As the summer months approach (especially for us Midwestern people!) we tend to all of a sudden want to look better, lose weight, and show off a bunch of skin in these warmer months.
The ideas and marketing are everywhere! “Drop 10 pounds for summer!” “Bikini season!” “Bikini abs in 30 days!” Why is that mindset in place? Why do we only want to lose weight when it’s warm out? Why don’t we work on our bodies year round? In my opinion, we should be healthy year round right? Isn’t that something called yo-yo dieting?
Most of us scramble around the spring time trying to all of a sudden eat healthier (which may be starving ourselves) and working out like crazy. These sudden changes in behaviors will NEVER stick. You HAVE to start a routine if you want any real changes!
So why do we fall off the wagon when it comes to health and fitness? Most of us do the same routine year in and year out. Summer/Warmer weather approaches and we rush to drop the pounds. What are our EXCUSES? Let’s take a good hard look in the mirror, what is seriously stopping us from achieving what we want?
There it is! Right in the mirror in front of us! IT IS US! We are stopping ourselves; we are our biggest challenges. It is ALL a mental game! I know with myself it is a BIG mental game when it comes to stress eating, being lazy or not getting up in time to work out in the morning. There is NOTHING ELSE STANDING IN OUR WAY! It is only us.
How do we change this mental game? Well, how bad do you want to be in shape? How bad do you want to drop those pounds? I mean, don’t you get frustrated when it comes to losing weight EVERY YEAR?! It is SO much harder to drop weight and it seems so easy to gain it! It is all a mental game so here are some tips to keep you from falling off that wagon again!
So here are five tips to keep you on track all year long and break that mentality of cycle dieting!
1.) PLAN PLAN PLAN
We all have crazy lives, I totally understand. I LIKE to be busy, which might make me crazy! However, I have been a horrible planner and I always run out of time. What I have started to do is take advantage of my down time and really write down things I need to do. Maybe it’s an adult thing to do! Write out your week, plan your meals, your workouts and write out everything you have going on this week. Where can you find time to workout? Where do you have an extra ten minutes? Do you think you need to start getting up a little earlier? Or maybe after the kids go to sleep, do something for you? Whatever it is, you can plan it. You can plan your workouts, you can plan your meals and as long as you STICK to the plan, you will have success. I know that when I don’t plan, I eat bad, I grab fast food and I absolutely do not work out. Plan your work outfits the night before or lay out your exercise clothes so when 5:30 am rolls around, you don’t complain about trying to find clothes when you are barely awake! PLAN!
2.) STICK TO YOUR PLAN
I mean we can plan all we want, but what is the point of a plan when we don’t follow it? Let me put it to you this way, challenge yourself for five days to follow the plan. At the end of the week, how do you feel? Did your week go by fast? I know mine does when I follow a plan. Cooking at home and meal prepping typically saves you money too so how is that bank account of yours? Stick to your plan! I know that when I concentrate on a plan for a few days in a row, it then becomes harder to break. You are setting yourself up for a new routine!
3.) STOP DIETING
Yes – stop saying you are on a diet. Diets are temporary. To keep the weight off and have any type of long lasting effect, it needs to be a permanent change. Lifestyle change anyone? So when it comes to dieting, we typically do an immediate change to what we are eating and drinking on a daily basis. While some people can quit things “cold turkey”, this is usually not the case and it can be detrimental to our changes. When someone typically stop eating bad food all of a sudden, that craving doesn’t go away and leads to a binge further down the road. I’m telling you that you can have these bad foods, but you can’t eat them all the time. It is a lifestyle change and of course during a LIFESTYLE you will have some bumps along the road. Turn those cheat days into cheat meals, or cheat items. Don’t undo a week of progress in simply just a week’s time because you had a full cheat day or cheat weekend. Keep it going and don’t just suddenly make drastic changes. Start gradually with getting more water in your diet and changing out for healthier foods. Again, if you do this gradually and make permanent changes, you will be more successful!
4.) Eat For Fuel
What do I mean by this? You should eat to nourish your body. Your body can do some pretty amazing things right? Our bodies withstand a lot. We need to be showing our body love and be thankful for what it does for us on a daily basis. I mean it keeps us alive right? Why do we feed it bad things? Sure, those French fries make us comfortable at first when we crave it but the next morning are you feeling great? Don’t you feel a little sluggish? We need to eat things that our body and mind will benefit from. Eating better will put all of these other practices into place also. We will be more motivated to conquer our weight loss and health journeys!
5.) Find Your Why (and write it down!)
