Every girl has at one point tried to either (1) get in shape (2) eat healthier or (3) lose weight. Despite our best intentions, there can be a million factors (i.e. stress, school, work, relationships) that spiral us off course, trigger unhealthy habits, or cause feelings of depression, anger and frustration.
The truth is: there will always be challenges in your life, and your success lies in how you handle them!
Through personal and professional experience in health, fitness and weight loss, I’ve learned that the following 5 strategies are crucial components of ANY successful health and fitness plan.
When you plan for what’s ahead, you are able to create solutions for challenges that would otherwise set you off course (allowing for consistency). Pre-planning means you are ready to stop making excuses and ready to start seeing results!
Tip: Pick a day of the week to cook larger quantities of food for the week, so that you will not be tempted to eat out, skip a meal or graze on snacks and soda.
Tip: Make sure to allot 1-2 times per week to load up on fresh veggies, fruits and produce (I truly look forward to my weekly Trader Joe’s visits!). A full, fresh fridge = strength and self-control.
Tip: Pack your lunch the night before, including healthy snacks to keep you sustained every 2-3 hours (ex: 1 serving either fruit, protein, veggies).
Tip: Factor in exercise when planning out your meetings and activities. Have a late meeting on Thursday? A potluck Friday at lunch? Plan to get up earlier for exercise on those days, and make sure to have your own healthy food available for tempting meal settings.
It’ s easy to stray off course if you are not mentally and physically committed to your plan.
Tip: Keep a food diary! This was the #1 way my former clients were able to successfully lose weight.
Tip: Write down everything you’re eating, as well as how you are feeling during each major meal period. You will notice trends in your eating habits and your emotional triggers. I think it’s especially effective to write these things down with pen & paper.
Tip: Recruit a friend or family member to join you on your plan, or establish a day of the week that you will check in with someone to discuss progress from the week to follow up on your goals.
One of the most effective ways to enact change is to constantly reaffirm (and inspire) your own positive image of yourself.
Tip: Along with your food diary, it’s important to write down weekly goals you’d like to accomplish. Make sure to also write down the benefits you will receive as a result of achieving each goal.
Tip: Pinterest is a great place for inspiration and motivation: pin quotes, recipes of workouts that will improve the quality of your cooking, jazz up your exercises and improve your state of mind.
Tip: If you need to lose weight for health reasons, or want to get more toned—recording your inches every few weeks is a great way to stay motivated without getting discouraged.
Communicating the need for support
One of the top reasons for straying off track is due to peer pressure or a lack of understanding from those around you. If your goals are important to you and they will improve your life, it’s on YOU to be strong and communicate your goals to those around you.
Tip: If adjusting your personal health habits means changing your social habits—have a conversation with your friend, boyfriend or family before hand, and explain why you are committing to lifestyle changes and explain that you would love their support.
Tip: For those friends or family that aren’t going to understand why you are eating healthier or drinking less, create a strong “pitch” that they can’t argue with (i.e. “I’m making an effort to change some personal health habits and I’ve been feeling really great, so that’s why I’m going to stick to soda tonight!”).
If you haven’t yet, take a look at my article about the importance of “being kind to yourself.” Studies show that the most successful and productive people regularly practice self-compassion!
Tip: If you are feeling down, write a letter of encouragement to yourself, just as if you are offering advice to a friend.
Tip: Have you made bit of progress in your routine and feeling great? setting mini-rewards for yourself are really important. Think about what is healthy AND will make you feel great, such as pedicures, fresh flowers, candles, massages, etc.
Making healthy changes can feel daunting, but I swear it gets A LOT easier as you adjust your habits over time. Want to feel great about yourself? Stay focused, be realistic and always keep these 5 strategies in mind.
YOU CAN DO IT!!