It is that time of year where so many of us make resolutions to start working out more, eat better and be more healthy. These are all great goals, I know I have made them more times than I can count. But in order to create healthy lifestyle habits and keep them, you have to set yourself up for success.
My fitness journey has been up and down my entire adult life. My weight has fluctuated a lot over the last 10-12 years. I have gone thru seasons where I work out a lot, then I won’t see the inside of a gym for an entire year. It wasn’t until 2017 that I started a new routine and actually stuck with it. This is the longest I have ever routinely worked out, and it has become a lifestyle for me; I can’t live without it! Plus I lost 20 pounds in 2017!!
So what are my secrets? I’m sharing everything that helped me when I began my fitness journey and stick with it!!
Start slow then build. Set a goal for yourself that you can accomplish. Do it for an entire month then add to it. I first started with working out 2 days a week and not eating anything after dinner. Trust me, I was so sore after my work outs. 2 days felt like a lot, that’s all I could do at first. And not eating after dinner was a big deal for me. I was used to a late night snack before bed.
I did that for a whole month. Then I added a 3rd day to my work out routine. Several weeks later I added a 4th day and tightened up my diet really strict. Setting these goals in increments gives me a sense of accomplishment. It feels good to accomplish the goals you set for yourself. This was the motivation I needed to keep going. I’m now at the point where I work out 5-6 days a week. And on the rare weeks that I can only do 4 times I miss the extra days.
If you start to much all at once you are setting yourself up for failure. It’s very difficult to maintain that. It’s very challenging to go from not working out and eating everything you want, to working out 4 days a week and a strict healthy diet. It’s not sustainable at first and will be very easy to give into cravings and old habits. And this is when most people give up completely. Start with something you can maintain long term, then add to it a little at a time.
Don’t look for results right away. It takes time for the body to show results of all the hard work you are doing. In my experience it takes a good 2 months to see real results that you are happy about. At first you have to focus on other reasons and results for your work outs. I always focus on being more healthy. Results you can see in your body or not, working out makes you a healthier person on the inside. You will live a longer healthy life because of it.
I also focus on the mental clarity & stress relief I get from a work out. Nothing gets rid of my stress and clears my mind more than a really good work out. In return, I am a calmer nicer person to everyone around me :)
These 2 reasons are enough for me to work out. I think about myself and also my family. I am making myself a healthier person inside and out. This benefits me and my family. I think about my children and how I want to be in good shape to do physical activities with them now and have lots of energy. And I also think about the future, I want to be a healthy Mom as I age. I don’t want to have health problems as I age because I didn’t take care of myself.
You might gain weight before you lose it. This was true for me! I gained several pounds when I first started working out. My body held onto it and it took more than a month to lose those pounds. Even as I was losing weight, it was an up and down process. I would lose 3 pounds gain 1, lose 4 pounds gain 2. It’s best to look at your overall results in a 4-6 week time period, not day to day.
Don’t quit because you fall off the wagon once. Everyone needs a cheat meal (or day), everyone makes bad food choices, everyone sleeps in late instead of going to the gym. Don’t throw your entire fitness journey away and give up because you made 1 unhealthy choice.
Enjoy your cheat, don’t feel bad. Then get back at it hard the next day. 1 cheat meal or day will not break your fitness goals. The most important thing is consistency. Keep working out and making healthy food choices most of the time. If you keep it up, you will see results!
Have accountability. Find a friend to work out with, or a group or class, or a trainer. You need someone who is counting on you to be there and will notice if you don’t show up. It’s really easy to skip work outs when no one will know but you. Especially at first when you are forming a new habit of working out.
I found working out with a trainer is what works best for me. It’s an appointment that I am paying for. If I don’t show up he will call me and ask where I am, plus I will still have to pay for the session. So I always show up! If you don’t want to pay for a trainer every time you work out, try working out with a trainer 1 time a week. Then go to a class or work out on your own (or with a friend) the other days. Most trainers will give you a work out routine if you ask them. Then once a week you can check in with them and still have that accountability.
Find something you like and have fun. There are sooooo many different ways to work out. Try different things until you find what is fun for you. If you find it fun you will be more excited to keep going.
I love to mix it up and keep it interesting. I love to lift weights, but I never do the same workout twice. It’s always different each time. I also do boxing once a week because I love it! It’s an amazing work out, plus it helps me to get out any pent up stress that I might have. It’s like a work out without me realizing I’m working out.
Get a new workout outfit. If I’m ever feeling unmotivated I get myself a new cute workout outfit. It might sound silly, but it works. I can’t wait to put it on and wear it. It gives me an extra pep in my step when I go to the gym. Which makes me work out harder. As they say… Dress the part.
Don’t give up/consistency. It takes 3-4 weeks to form a new habit. At first it will truly be miserable! I won’t lie to you. The first couple weeks will really suck! I always felt so out of shape, so sore, so stupid, such a waste of time, it’s not working, why am I doing this, so uncoordinated, so miserable, so much work!!! Then after several weeks I would have a break thru. I would start to enjoy it more. Then if you keep going, after 2-3 months you can’t live without it and you feel amazing!
I lost 20 pounds in 2017. I have so much more energy and feel so much better! These tips I’m giving really work because it’s what helped me! A couple months ago I shared my diet that I followed. Keep in mind, I started this diet 2 months after I started my journey to better fitness and health. I started with small steps and progressed. You can see my diet I followed here in this post.
My full fitness routine to come soon :)