Why do you want to lose weight? Why do you want to workout? We all need to be honest with ourselves. It is okay to admit you are unhappy with how you look, how you feel, or how clothes fit you. No matter what size you are, it matters how you FEEL inside and out. What is your why? Find that reason deep down inside of you and write about it. If you have to, post it in your bathroom or write it somewhere that you look everyday. Remind yourself everyday WHY you want to start a healthy journey and become a healthier person.
I hope that these are helpful tips that you haven’t thought about yet. I know that when I truly plan and think about WHY I want to stay on my healthy journey, the fast food and the real sugary drinks don’t see to be craved as often. I crave feeling great and I know I can only reach that point by truly sticking to my plan. I am most successful when I plan and record and prepare for my week ahead.
Another thing that I have found beneficial to my fitness journey is yoga —> read about my journey here I Bend So I Don’t Break
What are some tips that have worked for you in your health journey? Sound off below!
Thanks for reading!
Have you heard of “mindfulness”? Do you know what it means? I didn’t quite know what this fully meant until this year. Mindfulness is being present in the moment, and being conscious and accepting one’s feelings and thoughts.
I am a beginner yogi – yogi in training if you will. I have been since 2014 where I will randomly take classes with my friends at local studios. Over the past year, I have been more consistent in my yoga practice, where I have had spurts of consistently attending classes and then even practicing at home. I am not flexible by any means where my entire life I probably haven’t stretched. I never was into gymnastics, still can’t do a cartwheel, and only recently can I touch my fingers to my toe (standing up only!). I played softball and basketball my whole life and in these sports, it did not require flexibility.
I tried yoga for my first time by doing a hot yoga class with one of my friends. She was going pretty regularly and her friend was running the class. I caught on pretty quickly with the poses and the flow of it all. I ended up really liking it! For me, it started out to be more of just another way to workout. It was during a time where I was trying out a bunch of different workout classes. I did classes sporadically until about a year and a half ago, where I really wanted to start incorporating yoga into my work out practice. From reading all of the health benefits, physically and mentally, I wanted to try this out even more. I was very unhappy with my weight that I had put on, and because I run a lot, I thought this would also help me stretch out my body too.
I ended up developing a piriformis muscle issue, and it was hard to bend and hard to sit in an office for eight hours a day. In case you don’t know what it is, here it is blow. It is deep, deep within your glute. Very hard to massage and most times, stretching is how to get rid of it. I had lots of lower back pain and tight muscles in my leg.
By taking yoga consistently for 5 weeks in a row, this issue has completely disappeared. The stretching and the development of these muscles made a world of difference.
This year, I set out to become more mindful. There are various ways that one can practice mindfulness. Most importantly, I wanted to take care of my body and myself because I have spent the last few years with struggling to lose weight and that has created some pretty negative feelings inside of me. I needed to take a step back and realize what my body has gotten me through, and becoming more mindful of myself and self-love will help me conquer my negative thoughts.
Yoga, to me is something that I always go back to. I am not consistent, but I want to be. Every time I take part in a yoga session, whether it is with my friends in a class or at home by myself, I immediately have my mood turn around. If you are stressed, sad, upset, mad, or have any sort of negative feelings, yoga is a game changer. There are amazing health benefits, both physically and mentally.
Last week, I started a yoga challenge for myself and for several others to do 31 days of yoga in a row. This is also meant to practice mindfulness and finally just to love yourself even more than you already do. Yoga and being more “mindful” go together. Both are about being present in the moment. The practice of yoga is being self aware and aware of how your body feels. I want to continue this practice and be more consistent within myself with not only yoga, but with being more mindful as well.
I challenge you to become more mindful within yourself. With everything you do during the day, be present in that moment. Do you drink coffee in the morning? Take that first sip and focus on the smell, the taste and how it makes you feel. When you go outside, notice nature. Notice the smell of the air, the wind or the warmth of the sun. We are so busy these days, that we are always thinking of the next task on our list. Most of us are hardly present mentally in our lives where we are always trying to get our task lists done quickly. We need to make time for our mental health, and focus on being present. Keeping a journal of one positive thing each day will also help as well.
If yoga is something that you don’t believe to be your thing, I would love for you to practice mindfulness. Not only has yoga helped me overcome stress and sadness, but it has helped with so many ailments with my muscles so if you haven’t tried it yet, I also encourage you to do so. If you want to join my ongoing yoga and mindful challenge, I would love to have you a part of it too! You can join the group here.
Until next time – thank you for reading!