Guest post by the fabulous Jill S. Brown, Fitness expert trainer, Co-Creator/Owner of the AbAssist Plus fitness training system, Multiple certified instructor, program designer, and consultant. This article was featured on Huff Po ladies and had over 250 tweets! Take it away Jill!
Are you thinking about it yet? You probably will be soon… once all the eggnog wears off and your holiday hangover starts to give you pangs of guilt.
But fear not. Here are 20 ways to get you started up or back on track to a healthier, fitter lifestyle. Take two Alka-Seltzers and read on:
1. Write Your Goals Down And Be Specific
Don’t just write, “I’m going to lose 20 pounds by summer,” or “I’m going to watch what I eat,” or “I’m going to start exercising three times a week.” You need to have a specific game plan. For example, “I’m going to lose 20 pounds in six months by following the Eat-Clean diet book, doing three spinning classes a week at the gym and hiking on the weekends.”
2. Inspire Yourself
Think back to your past successes or greatest achievements. What did you do to accomplish those goals? Everybody has some great achievements. Maybe it was a promotion to higher position, an athletic feat or overcoming a tremendous obstacle in your life. Recall the frame of mind you had then and practice going there when you need to motivate. If mental visualization is difficult, try putting up a picture of yourself from that time and look at it regularly until you get your mojo back!
3. Build Your Confidence Without Breaking Your Stride
It may sound weird, but don’t be an overachiever too soon. Make your first set of goals for 2012 easy to achieve. A pole-vaulter doesn’t come right out onto the field doing their highest jump, do they? First they set the bar low and then raise it higher and higher after each successful jump. So set the bar low and gradually raise it. You may even feel like you’re holding yourself back a little. Believe me, this is much better than doing too much too soon and burning out early — or worse, getting injured and losing all you’ve gained. Trust me, I see this all the time in my spinning/indoor cycling classes and boot camps. A newcomer will come in with guns blazing and doesn’t heed my warnings of taking it easy at first. By the halfway point (if they make it that far) they’re turning red and gasping for air. Rarely will I see that person again.
4. Birds Of A Feather
If your co-workers, friends and spouse are couch potatoes or fast food junkies, it’s high time to turn the mirror on yourself. You probably have at least a few unhealthy habits, too. I’m not sending you to a headhunter for a new job or a divorce lawyer for a spouse-ectomy, but you do need to surround yourself with like-minded people. Join a walking club, a recreational hiking group, make some new besties at your favorite gym class or take a healthy food cooking class if you’re a kitchen-ista. Be on the lookout for saboteurs lurking in your current network. Those are people who would prefer you not make a healthy lifestyle change because it makes them feel bad about themselves. Be wary of those who try to hold you back from your goals. Sometimes you have to trim the fat a little and do what’s best for you.
5. Be A Vain, Selfish Egomaniac
Relax, it sounds worse than it is. Once you start taking the steps towards your health and fitness goals by going to the gym or exercising most days of the week and taking control of what you eat, some people might actually say you’re being vain, selfish and all about you. Helloooo??? The problem with being healthier, losing weight and getting fitter is what, exactly? Tell yourself, “Taking better care of myself will ultimately make me a better spouse, parent, friend and worker.” Setting goals and working towards them makes you someone people will admire and respect. And, even if ultimately your motivation for getting fitter really is vanity or ego, you know what? People will still admire you for looking great.
6. Mind Your Mindlessness
Keep a simple log or a journal of everything you eat. People tend to eat more than they think and slowly but surely weight — well, fat actually — creeps up on you. It’s also a fact that most people tend to underestimate how many calories they’re consuming. Don’t just try to keep track in your mind. You’ll spend more time trying to remember every bite you took than it would take to just jot it down. There are great apps available for your iPhone or smart phones too like Livestrong, Calorie Counter, Perfect Diet Tracker, etc. If you tend to be an emotional eater (someone who eats even when they’re not hungry or eats when they experience certain feelings), write down what you’re feeling when you eat. You’ll probably notice a pattern like going after sweet, sugary treats or fattening comfort foods when certain feelings are triggered. Being able to identify this will help you get your bad eating habits under control.
7. Sign Up For An Event Or Lessons
Something that will give you a goal to achieve. Taking dance or tennis lessons or signing up for a charity 5K race will give you incentive to stay on track. Ask a friend or spouse to do it with you. Having a partner to train or practice with will keep you accountable and motivate each other. See #4.
8. Expect The Unexpected
Be a good scout and be prepared for setbacks and mishaps. There are going to be days where you have to work later than you expected and miss your spinning class at the gym. Of course your co-workers will inevitably order pizza or bring in doughnuts when you have a chicken salad and lentil soup waiting at home. Be prepared by keeping healthy snacks in your desk, or know the healthiest options at the pizza place near your office, so you can order that instead of pepperoni. Keep some tennis shoes in your car so you can go for a brisk walk or do some impromptu exercises when your plans to get to the gym get scrubbed.
9. Don’t Be Too Proud Or Embarrassed To Ask For Help
… or hire it! If you are fortunate enough to be able to hire a personal trainer and/or nutritionist, by all means do it! If everyone had the ability to design workout programs and diet plans, people like me would be out of work. There are other options too. Sign up for a meal delivery plan — there are more options now than ever for tasty, healthy food. You’ll be surprised at how many are out there once you Google “meals delivered to your home.” Not only will all your calories be counted for you, making it much easier to lose weight, but you’ll also find yourself with a nice big chunk of extra time. If time or budget are the issues, there is no shortage of great workout DVDs that you can do right at home and are very cost-effective. Many are even on demand through your cable or satellite provider.
10. Treat Yourself The Way You Want Others To Treat You
When I was a kid, my Mom said that this was a teaching of Confucius. Whether it came from Confucius, Buddha, Moses, Charlie Brown or Big Bird, it’s a lesson worth taking to heart. You wouldn’t berate your best friend or your child or your pet if they slipped up… would you? If you have a bad food or fitness day (or even a bad week), talk to yourself the way you’d want your friends or spouse to talk to you — with compassion. Tell yourself it’s okay, and that even the best of us have slip ups. Put it behind you, let it go just like you did with 2011, and look towards your next meal or next workout. Get back on track! See #1.
For more from Jill read up on her website at www.jillbrownfitness.com/
Originally posted on The Huffington Post