When January starts, most people are relieved and hopeful that a new year is beginning and that they have the opportunity to start with a clean slate. Resolutions can range from non-existent to extremely (sometimes overly) ambitious. The most popular resolution by far is to change one’s lifestyle and and make healthy choices related to diet and exercise. This is a great resolution! At the beginning of 2015, this was my goal — and I was able to make meaningful changes in my diet and exercise routines that have now turned into great habits.
Unfortunately, so many people start and then quit once the feeling of change wears off and things start to get hard. Here are some tips on what really helped me stay committed and motivated to change!
Plan it out. I hate meal planning. Even after a year of doing it religiously, I STILL hate it. But, after this mundane task is over, I have a fridge and pantry stocked with only healthy food options. Before my weight loss journey, I would just grab and throw things in the shopping cart. This can be a huge setback in your journey. Meal planning also helps to waste less food.
If possible, buy an exercise wristband. I love my FitBit. My husband Rob bought it for me a few months into my weight loss journey. I could write forever about the benefits of having a FitBit (but I won’t). Shortly after starting to wear my new FitBit, I realized how little I was moving during the day. I made a habit of trying to reach my step goal every day and completing challenges with my friends through the FitBit app. Early on, this resulted in many late night laps in the house to “get my steps in”, but over time, the FitBit taught me how to stay consistently active throughout the day. I also made a point to take walks with the kids. Fresh air is essential for stay-at-home moms. Fresh air has magical powers! I was able to get some fresh air, my kids were able to get some energy out, and I could see the changes in my body and feel the increase in my energy levels.
WATER! This is so important. Drinking water is very difficult for me. Even when I was a kid I could go almost all day without drinking anything. Weird, I know. To continue to motivate me to keep up with my water intake, I constantly have to add something new to keep things interesting, whether it’s a new Nuun flavor to add to my water or a new water bottle. Water is essential for staying healthy and helping you shed those pounds. If you are like me and it is difficult for you, keep at it! Change it up! Find something that works and stick with it!
Be ready for the afternoon hunger battles. My downfall used to be the hours between lunch and dinner. My husband gets home late every night, so by the time we eat dinner, I feel like I could eat my entire fridge. Usually this happens because I did not eat a snack in the afternoon. I encourage you have some prepared “hunger buster” snacks. Examples of healthy, filling, hunger-busting snacks: string cheese, fruit, yogurt, or roasted chickpeas (my favorite!).
And lastly and MOST important….have accountability. Some days you are sick of the salads, getting up early to go to the gym, and stepping on the scale. Having someone that you can whine and complain to can help so much, really! Sometimes all you want to do is tell someone what you are struggling with and have them speak words of encouragement to you. My motivator is my husband, Rob. Rob has always been there when no one else was saying anything encouraging. One day last summer while training for my 10k, I remember feeling like I couldn’t do it anymore and wanted to give up. Rob handed me my headphones and promptly locked me outside. As I ran, my negative, defeated attitude turned into renewed motivation. As I was running back down our street at the end of my run, who was waiting for me? My husband and girls on the porch — cheering and playing the Eye of the Tiger. Haha! In that moment, it was clear. My husband wanted me to succeed, and he was giving me some tough love so that I wouldn’t quit. Having someone like this is essential because you cannot do this alone. If you do not have someone like this, please let me be that person for you. I would be more than happy to be the encouragement that you need. Consistently eating healthy and exercising is not easy, but having someone to help you along the way is a great way to stay on track!