When you start on a huge life changing endeavor, like weight loss, there are some pearls of wisdom that I think everyone should know. I believe that these 10 things apply to everyone starting out (IE low fitness level) no matter your weight.
- Don’t start out with a crazy intense workout program. I know that when fitness becomes a goal many people immediately believe that they have to get into some kind of intense workout program in order to achieve their weight loss or fitness goals. This simply isn’t true, and can lead to injury, or can lead to you just plain giving up. If you’re just starting out the best thing you can do, rather than burn a bunch of money on an intense workout program, is to start out with some beginner or intermediate workout videos on youtube. You can also find some light strength training routines on the internet in many different places that will help you build your muscles up so that you can get started on that p90x, or the 10 day shred without seriously hurting yourself.
- You can do modified versions of nearly any workout with the same results. If you are morbidly obese or have a very low fitness level, and find that you can’t do simple exercises like the people you watch in the videos, that’s okay! There are modified versions of most exercises, and many fitness youtubers often times will show you both the regular and modified versions of the workouts they are doing. Don’t feel obligated to do the regular version if your body is telling you that you simply can’t, this can lead to serious injury and set back your fitness goals even further. Listen to your body!
- Make small simple changes in your diet when just starting out. On day one many people feel obligated to go into their kitchen and throw all the bacon in the trash, and replace all of the “bad” food with healthier food. This can be a workable plan if you’re going to compete on the biggest loser, or some other TV program. However, for the rest of us, the big lifestyle changes don’t happen over night. If you are drinking soda pop every day, start with cutting that out. If you are eating fast food every day, start making at least one meal a day at home and move on from there. The best way to form good habits is to start small, and work your way up from there.
- Do daily things to keep yourself motivated. Let’s face it, weight loss is hard. That’s a cold hard fact, especially when you are starting out. You have to keep up your motivation in order to see this thing through! Many people make motivation walls, or they post pictures of people they want to look like, or they put up inspirational quotes all around them to constantly remind them of their goals. All of these things are great, but they may not work for you. Find what motivates you, what makes you want it, what keeps you going back for more no matter how down or lazy you are feeling.
- Understand that not everyone is going to support you. It’s one of the worst parts of getting started on your weight loss journey, one of the few things that will stand in your way more than anything else. You get excited, and you get started, and you get pumped, and you are loving every minute. Then you share this new exciting wonderful thing with your friends, coworkers, or spouse and you find that they say some really negative or mean things to you about it instead of being supportive like you had expected/hoped. (“I don’t have to do this with you do I?” or “Girl you look good the way you are, losing weight is over rated!” or “Ugh, fitness is a lot of work, so are you coming to the work party at the bar/restaurant tonight? We should have the nachos!”) This can cause your enthusiasm to come to a dead halt, it can make you doubt yourself, and it can make you give up. Don’t let it! You should be doing this for you, not for them, don’t expect others to approve and don’t wait for them to support you. There are many communities online and offline that you can join and get the support you need and are seeking.
- What works for others may not work for you. You’ve been doing tons of research and you’ve found what you believe is the best diet to lose weight, you start on this diet and are a month in and find that you aren’t getting the results you should be. Don’t be discouraged! Weight loss is not an exact science there are factors to consider before you find what works for you and your body. Medical conditions, fitness level, medications, diet, exercise routine, water intake etc etc all contribute to your overall health and weight loss. If you find that one thing isn’t working for you, try something else.
- Drink lots of water. Water helps your body in so many ways, it’s the best drink for you health wise. Smoothies and protein shakes are great when you need them for a snack or after a workout, but water should take priority when you start feeling thirsty on your weight loss journey.
- If you are feeling confused and don’t know where to start, walk. There’s so much advice and information out there, so many different programs and fitness coaches telling you to do this or that or don’t do this or that. It can all be really confusing, and lead you to really just not know where to start or what to do. If you have a low fitness level and are just starting out, the best thing you can do is simply walk. Walk a lot, walk everywhere, keep yourself moving and walk fast or slow depending on what your body can handle. Just get moving! You will get faster as you go.
- If you find yourself with uncontrollable food cravings eat celery or pickles. We all have those hard days where we are just craving food, especially when we are first starting the cravings can be insatiable. Don’t deprive your body, but at the same time make wise choices. Celery and pickles have no calories, more specifically the calories they do have you burn off while chewing so they are negligible. If you find yourself in a hard spot and are dedicated to staying on track, get out the celery or pickles and get past that hump without the guilt. (Also keeping in mind that pickles can be extremely high in sodium as well, so if you eat them, do so sparingly.)
- Love yourself. There will be set backs in this journey, there will be times when you give in to cravings, there will be times where you stand on the scale and have a moment of self loathing. Don’t stay in those moments, love yourself, love your body, and keep in mind that you are a work in progress. Love yourself enough in those moments to keep going, and deep down accept that you are a human being who is worth being loved even when you disappoint yourself.
I sincerely believe that these 10 things can help you succeed in your weight loss journey. Good luck with your efforts and may the pounds fall off like butter, may you never slip in a puddle of your own sweat, and may you get better, faster, and stronger with every day!
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