Ever notice how it’s so easy to say, “I want to get in shape. I need to do this. I will start that diet!” but actually taking action is so much harder? Of course you have! Because naturally, it’s human to want to relax and indulge and push off things that may in reality benefit your health, well-being, and self-confidence.
Well I’ve been there; and even though I’m by no means overweight, I’ve been trying for a long time to slim up my swimsuit figure and tone my belly. I’ve found it to be tough at first and have definitely had those weekends where I give up and spend my time watching movies and eating ice cream. Now that I’ve got a routine engrained into my head, however, I’ve started to feel better about myself and see a greater progression toward my goal. I greatly believe that dieting requires no special pills, programs, or any other crazy thing they may try to make you buy. It starts with you and your willingness to do something good for yourself. I hope some of my ideas will help motivate you.
Do not weigh yourself every day! Trust me, I’ve been there. Stepping on that medical scale at the gym can be extremely depressing especially since it doesn’t just tell you your weight flat out. You keep sliding that little square up until you can’t take it anymore, decide it’s balanced enough, slide it back to zero, and jump off. The same thing goes with examining yourself in the mirror constantly. Not of course just checking your hair or makeup, ladies, but you know the full out skeptical examination, spinning around to check your backside, grimacing at that slightly protruding belly. Remember, you’re not going to lose weight overnight, so don’t check your weight every day!
Furthermore, you see yourself all day everyday. The decreasing scale is not lying to you; you just will not notice extreme results until a longer period of time. The greatest feeling comes from getting an honest opinion from a trusted friend/family member/coworker because remember, how the outside world perceives you is often less harsh than your critical perception of yourself. If you wait two weeks to weigh yourself rather than two days, you will see a greater difference and feel like you are truly getting somewhere.
Every minute of exercise counts! Whether you belong to a gym or prefer doing tai bo in the comfort of your own home, remember, quality rules over quantity. If you take at least half an hour out of your day to run, lift weights, do lunges, it’s better than not doing anything! Even if it’s the five minutes you have in between coming home from work and picking the kids up from practice, don’t feel foolish to do a set of crunches.
If you have ten minutes left over during your lunch break, instead of chatting or going outside for a smoke, do some inconspicuous leg lifts under your desk. Take the stairs up to the lobby and see if you can beat someone next to you on the escalator. You’ll feel that much better knowing that you don’t need to spend hours at a time grueling over something you hate, but actually quite easily and naturally fit exercise into your daily routine. I’ve also found that do-it-yourself chores around the house can tone those muscles without you even realizing until you feel sore the next day!
Music helps! When running on the treadmill, doing the elliptical, or doing step aerobics, keep your headphones or boomboxes blasting to your favorite fast paced music. It not only keeps your movements in sync, but helps your mind focus on something more pleasing than your shortness of breath. It makes the time go that much quicker!
Healthy foods can be delicious, too! Sometimes we are just starving for that double cheeseburger and fries and decide to cave in … just this once. Unfortunately “just this once” turns out to be “just one more time” and “ah, what the heck.” If you set your mind to it, however, you can truly focus your mind (and your tummy) on food that is just as delicious but way less calories. Did you ever wonder why you can walk down the street and automatically know there is a McDonalds nearby? It’s because of the strong scent that golden french fries and warm juicy burgers give off that entice you to eat at the restaurant. Am I making your mouth water already?
Use that same psychology to fool yourself into believing that the only thing which will satisfy your hunger is eating that perfectly steamed broccoli and golden roasted chicken filet. It may sound crazy, but it works! Keep healthy foods in your mind at all times and soon enough eating regular, nutritious meals will come as naturally as going through that drive through. But remember …
It’s okay to indulge! Please, don’t feel guilty about getting fast food for lunch once in awhile or having a bite of chocolate after dinner. Starving yourself or making yourself think that you are hopeless for wanting bad foods only makes you want to eat them more and, you become more likely to give up completely. Don’t give up on yourself and don’t get angry! Remember, enjoy yourself and eat things that you love—just do it in moderation. When you go grocery shopping, be cautious of what snacks you put in the basket and keep it to a minimum of a few that you simply cannot live without. As for the others, out of sight = out of mind! Also, try to substitute some of your favorite snacks with the fat free versions. For example, instead of greasy fried potato chips, try baked potato chips. You’ll probably find that they taste even better! The more your shorten up on your intake of junk food, the less you will desire it.
Drink water! I admit, I used to be a soda junkie and I used to hate water because I thought it tasted so plain. I still cannot live without my coffee in the morning, but as for the afternoons when I get thirsty, I substitute my usual can of Diet Coke for some ice water. Drinking lots of water helps clear up your skin, makes you feel healthier, and doesn’t leave you with that bloated feeling you get after drinking soda. I actually feel more comfortable after drinking five cups of water rather than one can of soda because of the carbonation. It’s tough at first to make such a drastic change but trust me, it’s really not that bad and it’s thirst quenching. Besides, when I do finally have a glass of soda with dinner, it tastes a lot better. Law of diminishing utility says that the more you have of something, the less you enjoy and want it.
I’m sure some of these tips are self-explanatory, but I hope they have helped you in some way. Remember that dieting and becoming healthy takes time. Don’t beat yourself up and don’t expect yourself to drop 20 pounds in a month by way of some dieting miracle. You can get on the right track if you keep patience and keep your overall well-being in mind. Good luck!