It seems as though spring is upon us, and with it comes the threat of bikini season looming over the horizon. The thought of trying the latest fad diet or diet shake program can seem tempting in order to lose weight fast. But, what about keeping it off? And what about making sure you lose fat and not muscle or bone mass?
The fact is that the only changes you should make to your diet are ones you can maintain for life. If you want to lose weight, if you want to get healthy and if you want to stay fit, make small goals and stick with them. This doesn’t sound nearly as appealing as a diet shake that promises you’ll effortlessly shed pounds. Also, if you take the pictures in ads for the latest and greatest diet program as any indication, you’ll also be happier, find love and have a better life if you can only lose those 20lbs of baby weight you’ve had hanging on for the last 10 years.
We all wish there was a magic solution that could give us the body we want, but we have to stop blaming the body we have and learn to take care of it rather than punishing it for not looking like we want it to. You only get one body and you can’t trade it in for a new one when you turn fifty, so you have to treat it well. Not everyone is built to look like the Hollywood standard of beauty and we need to learn to accept our bodies as they are, but that doesn’t mean that unhealthy should become the new standard. You should also bear in mind that thin doesn’t equal healthy. Striving to be your healthiest regardless of what shape or size you are is the goal you need to aim for. Start by eating better and being active and the weight loss will follow. So, if you want to get healthy this spring, here’s how to get started:
Set a Goal
It doesn’t need to be a big goal, it just needs to be something that will focus you and keep you motivated. It is best if this goal isn’t a number on the scale, because remember that the scale doesn’t tell the whole story. Your goal should be reflective of your weaknesses. If you skip breakfast every morning, make it your goal to eat breakfast every day. If you spend your evenings snacking on the couch, make it your goal to get out for an after supper walk instead. Regardless of what your weakness is your goal should be specific; avoid vague goals such as ‘I’m going to eat more vegetables’, and make it a more specific goal, such as ‘I’m going to have a salad with my supper every night’.
Stick With It
Change is hard and for most people it takes at least four weeks before a new behaviour becomes habit. Set an alarm to remind yourself to do whatever you’ve planned to do. Recruit your spouse or a friend to challenge themselves with a goal of their own and then keep each other on track. Keep a progress journal. Blog about it. Post it on Facebook. Whatever you need to do in order to keep it up.
No, not with food. You’re not a dog. After those first four weeks give yourself a reward, whether that’s a new pair of shoes, or a day to yourself while your sister watches the kids. If you and your spouse or a friend have been motivating each other and keeping each other on track, buy one another a present or go out to see a show together. After you’re done celebrating your successes, it’s time to set a new goal and get another step closer to living a healthier life.