So you've been working out, eating better and starting to see results. Now what?
Any dieter or exercise aficionado will tell you that the easiest part of a fitness program or diet, once you've actually started, is the beginning phase- when you start to see quick results. The first time you step on the scale and see that you've lost the first couple of pounds or when your co-workers are telling you "you look thinner...are you dieting?", and you're flying high. Those simple couple of things is usually enough to inspire more working out, exercise and better eating. It's when you think of your program as "your thing"- a new way of living and you're feeling great.
The problem is that the feeling doesn't last. The weight loss begins to plateau and become harder, the comments from family and friends begin to wane and your workout routines become a little stale. This is the point at which most of us start missing workouts, sneaking more unhealthy snacks and sliding back into old ways.
One effective way of combating these mid-program doldrums is to have something to work toward- a goal. The goal can be whatever you want it to be so it's not difficult to come up with something. Maybe you can pick a goal weight- sometimes that's the easiest thing to do. What weight is right for you? Simply, it's the weight at which you feel your physical best. While that might be a bit too vague for you, try getting to your ideal Body Mass Index or BMI. BMI is simply your weight divided by your height. Most experts agree that a healthy BMI hovers somewhere between 24-27.
If you're a runner, try getting ready to run one of the many road races around your area. As I write this piece today, I'm thinking of the upcoming annual local race on Mothers Day that helps raise money to combat breast cancer. Having lost my mother to breast cancer, this race is truly one of the best ways I can think of to spend Mothers Day. While the race is one of the shorter ones, 5 kilometers, or 3.1 miles, this distance could be a perfect goal to aspire to for some of you just starting a fitness program.
For those of you a little more advanced, try improving your time or enter a longer distance race. Nowadays, there are road races to raise money for virtually any worthwhile cause- some of them may even touch you personally as the race mentioned above does for me. Not only will you be getting into better shape and exercising, but you'll also be helping a good cause.
With summer around the corner, fitting into a bathing suit can be another goal to set and get you inspired. Weightlifting? Try working toward a goal bench press weight or squat/leg press weight.
What the goal is is less important than just setting one. If you have something measurable to work towards, you are more likely to stick with your program once the initial euphoria wears off. As always, please discuss any workout or dieting goals with your primary care provider before starting a program.
Published On: May 12, 2008