Healthy Small Steps

25 Oct

Recently a friend of mine revealed her “dramatic weight loss” ala Biggest Losers style.  She had been consistently working hard for a long time now, but the before and after pictures are always what make people say, “Whoa! How’d you do it?”.  I kind of laughed because that was my first reaction to the photos too, but then I slowed down and realized that I know how she lost the weight, and you can figure it out too.  It is never because of some fad diet or short-term unachievable regiment.  Weight loss is always the same exact method for everyone.  Here are some key tips that I know helped me along the way and have become common sense knowledge drilled into my brain:

  • Consistency is key.  Plan to do the same thing over and over and over.  Whether you are planning on weight training, running, hiking, dancing…anything, you will have to keep at it.  Sure, there will be days that it’s tough to fit in exercise, and that’s okay because if you are making an effort to workout more days than you don’t workout a week then you’re on the right track.
  • Small choices add up to big changes.  Think of all the food related decisions you make in a day.  This morning I had coffee, like I do everyday.  About a year ago I realized how many empty calories were being consumed by this daily habit before I had even finished checking my email.  Since then I have nixed creamer and any sweeteners, I prefer my coffee just black now and it has zero calories!  Now I try to apply this method to every food choice I make…if I am going to have a sandwich on bread then I can cut out the cheese, save some calories, and still enjoy my lunch.  Cut out fattening salad dressings, skip sour cream, butter, mayo…all of these small sacrifices can end up paying off big time.
  • Have some fun!  Working out doesn’t have to be a dreaded activity or else you will never do it.  Find something that you enjoy doing and run with it (literally for me 🙂 ).
  • Grab a friend, having a moral support system goes such a long way.  Find someone, whether it is your friend, significant other, or someone you meet online (of course blogging is great for this!  And when I first started reading health blogs Spark People was a great motivator for me).  Tell people you’re goals and appreciate when they hold you accountable.  My mom has been such a great cheerleader for me, she will text me when she’s on a run to say “Have you gotten in your cardio today?” and just knowing that someone else is rooting for me makes it so much harder to skip out.
  • Mix it up a bit.  This goes along with having fun.  Don’t do something that is stale to you, if you’re burnt out on running add some fun Zumba classes or a weight lifting routine that you tore out of a magazine and have been meaning to tackle…
  • Don’t beat yourself up.  This is a huge one for me because sometimes it’s easy to give up if you are not seeing results fast enough or are just plain exhausted.  As long as you are able to move forward and know that there is always a new day to improve, you will get there.

What are your stand by fitness tips?  How do you overcome the plateau when you’re tired/bored with a workout?

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