My weight loss took three long years of hard work. I've seen many people start workout programs and weight loss diets, always with the best intentions and motivation. But before long they fizzle out and fall back into the same patterns; so what was different for me? Here are some tricks that I used to stay motivated.
Think of the gym as your special happy time. Even if you're grinding away on the treadmill, tell yourself, "This feels good!" Stay positive and listen to your body; there's pain and then there's stupid pain. Working out is a privilege, and it is a joy to move your body and feel yourself getting stronger and healthier!
Conversely, I have found that when I'm ready to slack off, embracing my aggressive side helps. Instead of fighting the grind, accepting it and getting fired up. Like soldiers say, "Embrace the suck." You know, "Grr... is that all you got!? Come on, bring it!" (Make sure to keep this dialogue inside your head; I don't want you guys scaring people at the gym.)
Don't overdo it. When you first start out on a training/eating plan you want change to happen now! The reality is that physical change takes time, and there are many little details to get right -- not just once or twice, but day after day for years. Start your workout plan slow: the first six months to a year is for building base strength. The mind can force the body to work too fast and too hard, which will result in injury. Nothing will slow you down like injury, so avoid it at all costs. As I said, listen to your body. And cross-train, which means rotating your workouts. Never do the same workout twice in a row! Never!
Fuel the body! You need calories to burn calories. Always eat breakfast, for a full year this is what I ate every morning:
One cup raw rolled oats, a half apple cut into chunks, a half a banana sliced, a small handful of walnuts, 1 tsp cinnamon, and 1 ½ cup skim milk.
I never got sick of it and was excited to eat my oats every morning. After a work out have a protein shake, you need it! Don't try to get skinny by skipping a post-workout meal. Make it yourself:
One scoop whey protein (get the stuff without sugar), ½ cup frozen blueberries, ½ cup banana, 3 frozen strawberries, a scoop of perfect green, 2 cups skim milk.
That will keep you going for the next three hours. Then eat a snack; I would eat some apple slices, some pre-cooked broiled chicken from a bag in the fridge and a slice of bread. This snack time can be dangerous, because you're hungry now and you want to eat. Figure out what you want to eat before you go into the kitchen and start to nibble. I've gone off-course so many times here! Try to keep your snack around 300 calories, and as always make sure it has protein. Eat your dinner before 7 p.m., keep it simple, steamed veggies, broiled meat, fresh fruit for desert. Then it's cutoff time!
If you do this right you should be feeling hungry by 9:30 -- that's good! This is the hard part, stay hungry. The evening cooldown is when your body is freaking out and eating itself; it doesn't want to give up the fat, so it will be screaming at you to eat. Do your best to stay strong, and remember first thing in the morning you can have your oats!
No matter what! make your workout time a priority. You have needs and you will often have to fight for them, this may take years for friends and family to fully understand but they will. Just remember that even when you're feeling blue-blah and demotivated, once you're actually engaged in your workout it's going to feel good.
Finally, music! I've mentioned this before, but it's worth repeating: get some good music on your headphones! Nothing can transport you to another mindset faster than music. I'm going to share a few of my favorite songs soon, but keep in mind everyone has their own personal style and taste. Spend a few hours and buy some music form iTunes or Amazon; it's worth it!
These are some of my tips to help you get started. Remember, this is a lifelong journey, not a month fix then back to the way it was. Every step you take is bringing you closer to the life you want.
Published On: June 09, 2010