With Christmas about a month away and New Year’s not far behind, it’s time to ponder your New Year’s resolutions. One of the most common themes is often losing weight or getting in better shape. This article will give you a few things to keep in mind when setting those fitness goals.
Set Realistic Goals
Deciding you want to lose weight or get in better shape is stressful to say the least. For some people it’s a serious undertaking, possibly changing the way they eat, as well as what they do during the day. No matter what your background is or what your fitness goals are, it’s important that they are attainable. Realistically you can lose a maximum of about three pounds per week in a healthy fashion. There are other quick fixes that claim to help you lose more and some may work over the short term. Unfortunately, more often than not you end up putting that weight right back on once you finish the program. If you are looking for a sustainable healthy way to lose weight, roughly one and a half pounds per week would be a realistic goal. Keeping that in mind, you want to give yourself an adequate timeline to accomplish your goals. Losing three pounds per week is the ideal situation so you need to account for the fact that no one is perfect. There will be ups and downs and you most certainly won’t be able to lose three pounds per week every week like clockwork. This is a marathon not a sprint; make sure you set incremental goals along the way.
Eating is an incredibly touchy subject. What to eat, when to eat it, how much to eat, how little to eat; the list of questions is as endless as it is overwhelming. As someone who has had a negative relationship with food in the past, let me tell you it’s no fun. Feeling like you can’t eat certain foods, feeling terrible about yourself if you do, and having to exercise even harder to make up for it is not a healthy way to live. I am a big believer in the 80/20 rule: 80% of what you eat is healthy and 20% isn't quite as healthy as the 80%. For me, this is a simple and delicious way to manage what you eat. When it comes to losing weight the simple way to think about it is you need to expend more calories than you take in. That’s it, simple addition and subtraction. That being said you need to eat a healthy amount of food; you can’t eat 500 calories a day and be healthy. It’s easy to figure out roughly how much you should be eating with so many different websites and free apps for your phone (MyFitnessPal, RunKeeper, Lose It! etc.). Some of the apps will even break down the amount of protein, carbs and fats you should be eating. All you have to do is scan a product barcode and the information in the app will be updated. Eat healthy the majority of the time and when you want to have pizza, don’t feel bad about it.
Listen To Your Body
By this I mean learning the difference between being sore and needing a day off and simply put, it's all about finding the right balance for you. Your body is going to hurt in places it has never hurt before, however if you stop exercising every time you’re sore you might only workout once a week. There will be days when you are sore, and there will be days when you don’t want to go to the gym. Know that doing something is always better than doing nothing. You went to the gym three days in a row and your body is sore, you’re really tired and the last thing you want to do is squat. That’s fine, grab a coffee and go for a walk, go play catch with some friend’s, or maybe go to the mall. Getting up and moving will not only burn some calories but will also help your body recover and feel better the next day so you can go crush those squats. Personally, I usually train three days on and rest one day, but other people do it differently. Just like the 80/20 rule for nutrition, you want to be active more days than inactive.
You can go much more in depth on all of these topics, but if you’re just getting started this should help you. At the very least I hope this article will give you some food for thought.