So, you want to get healthy? Good for you! You’re already at the second phase of making it a habit by reading this article. The first is just thinking about it and the second is actually putting pen to paper (or eyes to screen). There are 3 things to do right now that will help you so much in the long run.
- Eliminate any anticipated timelines you expect to reach your goals. Most of this comes from infomercials and Instagram and are not realistic.
- Don’t call it a diet. It’s a lifestyle change, and it’s hard work. Not the type of thing you want to do twice…trust me.
- Write down your schedule. I promise you the people who plan out their schedule Sat-Sun are much more productive. It doesn’t have to be exact, but pretty close. You won’t have to do it forever. Eventually working out and eating healthy will come naturally to you. What you want to schedule is meal prepping and gym time around work, school, and family.
Something I want to mention briefly is this is something that will require the support of your spouse or partner. Let’s be honest, it’s almost impossible to eat a salad while everyone else has pizza. Hopefully, they are doing it with you, and you two can support each other, but if they aren’t, it’s important to explain how things are going to change and how you need their support to ensure your success.
Finding a gym
If you are not already a member of a gym, it’s time to find one. Working out at home is hard, even for the most dedicated fitness professionals. I can’t stress your proximity to the gym enough. Hopefully, you are in an area with lots of gyms to choose from, and you can choose one close to your house. Don’t go for all the frills like saunas, or basketball courts. What you need is a quick 5-8 minute drive from your house. Bonus points if it is on your normal drive home.
Scheduling the gym
Scheduling the gym is something that you will play around with for the next few weeks. Are you more of a morning person or a night person? If you have work from 8am-5pm, Mon-Fri you will either go before work or after work. I know right now both those times sound horrible, but if you can stick it out, it will get much easier. I always vote to go in the morning, but I am the type of person that is less likely to go to the gym as the day progresses. Fatigue, hunger, and a lack of motivation normally win as I drive right past the gym in the evening. Also, the gym is much more manageable in the morning. The crowd is much easier to navigate around, and there are less people than at 6 pm.
While you are first starting, don’t expect every workout to be top-notch. About 1.5 weeks in, the motivation will start to leave, and the very act of going to the gym is painful. Here’s what you do when this starts to happen. Go anyway! When your alarm goes off for work or school, do you shrug it off and go back to bed? No, those are not optional in most peoples’ lives. Don’t make the gym optional make it a requirement. Even if all you do is go and walk on the treadmill, half the battle is just getting there.
Let me let you in on a little secret why people can’t keep the weight off. We are conditioned for instant gratification in all areas of our lives but especially for eating. Both sit-down and fast-food restaurants have ruined the concept of cooking dinner nightly. When I was training what I would hear constantly is that no one wanted to go home and cook dinner after working, wife-ing, mom-ing, and whatever else they have going on. The best way to eliminate this is by prepping all your meals. When you’re first getting started, they don’t even have to be healthy meals. They just have to be cooked at home.
Obviously healthy is ideal, but it takes a bit of time to ween off of the sugar your body is used to. I go into this more in another post about detoxing from sugar. I also want to point out that healthy doesn’t mean salads for every meal. I love a good salad, and I can’t even do that. Take some time and make some Pinterest boards about some new fun meals to try.
In your schedule, draw out what everyone is going to eat each night and pick one day to cook all of it. Cue the eye rolls for the leftover haters (I’ve never understood this, I love leftovers). This will also take some playing around. Mostly regarding portions and having enough to feed your whole tribe. Don’t forget lunch! Your wallet and your waistline will love you for meal prepping.
Finally, you’ve gotten a gym membership, scheduled the gym, got the cute gym clothes, Bluetooth headphones, and an awesome water bottle. Your refrigerator is full, and your family supports you 100%! So, you get to the gym, now what? For gym newbies walking into a gym is very overwhelming. If this is you, take a deep breath and go for a walk on the treadmill to get your bearings. Pinterest and Instagram are excellent resources for finding good workout routines, and most of them help you learn form as well. If this isn’t enough, then consider hiring a trainer. I have an entire post on what to look for in a good trainer. Trainers help you get familiar with the gym, and they also keep you honest. Making an appointment is a great way to make sure you will actually go.
The last thing I want to point out is that behavioral scientists have found that it takes 28 days of doing something to make it a habit. Make this your first goal, 28 days of exercise in the first 6 weeks. After that make a new goal, always short term in the beginning, so they are easier to obtain. As far as weight loss, a healthy goal, according to the CDC, is 1-2 pounds a month with healthy diet and exercise.
Be good to yourself, this is a rough road, and you need to support yourself instead of break yourself down.