Exercise and Weight Loss Strategies: Finding a Routine that Works for You
When it comes to weight loss plans, one size does not fit all – not by a long shot! We all have different metabolisms, different eating habits, different exercise routines and different lifestyles, and one person’s miracle weight loss plan may be another’s abject failure. Before embarking on any weight loss venture, it’s important to evaluate your goals, your lifestyle, your strengths and weaknesses, and find a plan that you can stick with. Don’t think of it so much as a diet but as a lifestyle change.
Choose Reasonable Goals
There aren’t very many of us out there that wouldn’t like to lose, say, 50 pounds or more, but let’s be reasonable; that’s probably not going to happen. It’s easier if you start small, because otherwise, with such an ambitious goal before us, we’re more likely to get discouraged and give up. When you set out to climb a mountain, you don’t keep your eyes focused on the mountain peak; instead you focus on the path in front of you, occasionally glancing up at the next rise to assess your progress.
Similarly, start out by deciding to lose 5 pounds. Give yourself two weeks to do it, and outline a diet and exercise plan to achieve that goal. After all, you can stick with anything for just two weeks! When you reach your goal, give yourself a little reward – a nice dinner out, a new outfit, a spa day or whatever. You’ll feel so good that you’ll be ready to proceed to your next goal. Remember; you’re making a lifestyle change. Just like with AA, sometimes you have to take it one day at a time, one week at a time, and one hill at a time.
Assess Your Lifestyle
Whether it pertains to your diet or your exercise plan, if it doesn’t fit into your lifestyle you won’t keep it up. Do you have the time to prepare special diet meals, or would it be more convenient to order pre-made ones? Whole, natural foods are great, but who’s got time for all the prep work? Find a diet plan with lots of options so that you can choose the kinds of foods that you like and preparation plans that fit into your lifestyle.
The same goes for your exercise plan. Do you have time to get to a gym? Do you prefer the motivation of a boot camp type of class? Working out with others who share your goals can be very motivational; and they’re liable to notice if you skip a session. Find ways to incorporate more physical activity into your daily life, whether it’s walking or biking to work, taking the stairs, walking the neighbor’s dog – or getting a dog of your own. You may have to get a little creative, but every bit counts. Get a pedometer and keep track of how many steps you take on a daily basis.
Strengths and Weaknesses
Take advantage of your strengths to maximize your results. If you have good willpower, you may be able to live with a more restricted diet now and again, to help you get past plateaus. If you like to exercise, consider bumping up your workouts to higher calorie-burning sessions every so often to help you reach your next goal.
Forestall any failures by knowing your weaknesses and being ready for them. Don’t keep candy, cake and cookies in the house if you have an uncontrollable sweet tooth. If you don’t like to exercise, plan your workouts with a friend so that you won’t be able to skip it without a pretty good explanation.
When you do have failures, and you will, forgive yourself and resolve to try harder. And don’t forget to reward your successes. Just as with climbing the mountain, you need to stop and catch your breath at the top of each rise, take a break, look around and enjoy the view for a bit!
Valerie Johnston is a health and fitness writer located in East Texas. With ambitions of one day running a marathon, writing for Healthline.com ensures she keeps up-to-date on all of the latest health and fitness news.