We’ve been lead to believe that the more passionately we want something, the more we need to sacrifice. When it comes to weight loss, we’ve also been taught that extreme changes have to happen in order to get to the goal: Take out every piece of carbohydrate there is! Put butter in your coffee and you won't be hungry until dinner! Water with lemon and cayenne is yummy! Um. Yeah. Only if the other ingredient happens to be tequila.
It doesn’t have to be this hard! We can be successful if we shift a few things. Here are 4 ways to make your weight loss life easier:
1. What do you LIKE to eat? Star there. Because if you don’t like what you’re planning on eating, you won’t eat it and, if you’re like me, you’ll rebel and order fried chicken instead.
Here is a basic rundown of how I meal plan:
- What do I feel like eating in the following week? I write down a list of either ingredients or of dishes I’ve had before. I try to start with proteins and vegetables and go from there.
- Find recipes that include the food(s) that you listed. Flip through any cookbooks that match what you’re looking for or head to Pinterest or AllRecipes.com and enter in your keywords (make sure you visit the IzzyFit Pitnterest page!).
- From the recipes you’ve found, make a shopping list.
- Go shopping!
- Make the food!
2. Sometimes, when we want to get after it with weight loss goals, we take on a lot because we are MOTIVATED! But then, that motivation wanes and you find that you’ve pushed yourself into a corner. Don’t put Baby in the corner. Do — GASP — less instead!
When deciding on a new exercise, nutrition or lifestyl habit, ask yourself these questions:
- Am I 90-100% certain I can practice this habit for 7 days? 14 days? 3 months? No? Play around with the frequency or intensity of the habit you’re deciding on (for example: If you don’t feel confident practicing “Going to the gym 5 days per week”, how does your confidence level change if you rephrase it to "Going to the gym 3 days per week"?
- Does integrating this new habit into my life make me feel excited about the positive changes it will bring or do I have to talk myself up to practicing it? If you feel dread, there’s a lot more out there you can work on. For example, if you just HATE the idea of cutting down the amount of chocolate you eat right now, can you find something else in your nutrition you can focus on? Like adding veggies or cutting back on calorie-containing beverages?
- Will this habit make me feel deprived? Yes? Make it less intense (for example, instead of cutting out chocolate completely, can you choose to enjoy one square of chocolate for dessert?).
- Am I just a little bit scared? Am I a lot scared? If you’re the former, great! If the latter, re-tune the habit.
3. Have you ever said, “I hate [insert hated exercise here] with my heart and soul but I know I need to do it"? Here are my questions: Who is telling you you need to do it? Why do you think you need to do it? Do you think there are any other types of exercise you might like? Regarding that last question: I’ll bet you there is! What type of exercise will give you the most results? The one you do the most consistently. Check out the class schedule at a nearby gym (even if you’re not a member; if something strikes your fancy, you could get a day pass and at least try it out); look for specialized studios (Barre, Zumba, rock climbing, kettlebells); check out what your park district has going on. Just because spinning worked for your best friend doesn’t mean it will for you so don’t put pressure on yourself to suffer through it.
4. Have you tried losing weight in a house full of people who can happily eat whatever they want without a care in the world? Or among friends who love dining and drinking all night? I won’t tell you to get a new family or group of friends but I would urge you to seek out a community of people who have similar goals as yours.
Community is one of the necessary elements when it comes to succeeding at something. Why? Because it sure is hard out there alone on Weight Loss Island. Finding a group of like-minded people will not only help you remember why you’re going after your goal in the first place but can also keep you accountable.
There are a LOT of coaching groups out there (CleanSlate28 being one of them). The trick is finding one that’s right for you. While you seek that group out, though, remember to talk with your riends and family so they know exactly what your goals are and why you want or need to reach them and then tell your people specifically what they can do to help you. Communication rocks.
NOW: Go out and build your community on Weight Loss Island and make it a party!