Most people fail at their fitness goals because they’re waiting for something spectacular to happen. Losing weight isn’t always a spectacular process…in fact, it isn’t even a linear process sometimes. What you may find is that you lose a little, gain a little and repeat the process again and again.
There are no shortcuts to weight loss so, even if you’re frustrated that your body hasn’t changed, don’t give up. If you’re burning more calories than you eat, your body is changing, even if it’s slower than you’d like. Make sure your goals are realistic and, most importantly, that you give your body the time it needs to respond to what you’re doing. It can be weeks, often months before changes start to show.
Stop Waiting for a Miracle
Some people think if they exercise long enough, they’ll wake up one day and suddenly love exercising and eating healthy. While it does get easier, you’ll always have to find ways to motivate yourself for your workouts. If you’re waiting for a shining moment of excitement, you might be waiting for a long time.
Lose the Excuses
Every day is different. What motivated you yesterday may not work today, so sift through what inspires you to find that one thing that will get you out the door. It may be pants you want to fit into or competing with your friend (he’s working out—you don’t want to fall behind, do you?). Before you skip your workout, try these ideas to get moving:
- Remind yourself that you’ll feel good about yourself if you finish your workout
- Tell yourself that you’ll just warm up and if you want to stop, you can
- Remind yourself that this workout will give you more energy for the rest of your day
- Tell yourself that if you finish this workout, you can spend some time reading, watching TV, or playing around on the computer
Open Your Mind
Being bored is the perfect time to try something new. You’ll be more willing to try things you may have dismissed because they didn’t fit within your definition of exercise. It could be belly dancing, a Latin dance class or that spinning class at the gym. Or try something more mind/body like Pilates or yoga.
If what you’re doing isn’t working, it’s time to find something that will. Sometimes even just a new piece of equipment or a workout is enough to get you moving again. Try an outdoor circuit to switch things up, do a workout with your foam roller, or take your yoga practice to your exercise ball.
Track Your Progress
One simple way to stay motivated is to look back on how far you’ve come. Keeping a simple calendar of the workouts you’ve done gives you something tangible you can happily flip through, adding up all the days you exercised. Plus, knowing you have to write your accomplishments down may give you that extra push you need to get moving.
Regularly weighing yourself, taking measurements, getting your body fat tested or even doing your own fitness and endurance tests can help you stay on track. It’ s also helpful to be aware of other ways that you are progressing in your program. Maybe your clothes fit looser, or perhaps you don’t get quite as winded during an exercise session or while walking up the stairs. A progress chart or journal is a great way to track how you’re doing.
If your child doesn’t do his homework, there are consequences. The same should be true of sticking with exercise. If you don’t do your workouts, there should be a consequence. Have someone hold you accountable or take away something you enjoy until you get back on track. Another idea is to think of the long-term consequences of not exercising:
- Gaining weight
- Feeling bad about yourself
- Possible health problems like diabetes or heart disease
- Lower quality of life
- Not being a good role model for your family
- Not being able to do all the things you enjoy