Monday, Jan. 7, 2013—The gym was crowded this morning, like it is every first Monday of every January for the 15 years that I have been going to the gym.
The gym “regulars” tend to be very cynical about the January crowd, betting how long it will take to weed out the “new year’s resolution temps.” And, indeed, it does seem that by Valentine’s Day the resolutions are over, the weight loss goals have evaporated before any fat has had a chance to. Sigh.
I refuse join my cynical gym mates and I refuse to give up on people before they even get started. If you are starting a new year’s resolution to lose weight and exercise, welcome! You can do it. There is no magic, just hard work. Keep reminding yourself that, think of other hard work you have committed to that has led to accomplishment, and that reminder of your capabilities will keep you motivated long past the first Valentine’s Day cards.
Here are some other things to keep in mind:
It is a marathon, not a sprint.
That might sound trite, but trying to go too fast too soon rarely works with health and fitness. I am going out on a limb and saying that it never works. I think most people know this intuitively, and yet in their new year zeal, they set out to accomplish all their diet and exercise goals in the first two weeks of the year. Start your exercise routine slowly, and keep your diet changes realistic so that your body, mind and routine can adjust to the changes. You will see more results in the long run.
Forget who you were, deal with who you are.
It is hard to come to terms with the fact that we “used to be able to …” This is particularly hard for former athletes, but it is very important not to expect the same performance out of your body that you used to get, especially if you have been out of practice for some time or you are comparing yourself to a much younger version of yourself. Circumstances change, time passes, and the body changes, adjust your goals and expectations accordingly.
If you are back to where you started, it did not “work.”
Weight management is 10 percent weight loss and 90 percent weight maintenance. You are not done when you have reached your weight loss goal, and if the method that you used to lose the weight does not help you keep it off, then it does not work, it is not a good diet plan, and you need to find a different one. Do not do the same diet that you did when you lost 50 pounds but put back on more than half the weight.
Educate yourself about yourself, educate yourself about food.
People think that they know themselves better than anyone, if that is true, answer these simple questions about yourself: How many calories do you eat in a typical day? How many calories do you burn? How many calories do you need to eat each day to lose weight? How many calories to maintain your weight? What is your BMI, blood pressure and cholesterol? The answers to these questions are vital to your diet and exercise plan and they need to be answered first so that you can graduate to the next level of education about your diet: what to eatThe more you know about food and your relationship with food, the better prepared you will be to lose weight and keep it off.
If you have any more than 20 pounds to lose, enlist the help of a professional: a doctor, nutritionist, counselor, trainer, support group. It will help you educate yourself, stay focused and be successful.
I could insert a list of well respected diets that have impressive weight loss and maintenance results. There are plenty out there, but any of them need to be chosen correctly based on you, your circumstances and your lifestyle.
People find themselves overweight for many reasons. Some are simply mindlessly overeating. Some are fighting a medical condition. Some are dealing with overwhelming emotions. The possibilities are endless and part of the self discovery that one embarks on when they begin a weight loss journey. Work with someone that can help you be honest about yourself and then help you develop a plan that you can stick with for life. Good luck and see you at the gym tomorrow!
Need help paying for weight loss counseling? If you have a high deductible insurance plan you are eligible to use a Health Savings Account that you fund with pretax dollars to pay for medical expenses not covered by your insurance plan. The list of eligible expenses is quite extensive, see what is covered now.