I’m a poet and I didn’t even know it… =)
In all seriousness, it’s always a joke that New Years Resolutions are really just to-do lists for the first three weeks of January, but making real change is possible, and it’s in your hands. Success breeds success, so as soon as I started seeing the numbers on the scale go down, which was my version of success since I was trying to lose weight, I got more motivated to stick with the changes and make them long-term lifestyle changes rather than temporary quick-fixes.
Here are my top tips for making this happen for you, too:
1.) Plan Ahead
I cannot stress this one enough. You don’t have to be crazy like me and make a whole weekly meal plan for everything, but have a few healthy options on hand for each meal of the day. If you have super busy weeks, take an hour or two on Sunday to whip up a big batch of stew or chili, some oatmeal, and brown rice or quinoa that you can use throughout the week for meals. Always make sure to have a few key items on hand for quick meals during the week so you can have something on the table in under 10 minutes if need be.
If you go out for lunch during the week, look up a few key places that you go and browse the nutritional information on the website so you have some healthy options in your back pocket when the situation arises. Same thing goes for dinner if you know you’re going out – – look at the menu before you go and make a plan!
Outside of meals, plan when you can add in some activity as well. I always take a look at my week and figure out when I can squeeze my workouts in. Lately, that’s largely been before work because I’ve had my weeknights swamped with plans, and I know if I don’t go before work I won’t have the time to go at all. This hasn’t always been the case for me, so check out this post to see how I transformed myself into a mostly morning exerciser.
2.) Control Your Environment(s)
Think about all the places that you eat. The theory behind this one is that if you don’t have it, you can’t eat it. And this is NOT limited to your kitchen. Think about your desk at work, your car, or anywhere else that temptation arises. If you know you eat at your desk, fill a snack drawer with whole fruit and other portion controlled snacks that you have on hand for when hunger strikes. If you are a car eater – do the same thing so that you’re not tempted with a drive through. If you live with a significant other or kids and they have “their food” that you don’t want to touch, put it in a separate cabinet so that it’s not the first thing you see when you open the pantry.
3.) Set small, attainable goals
One thing that I love about Weight Watchers is how much of a good job the program does with breaking down big goals into smaller ones. When I first started to lose weight, if I thought about 88 pounds as one chunk, there is no way I would have been able to stick with it. Instead, focus on your first 5 pounds, 10 pounds, 5%, 10%, and celebrate each time you hit one of these goals. I know a lot of people roll their eyes at “just five pounds” but I challenge you to go pick up a 5-lb sack of potatoes next time you’re at the grocery store to realize just how much 5 lbs is. And, celebrate each time you meet a goal in a non-food related way. Maybe a manicure, a new book, a bubblebath, a massage, etc.
4.) Celebrate non-scale related goals or victories
There will be times when no matter what you do, the scale won’t do what you want it to. I heard one time that weight loss should be a side effect of treating your body right rather than the goal, and it is really true. Focus on what you CAN control, like working out X times a week, getting X servings of veggies in a day, or getting X hours of sleep per night. When you meet these non-scale related goals, reward yourself just like you would for success on the scale.
5.) Think of healthy living as a positive thing
It’s so easy to get caught up in trying to lose weight and focus on what you can’t have. No french fries, no M&Ms, no nachos, no drinking, etc. Change your mindset. Think about what you can ADD to your life rather than what you must take away. A serving of fruit, an extra glass of water, or a walk a day will go a long way in helping you on your healthiness journey!