One of the most popular New Year’s resolutions is to lose weight. It’s also pretty common to start with a bang and be off the diet and exercise regimen by the end of January, if you even last that long. The reason so many people fail is because they don’t plan properly, and then think they “can’t do it”. It’s not as hard as it looks. You just have to be well prepared.
Set some goals. For example, if you want to lose 50 lbs., expect it to take 6 months minimum. You may be very dedicated, but it’s not going to happen overnight unless you do extremely unhealthy things to yourself, which will often end up backfiring anyway. A good goal is 1-2 lbs. a week. Start by figuring a week for every pound. If you lose two in a week, great! Some weeks you won’t lose any. It’s just the way the body works. Take each week by itself. If you weigh 150 today, try to weigh 149 by the end of the week. Small goals are much easier to attain, and they add up.
You also need to be realistic. If you’ve never run for more than 60 seconds in your entire life, you won’t be able to go to the gym tomorrow and run for 60 minutes. It’s just not going to happen. You have to set real goals for yourself. Try a Couch to 5K program. It helps you to build up your strength gradually.
Think about how to make exercise fun. Running may be very boring to you. Remember that there are lots of things that give you a great workout – skiing, skating, jumping on a trampoline with your kids, and belly dancing are all great aerobic activities that don’t seem like workouts at all. If you keep doing fun things, you’re much more likely to stick with working out.
Buy food. This may seem counterproductive, but if all you have in the house is candy canes and hot chocolate, it’s pretty unlikely that you’ll lose weight. Before you start a diet, you need to make sure you have lots of veggies and low calorie choices. It’s way too easy to grab one of the kids pop tarts for breakfast if you don’t have any low fat cottage cheese on hand.
One more word to the wise – When you start to lose steam, tell yourself that you’re only going to have to start over if you stop now. If you start dieting and exercising on January first and stick with it, you could lose those 50 lbs. by the end of June, just in time for bathing suit season. Or, you could give up in January and start over in February. And then again in March. Keep going. You’ll thank yourself later.
Weight loss is one of the toughest but most rewarding things you’ll ever do. If you make it through 3 days and then eat a bunch of leftover Christmas cookies, don’t decide you just “can’t” lose weight. Keep plugging along. It takes a while, and results are not immediate, but if you keep at it, you’ll be fit and healthy before you know it.