How Are Those New Year’s Resolutions Coming Along?
Now that we’re well into February, it’s a good time to think about whether or not you have achieved the goals you set at the start of 2015. Did you stick to your plans, or did you set unrealistic expectations that were doomed to end in failure?
Getting in shape is probably the number one goal for the vast majority of society. Feeling healthy, exuding more confidence, and having a kick-ass body is what it’s about- and this is absolutely obtainable for anyone. I believe there are better ways of going about achieving these goals than the conventional crash diets, and taking a smarter approach to your goals will ultimately lead to a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle.
I come from a family that absolutely loves to eat. Our entire holiday season and family get-togethers are centred completely around food. What’s for dinner? Where are we going to eat? I love food, but I also know that an extra-large pizza with cheese and Mom’s cabbage rolls are treats, and should not necessarily be eaten on a regular basis.
Over the years, I’ve learned that one of the key success factors for getting into shape and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is learning to say “no”. I still struggle with this- my eyes are bigger than my stomach! If you’re invited over to a friend’s place and they serve nachos and offer you a cold one, you should be mindful of your goals while still allowing yourself to indulge moderately.
So how can you go about staying committed to your goals and making them realistic, sustainable, and achievable?
Let’s say your goal is to get in shape. Okay, think about this goal. What are you willing to do to achieve it? Are you able to set aside time from your week to make this happen? Are you self-motivated? What are you willing to try?
I hear this a lot from people,”I don’t like the gym…I can’t work out on my own… I don’t have time.” Well then, do you think you’re out of luck? I don’t think so. If the gym isn’t for you, consider hiking, swimming, dancing, yoga, baseball, tennis, martial arts, dirt biking, rowing…the list goes on and on. There is always some activity you can try to get you moving. For instance, I do ballet, bellydance, and jazz as my go-to workouts. You’re never too old to try something new (I started ballet when I was 29!). I had never done ballet as a child and always wanted to try it, so I meet every Wednesday with a bunch of likeminded older women. We have a great time together and it’s a terrific leg workout!
Ask yourself what your typical day consists of. Do you watch TV? Do you have kids to look after? What time have you set aside for you? Having a weekly scheduled plan can really help keep you on track with your goals. You should make your goals realistic to your lifestyle. Having a friend to work out with is just one way to motivate you to stay on track. Try to incorporate a few active things into your day and find a buddy to help keep you accountable.
Another big mistake I think a lot of people make is over setting goals and expectations. You might decide, “I’m going to workout every day for the next month and have no cheat meal.” Well now that’s just crazy! If you’re going from somewhat sedentary living to full-on athlete mode, don’t you think you might burn yourself out too fast? There are seven days in a week; start by incorporating three days of exercise for one month. Then, the following month, add a day and so on. This can help you keep on track without burning yourself out.
Learn to stay committed! I went to the best concert last night and was up until 12 am, but I knew I also had to be up at 5:45 am for training. Why? Because I’m committed and I know that my friends that attend bootcamp with me would kick my butt if I didn’t show up. Another plus for having friends with likeminded lifestyles is that they can help push you and keep you focused and motivated.
I’m often asked, “I want to lose weight – what should I not eat?”.
This can be achieved by setting out a plan for your meals, just like your training schedule, which will help you keep a good balance. FOOD is definitely my biggest weakness. It’s hard not to order a giant burger and fries when I go out for lunches or dinner with friends or family. Yes, I do indulge and I’m all for it, but pick only certain meals and days that you would like to do this.
Monday and Tuesday- six clean meals : 40% lean protein, 30% greens, and 30% complex carbohydrates (40/30/30)
Wednesday morning/ lunch (40/30/30) then dinner meal of your choice
Thursday and Friday: (40/30/30)
Saturday and Sunday- same as Wednesday with dinner meal of your choice
This is a good way to start and will not overwhelm you. I do know that once you start eating “clean” more often, you’ll definitely feel differently after eating a cheat meal.
You can also use tools such as Fitbit to track your meals and progress (I love this app!). As well, there are so many cool, guilt-free recipes online that are good for you. My cooking with protein app, Mrs. Cannon’s Baking, includes everything from peanut butter cookies to guilt-free ice cream and can definitely help you clean up your diet while still indulging.
Remember: you can be your biggest fan or your worst critic…choose wisely. Don’t be so hard on yourself. You can do it, and if you fall off the wagon for a few days, it’s okay… the wheels will keep turning when you decide you’re ready to hop back on and achieve your fitness goals.