Monday, August 9, 2010

Make a Commitment to Yourself!

Let's be honest, its Monday and the weekend didn't go very well in terms of clean eating and exercising.
There was that get together with family and friends, maybe a birthday party and a lazy day at the pool?
All of which had tons of yummy, fattening foods that were just too hard to resist and no time to workout!
And then there was the alcohol...
And anyway it was just one weekend...

Okay, so maybe it was actually a couple of weekends...(or the entire summer....)

 Well, today is the day to stop making excuses and make a commitment to yourself.

. I know that you are good at keeping your commitments once you make them.  You never break a promise to your friends, family or coworkers. You meet deadlines, get your kids to school and playdates, clean the house. So why does it seem that we always find an excuse to not stay on track, when it is ourselves that we are letting down? 

If you have decided to make a lasting change in your weight and fitness, you will need to stay focused on the weekends and for special events. This can only be done if you make a true commitment to yourself.

If you're ready, here are some tips on how to make a lasting commitment to yourself.


1.Be honest with yourself.
  Be honest about how much weight you need to lose.  If you need to lose a lot of weight understand that that is ok, and that it will take time. A safe way to lose weight is between 1-2 lbs per week. So don't make a pledge to lose 20 lbs by September, it is not realistic or healthy. Sometimes we make huge weight loss goals and when we don't achieve them we use that as an excuse that we are meant to be overweight. If you create a 500 caloric deficit a day through eating less and working out more, you can lose a pound a week. 
   Be honest that it is going to be difficult. Understanding that making a lifestyle change is not going to happen without hard work is key when you see everyone around you eating fast food and drinking beer.

2.Make a plan
   When you make a commitment to a friend or boss you always know how you are going to fulfill your end of the deal.
                  Therefore you must do the same thing when committing to yourself!
 So...
*   You must have concrete plans for your fitness program (just like for all the other things you need to accomplish) or you will not follow through with it.
*   Set aside time every week to work out.  Put time in your planner in the beginning of your week for your workouts.  Never schedule anything else during that time.  Just as you wouldn't schedule something during a meeting you have for work. If you start making excuses for changing your workout plans you will continue to devalue your workout time and soon you will no longer be working out.
*  Create a written agreement that outlines your short term and your long term goals. Sign the agreement and have someone witness it.  Post the signed  document somewhere that you will see it everyday to keep you accountable.
 *Plan out what you will eat for the week. Think of healthy meals and snacks that you can take with you to work or when you're out for the day. Buy the food that you need and prepare any meals you can ahead of time. That way, when you are hungry you won't reach for something unhealthy.
* If there is a special event coming up, decide if you should eat before you go or if there will be "clean" food there for you to eat. If you continually say, "I'll cheat just this time" you will never see results. Stay committed even during fun activities.

3. Make it public
 Tell someone you trust about your goals and commitment.  Ask them to check in with you every week for an update on your progress.  Knowing that someone else is aware of what our goals are makes us more likely to follow through on them.
 * feel free to post a comments on this blog and inspire others to join you! Feel free to check in every week with a post about your progress and/or frustrations.


4.Get support
  Ask a friend who has recently lost weight or is in the process of losing weight now, to talk to you about the obstacles they faced.  Sharing tips with people who have made exercise and eating clean a part of their lives can help keep you going when you feel like you might want to quit.

 5. Make it easy for yourself
   Changing your lifestyle might feel like a chore at first. Slowly it will become a habit, and then you will feel strange when you don't do these things.  However, this usually takes about three weeks but it can take longer. So when you first start out, make things easy on yourself. 
 *Pick workout times that won't be conflicting with other pressures.
 *Set your clothes out the night before if you are working out in the morning. 
  *Workout with someone who will make sure you show up for your sessions.
  *Do exercise that you like at first, when you are feeling like it has become a habit, try different modes and push yourself harder to see more results.
   *Eat clean but don't make yourself eat foods you don't like. There is a huge variety of clean food to choose from. If you don't like broccoli, or Greek yogurt, don't eat them, even if you just read an article saying they are the must eat foods of the month!

6.Get motivated
  It's easy to lose sight of your long term goals when you are tired and don't feel like working out. Or when you are at a party and everyone is eating and drinking. So it is crucial to feel motivated everyday to stay focused. Some ways to stay motivated are:
*find pictures of people that look good and inspire you to change; put those pictures up somewhere that you may be tempted to eat something you shouldn't like the refrigerator. Or in your car to motivate you to go to the gym after work!
 *post your goals on your bathroom mirror so that you see them when you first wake up.
* read exercise books, magazines and blogs to give you good ideas and promote a healthy mindset.
* workout with someone more fit than you once in a while to remind yourself that hard work and persistence pays off.
*give yourself a non food treat when you reach small goals. Buy yourself some new music, a new workout outfit or makeup when you lose a certain amount of weight or exercise/eat clean for a certain number of days.

7.Keep a record
 I talk about this a lot and that is because it is known to be one of the most helpful tools to losing and maintaining weight. Write down everything you eat and all of the exercise you do. It is easy to think that you ate a lot less then you did. Add up your total calories every night and adjust your intake if needed.
 Keeping a food journal makes you feel accountable because you see everything you ate in black and white! It is also a great way to remind yourself of all of your hard work. When you look back over a month of clean eating and working out, it gives you a tremendous feeling of accomplishment.

  ** Now, I'm going to go back to the first tip I gave you , be honest with yourself and those trying to help you. Don't write down only some of the food that you ate. If you are going to lose weight, you have to account for every bite you take. (Yes, even those you ate standing up!) Also, if you are working with a trainer,  please find one that you trust and be honest with them. If they are a good trainer, they will care about your success.  If you record only some of what you actually ate or if you say you worked out more than you did, then your trainer will not be able to help you achieve your goals and keep the commitment you made to yourself.


NOW....
Think about all of the commitments that you have made and kept in your life. Don't you value yourself just as much as you value those people to whom you work so hard for?
It's time to make a commitment to yourself.

I know you can do it!!

Let me know what your goals are, I would love to support you in anyway I can. And if you have any suggestions on how to keep a commitment to yourself, please share them!

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