolution on New Years. For me, I forgo something like this. I don’t want to start out the New Year by stressing over what I plan to accomplish in the year. Don’t get me wrong, I do plan goals for the New Year, however, I don’t make it my main focus during the beginning of the New Year. I would like to make strict goals but the fact is that my boyfriend’s birthday is within 3 weeks of the New Year and my birthday is 3 weeks after that, then there is Valentines day 5 days after that. There are many days for celebration during these times. It makes any kind of serious diet hard.
They say most people give up their New Year’s resolution within the first 20 days of the year. I saw a story about this, on the news, prior to MLK day. When I finally decided to commit to losing weight, it wasn’t at the start of the new year, it was actually in August. Weight loss doesn’t have to happen at specific times of the year but most people think it should be at the beginning of the year in order to prepare for summer time.
During the past couple months at the gym, I noticed that during the first few weeks of the new year, it was overly crowded for three weeks but soon after that you see that it is diminishing down to the normal amount per day. Why does this happen? The reason why, is because people lose their motivation. Everyone makes a goal that is beyond his or her reach or current motivation level. They think weight loss is easy and when they don’t see what they want, in a given time, they give up. I won’t lie. I’ve been there.
So what do you do? The number one thing…don’t make a goal to lose x amount of weight in x amount of days. The first day that you see that you aren’t on track to make this goal, is the same day that you throw these goals to the curb. It’s hard to make weight loss goals in the winter, especially when you live in the north. When the temperatures are so cold, it is super hard to make any kind of motivation happen. It takes extra discipline plus a little creativity. In the past month, I think we have spent 3 of the 4 weeks of the month with temperatures at or below zero. I know it was hard to find the motivation to get out and go to the gym.
- Attempt to make 10,000 steps each day for at least 5 out of the 7 days of the week. I’ve notice even with a less than perfect diet that when I made these steps during those days, I was still able to lose 1 or 2 lbs per week. You just have to keep yourself moving. How do you do it? If you need to go to the store, park as far away as possible. Take a 5-minute break from work to do a quick walk. When you have a meeting, take a longer route to your meeting room. Take the steps to your office that may be located on the 2nd or 3rd floor. If you’re on the 25th floor…I’ll give you a break, you can take the elevator in this case. Take a small walk during your lunch hour. At home, while you’re waiting for something to cook, taking a phone call or there’s a commercial on during your favorite show, start walking or even create a strength training circuit. Whatever you have to do…keep moving. Even if it’s slushy and muddy out, put your boots on and take a small walk. We’ve even used the frozen lake (yes, it’s mid-March and it’s still frozen) as a place for walking. I suggest something like a VivoFit watch. It tells you when you need to start moving and monitors your movement throughout the day plus it monitors your calories and your sleep at night. I have one of these. You can find it in the health section in my store. There have been numerous times, where I’ve found myself walking around in circles, in my house before bed, just to make sure that I get to 10,000 steps.
- If you notice that you drink a couple days a week, set up a 14-day plan for not drinking. We don’t drink excessively but we know we drink at least a bottle of wine between the two of us, two days a week. So we opt for a 14-day detox, 2 or 3 times a year, to remove alcohol from our systems. It’s good for your liver and good for weight loss. Perhaps, it’s not alcohol for you but you should also consider this for any kind of soda or sugary drink that you may consume. Another option, to further this statement, is to remove all the food that you know is bad for your diet during this time. This is further discussed in point 4 of this post.
- Change the music that you use for your workout. If you have a particular set of music that you use for your workout, change it up. I’m pretty bad with this. I hardly ever update my music and I continue to use the same music over and over. By changing it up, you can provoke your mind to be interested in a new stimulus. You may enjoy the music differently than the music you used to use, thus allowing the time to feel like it has been going by quicker. Also you could try downloading new music and use your workout time to discover whether or not you like this music. Maybe you’re trying to learn something like a new language or you like to stay up to date with the latest whatever (insert your interest), perhaps you could listen to a podcast or to a new language set, celebrity gossip or even a new book, whatever it is that distracts you from what you’re doing.
- If you have sensitivities to certain foods, like gluten, wheat, dairy, processed junk etc, set up a plan to remove these foods for at least 2 – 4 weeks. Your stomach will thank you for getting rid of these foods that increase your chances of having a leaky gut (a topic for another post). I actually try to do this for about a month. After I complete my 30 days then I choose a day to spoil myself. We might pick a day to go out to eat or we prepare a cheat meal at home with lots of wine or apple cider. Set a time frame for a strict diet regimen and reward yourself with a cheat day. I personally think that it makes those foods taste so much better. I’ve also seen the other side of this too. I’ve had times where something sounded really good, I ate it but then I was disappointed that I wasted my cheat day on that. It just gives me more of a reason to continue to leave those foods out of my diet.
- Make workout goals for yourself. If you are into running, then set up a specific time for a 5k or 10k. If you are at a point where you want to walk a mile in x amount of time, then work on these goals. Work towards constant improvement. These can even transferred over into strength training. Maybe you can’t do a pull up without assistance, set small goals to work towards that. You can do it by upping your reps at a specific assistance then trying to do a lower amount of reps at less assistance.
In the end, you don’t want to focus on weight goals. Weight, for the most part, actually works against your main goal. Weight can be distributed in many ways. It can be shown as inflammation. It can also vary by hormones or water weight. There are various causes to why your weight may show more than it really is. Your weight is typically higher the day after weight training. You’re not fatter; your body is just in the process of recovering from your workout. That’s why you never want to focus on weight, instead, rely on fat percentage or physical measurements. Don’t ever be disappointed by the weight on the scale because even a good strength training regimen can alter the value you see even several days after it is completed. I’m currently at a point where I’m not seeing dramatic weight loss. My trainer has been measuring me and we’ve seen the measurements decreasing in all the right areas. What does this tell me? It tells me that I’m increasing my muscle. That’s a good sign.
If there is one last piece of advice that I had for anyone trying to improve their health, it is to make sure that if you are weighing yourself, don’t weigh yourself everyday and definitely don’t do it multiple times per day. Set a specific time to weigh yourself. Pick a particular day and do it only on this day. The best time of the day to weigh in is right after waking up. You have the least amount of water weight on you because most people don’t drink anything while sleeping.
As long as you are maintaining a good diet and complete a sufficient amount of exercise per week, you should be able to keep up with your ultimate goal. When starting a new diet regimen you may also need to do a little experimenting to find out which combination of foods or exercises work for you and which don’t. Not everyone progresses at the same pace but doing something is always better than doing nothing. Sometimes you may just have to force yourself to workout. I’ve had these days but once I finally start doing it, I find that I’m pushing myself and realising that it’s not as bad as I was making it out to be.