As an exercise physiologist and an avid exercise enthusiast, I work with all shapes, sizes and skill level. Each individual comes in with goals and resolutions (‘tis the season) and a desire to change their habits or make this year better than the last. Here are a few tips that I give those I work with to help them reach their goals and see results.
- Be realistic in your goal setting. If you love sweets, don’t eliminate them completely. Cut back the amount or change the time of day you eat them. This allows you to indulge every once in a while, but not feel guilty for breaking your goal, which may lead to you quitting. The same goes with exercise. If you aren't doing anything now it will be tough to do things 5-6 times a day.
- Make exercise an everyday part of your routine. If you don’t have it scheduled into your busy schedule it is easy to overlook or forget. Pick an activity you enjoy and set aside time each day for it. You will feel better and get more accomplished with a schedule.
- Don’t focus on the scale, focus on how you feel. Society is numbers driven and so are we when it comes to body weight, weight loss, etc. As you begin an exercise program and/or diet your body adjusts. You may consume more calories, drink more water, and encounter stressful situations, all of which play into your weight loss goals. Give your body a few weeks before you jump on the scale and make sure to measure waist, hips, arms, etc. Although you may not see a big decrease in weight, your body is transforming.
- Diet is even more important than exercise! Repeat, diet is even more important than exercise!
Don’t stress yourself out over counting every single calorie, but be aware you are often consuming more calories than you think. Take a few moments after each meal and write down what you are eating and how much. Throughout the week you may be shocked at what you ate. Also, don’t forget about drinking water. I recommend you carry a water bottle around with you daily and are constantly drinking from it.
- Get more sleep! Sleep helps you build muscle, jumpstart metabolism and accomplish more throughout the day. Despite all you have to do, set a bedtime and go to sleep. Your body will thank you.
Lastly, be consistent. Your body will have ups and downs. There will be times of complete satisfaction and times of disappointment. Continue to work hard and don’t give up.
What are your resolutions and what are you working toward?