We’re all familiar with the post-holiday rush to lose weight, start exercising, and get healthy. What too few of us define is to why we are doing this. Sure, motivation can be quite simple. Things like looking better, fitting into some old clothes, or even feeling better. Now, the last part about feeling better is something that I think we overlook. In a society filled with “now” we tend to ignore that what you put into your body DIRECTLY affects how you feel. Aches, pains, moods and the response to stressful situations are all influenced by food. With that in mind, let’s focus on finally feeling good instead of some numeric goal like fitting into size x dress or losing xx pounds. Reaching realistic goals starts with forming habits. Weight loss and exercise programs can be very overwhelming. Keeping it simple leads to the most compliance and best long term results. I understand that you need to lose twenty pounds by next week, but bear with me. Understand first, that this weight did not come on in 2-3 months, so it may take longer to lose. Realize that there will be moments of failure and frustration but that doesn’t mean all hope is gone. Starting with habit building is slow but also not overwhelming. You must first commit yourself to a goal. Make this goal something deep, like a personal challenge and try not to include numeric aspirations. Generally, a habit takes 3 weeks to become a part of your normal activity. We’re going to shorten this to 1-2 weeks. Once you master your new habit, add a new one. Doing too much, too soon seldom works. If you disagree, ask yourself if you’ve failed your weight loss goal previously. If the answer is yes, and you changed too much too soon, then it’s time to do it differently. Look at some of these sample habits, start with one, and continue to add every 1-2 weeks. For the sake of satisfying the type A, I have included both a nutrition and exercise habit that can be done simultaneously.
Habit 1ex: 30 minutes of “activity” 4-5x a week
Habit1nut: Take 2-4grams of fish oil and 4000IU of vitamin D daily. Consider a probiotic as well.
Habit 2ex: Add resistance training twice a week within that 30 minute period. (Weight, bands, calisthenics)
Habit 2nut: Include a lean source of protein at EVERY meal
Habit 3ex: Add Interval training twice a week during the 30 minutes
Habit3nut: Include a source of fresh vegetables at EVERY meal
Habit 4ex: Include a playful activity during one of your days. Preferably outside if possible.
Habit4nut: Include a healthy fat at every meal (coconut oil, olive oil, avocado, small serving of raw nuts, serving of almond butter)
Habit 5ex: Maintain the activities for 5 days every week, consider “playing” on your off days by including a fun but active event.
Habit5nut: Discontinue the use of any calorie containing beverage and cut down alcohol intake by 1-2 drinks
That’s it. A nutrition and exercise program doesn’t have to be any more complicated than this. What tends to be the factor in change is making the nature of what you’re doing habitual. If you never develop good habits and replace bad ones, you will never truly reach or maintain your goals.
And, of course…Before beginning any exercise or dietary programs, consult with your physician about starting. Lingering musculoskeletal injuries may impede progress. You can still practice your nutrition habits while rehabbing an injury. In fact, depending on the extent of your injury, some of the exercises encountered with our physical therapy department are more beneficial and challenging than what you will get on your own or in a commercial gym.