How To Keep Your New Years Resolutions

Everything you do

Weight loss is probably one of the top resolutions people make in January.  Along with getting fit, cutting out smoking, or changing jobs.  After the craziness of Christmas, the partying, the eating, the drinking, our minds turn towards resolving to live better lives.  People resolve to make changes.  And they really mean to keep them.

But….

Life gets in the way and those resolutions fall by the wayside.  The first two weeks in January the gyms are packed.  Then slowly but surely the flood of fitness fanatics eases to a trickle until, by the end of the month, only the dedicated regulars are left.

It doesn’t have to be that way.  Here are some steps you can take to make your Healthier You resolutions stick.

Find Your Why.

It’s easy to decide to make changes to your life.  It’s a lot harder to make them stick.  Most of us are creatures of habit.  We have a way of doing (or not doing) things and we get comfortable.  Vanity isn’t a strong enough motivator to get you moving on a cold winter’s night or in the heat of summer.  It’s one thing to know you’d look better if you dropped a few pounds.  It’s another thing to keep at it.  You need a stronger reason.  Something that will keep your feet to the fire.  If you have children you already have a strong enough motivation.  You want to be around to see them grow up, to see your grandchildren. You also want to be able to keep up with your kids, to have fun with them and not get winded or end up in pain.  If you have health issues, diabetes or high blood pressure getting active and losing weight can have a huge impact on your health.  If you have trouble keeping motivated, write your Why on post-it notes and place them on your fridge, on your bathroom mirror, and anywhere you are likely to be looking several times a day.  These will keep your reasons to change in your mind.

Make small changes gradually.

Some people adopt a bull in a china shop mentality and try to make too many changes at once.  Then they become overwhelmed, get frustrated, give in to temptations once and totally derail themselves.  It’s best to make a few small changes gradually.  Then when those changes stick, make a few more.  One of the biggest changes you can make is cutting out excess sugar.  If you drink soda daily, try cutting it out of your diet.  Or at least cutting down how many cans you drink.  Soda is essentially just sugar in a can.  An average can of Coca Cola contains over 30 grams of sugar.  Just cutting that out can help you lose the first five to ten pounds in the matter of a couple of weeks.  Tweaking your diet can have a huge impact on your health.  Calorie tracking apps like My Fitness Pal will help you become aware of how many calories you should be eating daily to lose weight.  More important, it will show you how many calories you really ARE eating daily.  Hint: It’s probably more than you think! Being aware of calorie consumption along with portion control are even more important to your weight loss than fitness activities.

BE PATIENT!

This is probably the biggest reason people fall off the wagon. You’ve started a diet, you’ve joined a gym, a week has passed and you’ve only lost a couple of pounds.  Or worse, you haven’t lost any weight at all.  Many people have a misconception that once you start consciously working to lose weight the pounds should just melt off.  It’s not helped by companies like Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem promising you can lose x amount of weight in x amount of time.  Mostly because the food they give you is so low calorie you’re practically starving yourself.  You didn’t gain the weight overnight and, no, you won’t lose the weight overnight.  You also won’t totally derail your efforts if you give in to temptation and eat that piece of cheesecake, over do it at a party or have a blow out in any other way.  The worst that will happen is you gain a pound or two for a day, mostly just water weight.  No, the worst that will happen is you will just use it as an excuse to just quit trying to lose weight.  Don’t be that person.  The weight loss will come if you just trust the process and stick with it.

Find an accountability partner.

Losing weight can be a lonely process.  It can be hard to motivate yourself to get out for that run or walk, or to go to the gym on that cold winter night, or when it’s 90 degrees outside and the air is so humid you could cut it with a knife.  Find an exercise buddy to work out with.  When it’s just you, it’s easy to make an excuse not to go for that workout.  If you have someone relying on you it’s a lot harder.  Pick someone who is as determined as you are to get in shape and who won’t allow your excuses to stop.  Hold each other accountable.  If you don’t have anyone who fits that bill, join a club or a fitness class and start meeting other fitness fanatics.  Exercise is addictive.  Once you get into the habit of working out and you’ve felt that energy rush a few times you won’t want to stop.

Stop dieting.

