It's true that you are committed to shedding the extra pounds that have snuck up on you.
You have a goal: whether it is a date on the calendar, a special dress, or on the recommendation of your doctor, how can you make this process of transformation seem less like a drag and more, well, FUN?
Here are some simple, easy suggestions that can help you achieve your weight loss goals and have a little fun along the way…
Exercise: Do it Your Way
Q: What is the best exercise for you?
A: The absolute BEST exercise for you is one that you will actually do!
Rather than chase a new fad or follow your friends to their gym, figure out what you, personally, like to do. If you truly enjoy your chosen form (or forms) of exercise, you will look forward to doing it rather than make excuses as to why you can’t!
If running sounds dreadful, do not rush to sign up for a 10K race. Maybe look into walking, hiking,swimming or cycling. If walking is more than you are comfortable with, there are some incredible water aerobics classes that cater to a variety of fitness levels. Swimming at any levels is an incredible total body workout that is easy on your joints if impact is a concern.
The key to exercise is first, pick something that you actually enjoy doing. The second key is to start at a level that is challenging, but not demotivating or demoralizing for you. You want to be able to get your heart pumping but if you cannot get through a class or are unable to walk into work for the next five days without assistance, you may not be excited to return to that particular activity.
Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone! If something sounds interesting to you, try it.
Intrigued by the world music and hip shaking of Zumba? Take a class! Tai chi sounds interesting to you? Find a group that practices in your community. Self-defense classes and martial arts are excellent ways to get fit while learning new skills. If you are concerned about dropping a ton of money on a class or gym membership without knowing whether you will like it, websites such as Groupon or Living Social are constantly offering deep discounts for all kinds of fitness activities such as yoga, boot camp, golf lessons, jazzercise, rock climbing and more. These are a great way to explore new activities without making a big financial commitment. Remember, the most important factor in getting exercise is enjoying what you are doing, so have some fun exploring new opportunities.
Looking for easy 5-minute workout ideas? Try my Fast Five Fitness program and you can begin shedding pounds and toning your body instantly.
If you belong to a gym, speak to some of the instructors of the different fitness classes in your area to see which ones might be a good fit. Many instructors offer in-class modifications for a variety of fitness levels. Additionally, good instructors ask if there are people who have injuries or issues that they need to be aware of (a bad back or bad knees for example). If they are aware of these issues in advance of the class, they will make alternative recommendations as needed so you can still fully participate, with appropriate modification. The great thing about most people who are into fitness is that they will be excited to share with you their passion and are genuinely happy to help you find success on your personal path to better health.
Find a Friend
Whether it’s an old friend that you have had for year or a new acquaintance that you’ve just met, you may find that having a partner on your weight loss journey is helpful. From joining up to exercise (which helps to keep you both accountable) to sharing recipes and tips, having someone you can feel supported by in your triumphs as well as the inevitable trials. This support and encouragement will help you stick to your plan. Not only that, but it can be comforting to have someone to talk to about your journey who understands what you are experiencing and fun when you reach milestones and can celebrate together.
Stay Positive, Be Persistent
One way to make weight loss fun is keeping a good perspective. Grab a notebook or a journal and make a list of all of the reasons that you are embarking on this new phase of your life. Be honest with yourself and include everything - your health reasons, your vanity (it’s legitimate, after all, to want to look good), and the many ways you envision that your improved health might affect your own life as well as the other important people around you. Re-read this list often and add too it when other reasons come to you.
On another page, write down all of the things that you are grateful for. Take at most, a couple of minutes and write it in daily if possible. Some days, your list might be overflowing, while other days you may be scraping to come up with only a few things. As you continue writing in this journal, it can become a valuable tool in remaining positive when you find yourself having a bad day. Regularly reminding yourself of your goals, the reasons why you are working so hard on this transformation, and the things in your life that you can already be thankful for will help you to adopt a more positive overall outlook. A positive attitude can help you maintain perspective and persevere on those days where things just don’t seem to be going your way.
Rethink the Word "Diet"… and What That Means
We have been conditioned to associate the word “diet” with deprivation and taking drastic measures to make fast changes physical changes. This concept seldom works, and leaves many people frustrated after losing and gaining weight repeatedly once the “diet” they were on is no longer sustainable. Toss that notion aside completely. Instead, think of the word diet in terms of what you are choosing to include in your food choices. Making the focus on small, incremental and healthy additions to your diet can ultimately transform how you view your food, and how you approach eating and meal preparation in general.
This means things like having breakfast every day. You’ve likely heard since elementary school that breakfast is the most important meal of the day but time and again, the research shows that what your mom told you is true. Studies confirm that people who skip breakfast tend to eat over-consume at lunch and dinner.
The best way to get your metabolism revved up after a good night’s sleep is to eat a healthy breakfast. It doesn’t have to be huge, especially if you don’t consider yourself a breakfast person.
Getting a good sweat on during a workout is certainly a great way to get fit and lose weight.
But afterwards if you go and sit in front of the television, are you really changing your lifestyle?
Here are a few ways just to be more active in your daily life that will help you keep moving, feel good, and be productive in the process:
- - Cleaning the house
- - Dancing
- - Walking the dog
- - Exploring new (or old) parts of your community
- - Playing with your kids
- - Take a walk alone or with your family
These are all great ways to stay active when you are not working or exercising. It's the best way to create great habits and provides a little extra exercise but also some good quality time with the people you care about.
Finally, don’t forget to reward yourself when you have achieved a milestone.
That milestone may be that you didn’t stop during your entire workout, you shed a certain number of pounds, or you prepared most of your (healthy) meals at home this week rather than hitting your favorite take-out, any milestone!
Be creative with your rewards. Is there new workout gear you have been eyeing up but hesitant to buy? Need a new pair of training shoes? Perhaps your reward is allowing yourself to sleep in an extra hour this weekend or treating yourself to a pedicure or manicure. Be creative with your rewards but make sure they fall in line with your new mindset… your focus should still be on making progress toward that goal. If you are working hard to make changes in your life, you deserve to be rewarded for your successes! Life is too short not to have fun.