If you read the latest post “New Year. New You.” you have probably started thinking of what your resolutions are going to be for the new year. A common theme to many resolutions is centered on fitness. Whether it be to lose weight, run a marathon, or maintain your current body weight, we all have fitness goals. We set these goals, but how often are we successful in achieving them? What do we do to ensure success? Here are 5 tips to make this year’s resolutions a reality.
1. Set Clear Goals. How are you going to know you achieved, or did not achieve, your goal if it isn’t clear what the goal is. For example, if you want to “lose weight,” what is the end goal? 20 pounds? 50 pounds? Know what your goal is, so that you can find a path to achieve it.
2. Create An Action Plan. Let’s say we created the goal of “I want to lose 20 pounds by December 31, 2016.” Now what? If we have this goal, we have the information that we need to create an action plan. We know the timeframe and the amount of pounds, now we just need the plan. This is where we can help.
In creating your plan to lose and keep off the 20 pounds, remember this simple fact: 3500 Calories equals one pound.
This means that in one week, you can lose 1 pound if you have 500 less calories each day than your average metabolic rate. Most people require around 2,000 Calories per day. So how do we cut 500 Calories each day? You could workout with the goal of burning 250 Calories, while eating 250 less calories, thus 500 less for that day. If you continue this for a week, you should lose about 1 pound. When you look at weight loss as a science, the mystery is taken away. There is no magic pill you can take. It is calculated and comes back to our simple equation of 3500 Calories = 1 pound.
Plan your workouts for the week, as well as your food, so that you are prepared. Weight loss, just like any other project, requires a clear plan and commitment to be successful. There are numerous apps that can help you track your workouts and your calories eaten for the day. One that we have used with success is My Net Diary. Find what works for you and stick with it.
3. Have a partner. The support of others plays a huge role in achieving goals. An ideal situation would be having a workout partner. You can support, motivate, and relate to each other as you work towards your goals. If you don’t have someone that can be your workout partner, find a group or individual that you can share your journey with. It may be someone from a workout class at the gym, a coworker, or a family member with a similar goal. No matter who the person is, having someone as your partner in achieving your goal will foster increased accountability and a sense of community to keep you motivated and focused. A partner can also make it a little more fun and promote some friendly competition.
4. Realistic moderation. To be successful, you must do everything in moderation. This means what you eat and what you do for your workouts. Extremes are always a bad idea in that they cannot be maintained. Be smart with what you are eating, and be realistic with yourself. If you currently have poor eating habits, it is going to be difficult to completely shift how and what you eat. So be gradual in your changes. Start with focusing on the amount of Calories you are taking in, and then begin to adjust what you are eating to be more “clean” foods: fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and other unprocessed foods. If this is a serious life change, you may want to consult a registered dietician for professional advice on food choices and creating a custom meal plan.
5. Be forgiving. Life is going to happen. There will always be temptations: happy hours, birthdays, weddings, and other celebrations that detour you from your plan. Do not let these derail you completely from achieving your goals. Cheat days are necessary. But you cannot allow these days to throw you completely off track. Don’t lose sight of your goal! Refocus your energy, recommit yourself to your goal, and keep working towards achieving it.
Ultimately you are the only one between who you are today and who you want to be at the end of the year. Follow these 5 tips and you will find success! We believe you can do it. Now it’s up to you.