It happens every January.
Thousands of people resolve to get in shape in the new year. Fitness centres see line-ups out the door filled with motivated people all waiting for their turn to hit the elliptical machines, decked out head to toe in their brand-new, super cute, top-of-the-line athletic apparel. You see the “regular” gym-rats frustrated by “tourists”, avoiding the gym altogether.
And then, two weeks later, the crowd thins by 50%. Four weeks later, another 50% cut out, and by the second week of February it’s back to normal.
So where do all the newbies go?
The sad truth is: They quit.
But why do they quit?
It’s a mixture of 5 things:
1. Too busy/don’t have time.
2. Didn’t see results.
3. The “Ache”
4. Just got over it.
5. The gym was too crowded (lol)
Don’t let this discourage you though. Instead, make a different plan. Resolve to get fit … but give yourself until December 2017.
Now you have an entire year to attain your goal. And instead of hitting the gym right away, start slow, work your way up to it with a series of easy-to-attain goals.
Don’t do anything drastic. Cutting all carbs can lead to guilt, cravings, and “shame eating”, which is absolutely silly.
If you eat at McDonald’s every day, resolve to eat the D’s once a week…and by December, only as a treat (or maybe never again).
Can’t live without that Double-Double? Try switch to a “Regular” for January, and then maybe “Regular with milk” in February, and then maybe by May you’ll be taking it “Black”.
Remember you’re giving yourself a year to do this, and in my experience it only takes about a week to get used to a new style of coffee.
Walk don’t run.
That’s not just a metaphor. I actually mean walk.
Running is the best way to burn calories, no doubt about it. But, it’s a high-impact exercise that can wreak havoc on your knees, ankles, shins and hips.
Try taking some slow winter walks, every couple days, and then daily. When Spring rolls around and the sidewalks and trails are safe. Check out the FREE Couch to 5k program. It’s the perfect balance of walking/jogging/running and before you know it, you’ll be running 5k!
I know your life is busy. But have a good look at what’s eating up your time. Do you absolutely HAVE to watch The Bachelor?
If so, do you absolutely HAVE to sit on the couch and drink wine while you watch it? Is there some space in front of the television to throw down some planks?
Cut out the vino.
Yes, a glass of wine a day has its benefits. However, a BOTTLE of wine a day…doesn’t increase those benefits four-fold (unfortunately).
This very short article is a great description of what alcohol does to your body.
Try going an entire week without alcohol and see how you feel. That you can do right away.
By the end of the year, try to only consume alcohol on special occasions (like The Bachelor Mondays) or not at all.
This step might be one of the hardest. But start slow, cut a little here and there and feel the difference!
Avoid the scale.
That SOB scale does more harm than good. Even if you completely understand the fluctuations of weight loss…it can be absolutely demoralizing to see that you’ve gained weight, especially when you’ve been trying everything!! (Notice in the fluctuation graph – after one week of dieting and exercise she was almost right back to her starting weight.)
Here’s another example of why the scale lies. The Woosh Effect
As your fat cells break down, they fill up with water, once the fat has completely dissolved the water will flush out of your system…and when it does, you will feel leaner and meaner than ever before. But you don’t need a scale for any of that! You can feel it, and see it!
In keeping with the theme of long term goals…if you’re doing all of the above at your own pace, you might want to check the scale once every couple months. Other than that, hide it in a closet.
I know it’s hard, but it can be done.
See you out at the gym, on the trail, or at Menchies!
About the author
I started my own weight loss journey in March 2015 at 205lbs. I went for a run. I made it 2k and it took me 12:49. That night I had trouble breathing all night, but my body never felt better. The next day, I went out and tried again. I made it a full 5k, sure I walked most of it. But I wanted to set a benchmark. After that, I could easily track my progress by shaving off a few seconds every run. By October I had lost 20lbs and came in 21st place in my first 5K MEC Race. In April 2016, I was down to 165lbs and placed 13th. I’ve since dedicated my time to gym-style training with my eyes on making the top 10 in 2017. It was a slow process but I wouldn’t have been able to do it if I felt forced or pressured, it had to be based on my own pace, progress, and rewards.