Inevitably every year I make plans. I set goals that may or may not be reached. I get back on track, or back in gear, or back in the gym, or some other such admirable thing I can do for myself, my health, my family, etc. Every year I write a list of what I should do, mostly because I am a compulsive list maker. With the popularity of putting our whole lives on social media, I find it hard not to notice that I am not the only one that has found myself traveling a path I should not be traveling and had to redirect my steps. This time of year, especially, I see people decide that THIS will be the year they get their particular goal accomplished.
I also notice a disturbing trend of negative Nancy's out there that like to shoot down anyone with a resolution or goal or a hope of acquiring a new physique. What I find particularly sad, is when I see people complaining about the "new years resolution" crowd at their gym. It brings me to mind of when I was a newbie in the gym. I joined the gym mid year, and oh how I felt like I was an outsider. It was the first time I had even seen several of the machines and it was intimidating. I felt like everyone was looking at me and thinking how I just didn't belong there and what did I think I was doing even glancing at the free weights like I would ever know what to do with them. If it wasn't for my husband encouraging me to keep going back, and showing me how to use the equipment properly, I probably never would have figured out that I LOVE to lift weights. And if you are one of those people that hate to see new people come into "your" gym and crowd up "your" equipment, I have only this to say to you. Get over YOURself. You are not the only person in this world. Just because you decided to get your butt in gear much earlier on than someone else, doesn't give you the right to doubt their sincerity and commitment to their goals. NEVER make fun of someone with goals. Without goals, you're on a metaphorical tread climber...you can keep climbing and climbing, but you are never gonna get anywhere. And with all the negativity and doubt, is it really any wonder so many people join gyms and quit after just a few workouts? I actually saw a comment someone made about "just trying to scare them off so they never come back." Impressive...he probably does curls in the squat rack too.
So to those of you who have found your way to my little corner of the web that may need a little encouragement in your new goal reaching adventure, I offer a few tidbits that I have learned over MANY years of fumbling and struggling through getting back on track. These are things that I have been told, or learned for myself, or read online or whatever, that have worked for me in the past. These are things, that when I routinely get back on the wagon I have been thrown from by the evil villain known as willpower, I fall back on to get me going again. And also a few things I am just learning this time around.
1. Don't deprive yourself. That is a biggie. If you can't have something you really want, you will be more likely to quit. Eat the stupid ice cream (a SINGLE serving) and then go take a walk. You will feel better knowing that you didn't get cheated and you didn't cheat yourself.
2. Do something. Anything. Move. Get physical. Dance. Play on the Wii. Play with your kids. Just get off your butt and do it. You will be glad you did.
3. Find a buddy. Even if she lives in Texas and you live in Oklahoma. Tell her how much you weigh and what you want to weigh and how you plan to get there. Then keep her updated. With pictures. And make her do the same. We call this one accountability. And it is tough, but important.
4. Keep track of what you eat. No matter what your plan, writing down what you eat ever day makes a big impact on what you eat. If you know you have to track it, you may be more hesitant to eat it. Or at least you will see where you are making your mistakes...
5. Small plates. It seems silly to some, I am sure, but over time our portions have gotten out of control. If you put a normal portion on a large plate, it looks small. You feel deprived, because you just got a small portion, and you eat more or you feel like you are still hungry. Put the small portion on a smaller plate and it looks like you are getting much more food. Mind tricks work even when we play them on ourselves.
6. Don't eat distracted. Pay attention to what you are eating. Don't watch TV or get on Facebook or mess with your phone. Sit at a table with your food on a plate and eat. It is too easy to eat your food too fast and not give your body time to tell you it is no longer hungry. And If you are with people who will distract you from your food, try to carry on a conversation you have to actively participate in. It will slow down your eating and your body will be better able to tell you when you are satisfied.
7. Fresh and colorful. Try to make most of your food fresh, non packaged food. You don't have to go to the health food store for that. Find a grocery store with an actual butcher. Fresh produce is not that hard to find. And a plate full of colorfull veggies and fresh grilled meat is one of the most satisfying meals I can eat. If your food looks more appealing, it is more satisfying.
8. Keep your triggers out of your spaces. If you absolutely can't have potato chips near you because you will eat the whole bag, don't put them where you can see them. Or better yet, don't buy them. No one else in your family needs that crap either.
9. Prepare. Have a plan and put it into action. Get your foods pre-prepped when you have down time and you will have a much easier time making healthy choices when you are in a hurry.
10. Don't be afraid of the gym. Look people in the eye, and show them you belong there. If you want to know how to use a piece of equipment, ask someone. And for heaven's sake learn how to use free weights! Squat. Not just leg press. Squat. Your butt will thank you....not right away. It will cuss you first, but eventually it will thank you.
There are so many things you can do that will help you not to quit. Find your nerve and stick it out. A better you (and me) is just around the corner.