You’ve tried it all! You’ve restricted yourself to 1,000 calories a day. You’ve cut out all fat from your diet. You’ve tried eating only chicken and broccoli every day. Maybe you’ve even taken some of those too-good-to-be-true weight loss pills. Only to end up right back where you’ve started: hungry, exhausted, frustrated, unhappy with yourself. It never seems to stick for longer than a few days or weeks and you just can’t seem to get in shape, and stay there!
What if I told you you’re not a failure? That there’s a reason all those “fads” never work?
It’s because they aren’t sustainable for the long term!
Your body can’t function without the proper amount of energy (calories), so when you restrict your caloric intake, you end up exhausted, hungry, and possibly even sick!
Fat is an essential part of digestion! Your body needs fat to absorb and store certain nutrients, so to cut all fat out of your diet would wreak havoc on your body.
A diet limited to plain old chicken and broccoli is not only boring and tasteless, but it doesn’t provide you with ALL of the different kids of vitamins and nutrients found in other healthy foods as well.
And don’t even get me started on those diet pills!
I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve attempted every single one of these “fads”, and like you, I was never able to stick with it. I’m still not 100% perfect when it comes to my health and fitness, but I have learned a few tips and tricks along the way that have stuck with me, and they may help you change your habits for good too!
Grab a pen and paper and start jotting!
Get An Accountability Partner
You don’t have to shout it from the rooftops (although I’m sure you’ll feel amazing if you do!). Just find someone who has the same sort of goals as you, and make plans to do it together! Whether it’s your husband or wife, your best friend, your sister, or maybe a coworker. Have your partner call or text you to get you off your butt, send each other healthy recipe ideas, or better yet, make an “appointment” to go out and exercise together!
Imagine your alarm went off at 6am to tell you to get up and go to the gym, but it’s cold outside, you had a rough sleep, and your bed is so cozy and warm, how easy would it be to just tell yourself you’ll do it tomorrow? Just to have the same thing happen tomorrow, and the next day.
Now imagine the same scenario, but this time you have a friend waiting for you. How do you think you’d handle it? Would you leave your friend waiting or cancel? NO! You’d get your ass out of bed and drag yourself to the gym! You’ll probably curse the whole way there, but when was the last time you’ve ever regretted a workout?
Don’t Change Everything At once
Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt like the biggest pile of crap because of your poor food choices and lack of exercise, and got fed up with yourself and decided to go ALL IN with healthy eating and exercising every day! (Umm hello!)
And did those newfound healthy habits stick? Probably not! Otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this right now. They never did for me!
That’s because it’s hard to change everything all at once. Unless you’re one of those rare people who thrive with sudden big change, then maybe you should skip this part. For the majority of us, when we do something that’s different and unusual for us, it takes effort at first. You constantly have to think about it before you do it (or don’t do it, like eat that cookie!).
Take driving for example, when we first start learning to drive we are constantly thinking about the rules of the road and what we have to do and when. But now we don’t even think about it. We’re pretty much driving on autopilot.
It wasn’t until I took it slow and started out by only focusing on changing my eating habits, and nothing else, that it actually became a habit. Because it was only a small change which made it not as scary and totally doable!!
When I felt my eating was fairly solid and it was no longer a struggle, I then decided to start exercising by going to some exercise classes. But I didn’t go every single day, I only started out with three days a week, which made it way easier to actually get off my butt! An hour a day for three days a week? I’m not a math genius (seriously, my 8-year-old is better at math than I am), but I’m pretty sure that’s just 5% of your entire week!!
Make Small, Attainable goals
If you have never worked out a day in your life, and you were to say “I’m going to become a fitness competitor!!” I can guarantee you’ll run for the hills and never set foot in a gym! OR you’ll be super excited to get started, get yourself to the gym, maybe even continue to go for a few days or weeks. But when the novelty wears off and you realize that your initial goal of stepping on stage is a lot farther away than you thought, you’ll most likely give up.
However, if you started out by saying “I’m going to go for a walk three days this week”, when you reach that goal, you will be so proud of yourself you’ll WANT to keep going!
So you make a new goal by saying “I’m going to walk three days this week, AND I’m going to go to one exercise class at the gym”. Well guess what?! You already made so much progress already!
When we set small, attainable goals, we can actually see the finish line and are ten times more likely to stick to it!
Just make sure you continue to set new goals for yourself when you reach each one. I recommend setting weekly goals, but if you’d rather set monthly goals then by all means!
Reward Yourself With Something Small, That ISN’T Food Related
When you reach that goal you set, reward yourself!! After all, you damn well deserve it!!
But don’t make it a food-based reward! Just like they say we shouldn’t reward our children with food, we probably shouldn’t reward ourselves with food either! Sure, I’m all about having a treat every once in a while. But don’t make that treat your reason for eating healthy or exercising. You shouldn’t restrict yourself to the point where all you think about is that treat meal. There are SO many healthy options for pretty much any food you can think of, which will make healthy eating way more enjoyable! Just google it!
Instead reward yourself with something like a pedicure, a movie, some new makeup, or maybe even something that will motivate you even more to keep going: a new sports bra or leggings (my favourite reward!). If you’re setting weekly goals, however, you’ll probably want to reward yourself with something that doesn’t cost money, like a bubble bath, to avoid starting a nasty spending habit.
Find What Works For YOU
If you know you don’t like running, don’t try to become one of those people who run effortlessly everyday. When I first started exercising, I ran. I absolutely hate running. But I made a goal of running 10 kilometres and when I reached that goal, I never ran again in my life.
It wasn’t until I found resistance training and plyometrics that I was able to stick with it, because I actually enjoy doing them! There are so many different kinds of exercise in the world. Try all of the different types until you find one you really like. That way you’re more likely to make it a lifelong habit that you enjoy rather than a chore you have to do, and probably won’t do more often than not.
Get In Shape, And Stay There
So there you have it! You now have absolutely no reason not to get started on your health and fitness journey!! These are the things that, after eight years of trial and error, have helped me to LOVE health and fitness! I hope at least ONE of these tips will help you start and finally get in the shape you want!
I’d love to hear from you! Do you have any tips to add? What has helped you to get in shape once and for all? Please comment!
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Tags: Fitness, health, inspiration, motivation