The weight loss journey is an uphill battle for most of us. Bottom line is that we need to eat right and regularly be active.
We also know that we need to have strategies and systems in place to achieve the right eating habits, and to be motivated enough to do our daily workouts. Keeping a food diary, having an accountability partner, Sunday preps, etc. - all these are systems most of us use.
But what if there were other methods that could help actually make weight loss easier and well - more bearable?
People often make the mistake of waiting to feel motivated. The hard truth is that you won’t always feel motivated. You won’t always feel inspired.
Yes, external motivators - that perfect dress, your coming high school reunion - can help but they won’t ultimately create the lasting change and the lasting effect you’re looking for. Consider this. What happens after you've worn the dress? You start to relax and ease up on your workouts. What happens after the reunion? You may start sneaking in some not-so-healthy food in your meals.
The main takeaway here is that you don’t wait for people, things or events to get you motivated. You must create your own motivation.
We’re never too old and it’s never too late. Making the most of our next chapter is often about taking very small steps everyday. It doesn’t need to be one big thing. It can be asking ourselves what we will do today towards creating our next chapter. It’s an ONGOING GROWTH. Whatever your life has been, your next chapter is something you could create and become your best one yet.
You’re on a journey to lose weight and have more energy. It’s only been a month but your goals seem miles away. After all, this isn’t just a quick fix to losing those unwanted pounds that have piled up over the year. This is a complete overhaul of your lifestyle – from your daily physical activities all the way to your meal plans. And we both know this could take a long time.
“Once I lose the weight and inches, I’m going to look so good in that dress.”
“I’m going to wear that top and skirt when my waist is more defined.”
If your line of thinking is this way, stop. You can look fabulous even while you’re still working on those goals.
We really are what we eat. Feed yourself a diet compromised of processed foods, drink diet sodas and coffee all day, and believe me you will get depressed. Of course there are many other reasons for depression and you should seek medical advice if you are suffering from this debilitating disease. You can, however, help your body and your mind by feeding it the right foods. More and more studies are coming out that support our abilities to alleviate, if not cure, anxiety, depression, insomnia and a host of other disorders through nutrition.
I am continually amazed at the amount of misinformation out there on how to lose weight: low carb, low fat, high fat, high protein, blood type, body type, the list goes on and all of them claim that THIS is the way you are finally going to lose weight. What’s even worse is that they WILL work, but they’ll only work for a little while and because they work for a little while that’s what ropes you into believing in the diet, and the next diet, and the next one after that.
The same goes for workouts. Women are told to use light weights and do heavy reps so they don’t bulk up, or that a certain type of exercise will give you a long lean look. Maybe you believed that cardio was the secret to losing weight so you go to the gym and spend all your time on the cardio equipment. And what happens? Nothing. You look the same as you did the day you walked into the gym determined to finally lose the extra weight.
If you are reading this, I’m betting that by now you know that quick-fix diets don’t work and you’re ready to do the work that’s needed for lasting results.
Gone are the days when Dad worked 9 to 5 and Mom stayed home raising the children and taking care of the household. In 1967, 49 percent of mothers were stay-at-home moms, according the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Today it is roughly at 29%, and has been on the rise since an all time low in 1999 of only 25% (Pew Research Center) Being a working mom or a single working mom can certainly take its toll on your health as you try to juggle all your responsibilities. Let’s face it; Mom’s put everyone else’s needs first.
But there’s an even bigger drain on women these days as the number of 40 year olds enter the Sandwich Generation. If you haven’t heard of the Sandwich Generation, this is the age group that is taking care of both elderly parents and grown children.
How many times have you tried to lose weight? I don’t know the exact percentage, I’ve read anywhere from 65% up to 97% of the men and women who lost weight gain it all back. And that the average person, by the age of 45 has tried 61 diets! This according to an article in the Huffington Post A new program becomes popular and everyone flocks to the stores, or Internet, to grab a copy of the book, DVD, or new fangled exercise equipment because THIS time, it’s going to work. Because THIS is what I really need to lose weight.
Habits, we’ve all got them. Habits are described in the dictionary as an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary. Good or bad, you can see how it could be difficult to change your ways if you are acting involuntarily or unintentionally.
Have you ever made a conscious decision to stop eating late at night, only to suddenly find yourself sitting on the couch, watching TV and there in your hand is a bowl of ice cream? Or maybe you’re walking in the door to your house after a long day at work, take off your coat, go directly to the pantry and grab a handful of chips. How about during the day when you’re talking to a co-worker who has a bowl of candy on her desk and you ‘unintentionally” eat 4 of them before your conversation is over.
All of these are habits, we do them with out thinking and quite honestly we do them even when we are “thinking”.
“I just don’t have the willpower. I can’t do this.” Does that statement sound familiar? Have you said it to yourself (multiple times)? If so, you’re not alone. This is one of the most common things I hear my clients say to me. And you know what?
Willpower alone doesn’t work.
When I first start working with clients, I find that they’ve been on a number of different diets. They’ve lost weight and gained it back. They say they just can’t stay on a diet or get to the gym every day. They beat themselves up over this.
The thing is, we only have a finite amount of willpower. If you try to rely on it alone, you will end up beating yourself up. It won’t bring you through the long haul.
Lisa Swanson is an ACE certified Health Coach, Personal Trainer and Orthopedic Exercise Specialist as well as a certified PN level 1 nutritionist. With over 30 years experience helping women turn their lives around she can easily adapt programs to meet your specific needs.
Check out my interview with the Magnificent Midlife podcast on staying fit and healthy long-term.