There have been several days in the last week where I sincerely wished life had an “easy button.” I want a giant red button I can hit and skip over all the challenges coming my way, but then I ask myself what an easy button would really accomplish for me? If I use a quick fix my immediate problems disappear, but what’s to stop the same thing from happening again? The idea of an easy button is good in theory, but bad for living. Your life is composed of all the problems you face, as well as your responses to them, and to put it simply, no good can come from a quick fix solution.
I shared a while back that I am on a focused, goal-oriented regimen to bring my weight, BMI, and overall healthy feeling back to where I am comfortable. Too many people see weight loss and health issues as short terms goals that an 8 week diet and bootcamp can fix. I’m here to remind you that this process should be a lifestyle change, and anything that tells you different (or promises you immediate “unbelievable” results) is trying to be your life’s “easy button.” You don’t want easy, you want long-lasting results and a healthier you. I’ve put together some dos and don’ts from my experience that can hopefully help you…
DO drink water. I still have a post coming about this, but in general, water is a crucial component to weight loss. Ever notice how most “miracle pills” suggest you take them before eating with 1 8oz glass of water? Yeah, because after you drink a whole cup of water your tummy is just a little more full, and in turn leads to you eating smaller portions. Staying hydrated also helps with overall energy. If you have a headache or are feeling drowsy-drink a cold one (water), and I promise you’ll perk up!
DON’T fall for the fad diets. A whole post needs to be dedicated to the shortcomings of all of these, but the main takeaway is that they just aren’t sustainable–or at least not enjoyably sustainable. You tell yourself you’ll do it for 3 months to get down to your ideal weight, but as soon as you revert back to your old eating patterns, the pounds race back. In the end, there really isn’t such a thing as long-term dieting. It’s called a “lifestyle” change.
DO find ways to monitor your progress. If you have no way to gauge your success, chances are you will lose interest and motivation at an alarmingly fast rate. So find something and monitor it–weight, fitness testing (preferred), inches, size, etc.
DON’T obsess over this monitoring. I am an exercise physiologist and despite having a masters level understanding of human physiology, I still found myself stepping on my scale every day, and sometimes to my horror, TWICE a day. A week in I caught myself in this pattern and realized my mood of the moment was entirely dependent on what number that little plastic machine spat out. This is NOT the way to live. If you are getting healthier the right way–you shouldn’t see daily changes. Let me repeat, if you are making healthy changes, you should not see daily fluctuations. Now that you know this simple physiological fact, join me in taking the power back from that scale. Sure, monitor your progress (maybe weekly), but do not obsess.
DO change your routine. While nutrition plays a huge component in trying to be a healthier you, so does what you do everyday. If your nutrition changes but activity stays the same, your results not be quite what you’d expect them to be. Take a few extra steps each day. I’ve found myself wanting something from the store for dinner and rather than hopping in my car, I walked the 3/4s of a mile. I use a fitbit (a fancy step counter) and this extra bit of walking significantly increased my step count, and by proxy, my calorie expenditure.
DON’T quit. This is a lifestyle change. By definition you can’t quit–how would one even quit their “lifestyle? Results don’t ever come as quickly as we want them, but you have to stick with the changes in order to ever see them. Find a plan you can stick with (2000 extra steps a day, one less 10pm snack a day, etc), and make it part of your life. If the change becomes habit, you don’t have to worry about yo-yoing back to where you were.
Do enjoy the process. If you hate every minute of your small changes, you need to find new ones. Remember, the changes you make are for life, and who wants to live their life grumpy and hungry. Find changes that work and make you feel good about them.
So there are my tips, and trust me when I say they are “tried and true” (some by me, but all by many). Remember the most important thing is to view this as a lifestyle. There is no quick fix, no miracle pill and no easy button. There is just you and how you live. So live like you want to live the rest of your life (literally).