I’ve been asked that question many times and the answer depends on some of the following variables:
What motivates you?
Are you new to exercise?
Do you have any physical limitations?
How old are you and what is your fitness level?
I will cover each of these four variables in this beginner series. In addition, I will list a few books for you to take a look at throughout the articles. So let’s move right into the 1st variable – What motivates you?
I ask this question first because nothing else matters if you aren’t motivated enough to stick with whatever exercise program you decide to commit to doing. How often have you joined a gym and quit? How many times have you promised yourself you would lose the weight and didn’t? How many diets have you been on and lost the weight only to gain it back and more?
Motivation is hard to keep up with when you aren’t really committed to being healthy. I am being realistic when I say that a person who truly wants to succeed must have a much deeper reason in order to stay the course and reach the goal which shouldn’t be about the weight but ultimately about being healthy.
I agree whole heartedly with Brad Lamm author of Just 10 LBS when he talks about weight loss but not just about the what of eating but the how and why. Brad says “managing weight isn’t only about doing crunches, running miles, or cutting calories; in fact, one of the most powerful parts of success is generally overlooked-a healthy relationship with oneself.”
Digging deeper and discovering the why of your weight gain can help you succeed far better than if you just want to lose the weight. If you don’t address the emotions that are tied to your weight gain and the reasoning behind the scenes, then you may be setting yourself up for failure.
Let’s take a look at the questions I asked earlier:
How often have you joined a gym and quit? Here are some of the reasons my clients have used. I don’t like the gym, it’s stinky. There are a bunch of men there trying to act macho. I can never get on a machine. It’s just not convenient for me. Everyone is skinny. I’m uncomfortable. Everyone is looking at me. All may be viable reasons for not staying, Ok, but why did you join in the first place or the second time or any time after that? Sounds like the gym just isn’t the place for you and finding out what will work for you may be by trial and error.
How many times have you promised yourself you would lose the weight and didn’t?
Making promises and then breaking them sets you up for failure. Making smaller goals and taking one step at a time may be a better way to start your program. If you are substantially overweight then start with smaller goals that you can keep such as; I am going to eat less fill in the blank and when you feel you have succeeded, then take other steps toward a bigger goal.
How many diets have you been on and lost the weight only to gain it back and more?
Concentrating solely on how much weight you want to get rid of can be a losing battle. Making healthier choices such as walking on your break instead of talking to someone at their desk will move you toward your goals of healthier living. With each new healthier choice you make, weight loss will naturally occur. If you can follow the cabbage diet, then the no fat diet, then the only meat diet and onto the protein only diet. Then you can choose to follow the eating a healthy food plan and not a diet.
A diet was never meant to be followed forever, which is why a person can’t stick to them. Learning to eat healthier by not cutting out a whole food group will help you in your overall plan. Becoming more aware of what you eat, when you eat it and why you eat creates a recipe for success. Wini Linguvic author of Lean, Long & Strong talks about mindful eating and says “Of course, it’s hard to pay attention to every bite we eat, but becoming more mindful will mean fewer binges, fewer calories, and less guilt.”
Being realistic about the reasons behind why you want to lose the weight will take you closer to success than just trying to lose the weight.
In the second part of this series I will talk about the second variable – Are you new to exercise?