Time and time again I get an Instagram direct message or an email saying ‘I want to lose weight, please help me’. Wanting to lose weight is a noble cause, however it is often not reason enough for you to stick to your fitness goals. What happens is you lose weight and as there was little or no other reason for keeping fit or eating healthy you are likely to slip back into your former habits. Or worst still, you might slip back into old habits, then in a bid the rectify damage done, you embark on a long winded, futile journey of yo-yo dieting and metabolic rate sabotage. For this reason I always require that my clients have a deeper reason than weight loss behind their wellness journey. For example, I’d like to lose weight so I can be more effective in my daily tasks. I’d like to lose weight to improve my confidence so I can be upbeat in my career. Note, these all have weight loss as a target but they go beyond aesthetics, they allow for real lifestyle improvement and thus you are more likely to stick to it.
Discern your Target, Know Why it is Important to You
You must decide what your wellness target is and discern why it is important to you. Do you want to become fitter so that you can partake in a race to raise money for charity or do you want to learn to make healthy meals so that you can introduce healthier habits into your life and that of your family or Do you want to build strength to enhance your discipline and focus? Finding out why you want to begin or, why you should continue a wellness journey can provide clarity and guidance not only for you, but also for your trainer or nutritionist, if you have one; which in turn translates higher productivity and results for yourself.
Create a Plan
Having a target and knowing its importance is only a part of the journey to reaching your wellness goal. For example, time and time again I get asked ‘can you please tell me how to get abs?’ Wanting abs and being told or shown how to get them will not necessarily translate to results. You must must have a feasible plan on the choices and actions YOU will take to gain strong visible abdominal muscles.
Essentially, you must plan. Create a meal plan or enlist the services of a quality nutritionist to create one for you. Make sure the plan accounts for your needs and quirks (loving chocolate is not a valid need or quirk), good examples of needs/quirks is eliminating seafood from your meal plan for example because it makes you nauseous or needing time efficient meals or plan which allows for eating out because you are time strapped. Planning with your requirements will mean you are more likely to stick with your new lifestyle.
The second aspect of planning is setting milestones, it gives you a pace and gauge by which to work. Set reasonable milestones; with my clients depending on their targets we review their wellness plans every three weeks, this allows for them to share any concerns they may have with me and also allows for us to make adjustments, where necessary.
Your goal cannot be to live healthier without making key changes to your environment. You will find it much harder to stick to healthy eating if half of your food cupboard is laden with confectionery and processed food. De-clutter your food cupboard, fridge and freezers, donate the food to charity if it’s too much to indulge in over a day prior to starting your journey. Do not make it harder than it needs to be/
How are you holding yourself accountable and ensure you stick to your goals? Do you have a trainer? Do you have body measurements from the start day to compare with your goal date?
It is important that your are disciplined enough to hold yourself to your targets however it can help to have a support system, particular when you first begin. Get your loved ones involved, get your parents if you live at home involved, explain what you’re trying to do to them, chances are they’ll support you if not join in.
Reaching wellness milestones should be celebrated; it is a testament to your commitment and your tenacity. Treat yourself; enjoy the carrot cake you have been craving, after a milestone has been achieved, then re-calibrate and focus on the next milestone. Remember wellness is about balance balancing the ability to focus on your goals and bettering yourself with the ability to enjoy some of your not so healthy guilty pleasures once in awhile.