This may sound counter intuitive but biggest mistake most people make is going on a diet.  Why is this a mistake?  Because the act of going on a diet suggests that at some point they will come off that diet and then go back to their old eating habits, which….is the reason they gained the weight in the first place.

That’s the essence of yo-yo dieting.

The biggest favor you can do for yourself to not only lose weight, but also keep it off, is to adopt a healthier way of eating.  This means eating more real food and less processed and sugary foods.  Most people know that junk food is supposed to be an occasional treat, but in this modern rush-rush world it’s easy to lean on junk food as a convenient and quick fix.  You don’t have to cut out that piece of cake, or a donut or chocolate.  Just cut down on the amount, make it a treat instead of a daily thing, and focus on eating more real and healthy foods.  And, yes, fast food restaurants are a quick and easy way to get dinner, but think about the health of youyou’re your family.  If you’re short on time there are tons of meals you can make in minutes. Just do a search on the internet.  And if you have a day where you have more time you can always make meals for several days and freeze them.  That way you have healthy meals you can heat in minutes.

Many people eat far more sugar than they need to.  And one thing I have learned is when you do drastically cut your sugar intake real food actually tastes better.

I have lost over 70 lbs through changing the way I eat and running.  Running isn’t for everyone, but it’s a high calorie burner and it definitely helped me with my weight loss.  Just don’t think running gives you a free pass to eat more junk food.    You can’t out run a bad diet.  When you combine healthier eating with being more active you should find losing weight to be less frustrating.  So as you prepare to make your resolutions to be fitter, healthier, whatever it is you want, remember to be patient.  It takes time.  It’s not going to be a quick fix.  But it’s totally worth the effort.  If you stick with it, this time next year you will be thanking yourself for a job well done.

A Lifestyle Change: The Key To Your Health

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This time four years ago I went to the doctor for a check up. My A1C was 7.2 and the doctor wanted to put me on a second medication to get my diabetes under control. After doing research we found one of the COMMON side effects of this drug was liver damage!

Enough was enough. This was the trigger for me to start my weight loss journey. Now here I am 70 lbs lighter and off all medication for 3 and a half years.

Sometimes you need a trigger. Something to make you wake up and realize you have to change the things that are not good for you.

Or you can just decide to do it before you hit a crisis. I’m sure that doctor had no idea his “simple” decision to put me on another drug was going to be the catalyst for me to change my life so drastically. But I will always be grateful to him for giving me the kick I needed.

It’s easy to just take a pill to deal with what ails you. But often all you really need is a lifestyle change. Most drugs are designed to treat the symptoms, not the disease. After all, why would Big Pharma want to cure you? You’re no good to them if You’re not buying their product.

Most drugs are also not designed to be taken for a long period of time. So eventually You’re put on a stronger drug, or a second medication. More money for Big Pharma.

Changing your life isn’t easy. Old habits are hard to break. But with the right motivation you can do anything you set your mind to.

January is just around the corner. The month where we make new years resolutions. And just as quickly break them. But why wait until January. Today is Monday. The start of a new week. Make small changes that you can easily maintain. Small changes, over time, can add up to a big difference to your health. And to your life.

If Not Now, When?

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Before I started my fitness and weight loss journey the only time I really ran was if I had to catch a bus and if it wasn’t more than a block or two.  And even that simple act of sprinting for a bus would leave me red faced and gasping for breath.  When I sat on the bus I’d catch fellow passengers giving me looks out of the corner of their eye.  I’m sure they were afraid I was about to keel over with a heart attack.

I had to push myself through a lot of barriers before I got to where I am today.  I had my share of aching lungs and burning legs.  You need a lot of willpower in the early days.  It doesn’t happen overnight.  It took hard work and dedication. But it was worth every ounce of sweat.  When it comes to your health there are no shortcuts .

As you get older your health becomes more important.  I learned that the hard way. I was diagnosed a type 2 diabetic just 4 months after I turned 40.  It took me several more years to figure out how to get things under control.

It’s easy to tell ourselves we’ll get round to taking better care of ourselves one day.  But that isn’t a promise.  Or a plan of action.  Or any kind of commitment.  “I’ll do it one day” is an excuse, pure and simple.  As the saying goes; “tomorrow never comes.”  And it’s unlikely you’re going to wake up one day exclaiming “today is that day!”

So if you have been putting off losing weight or increasing your fitness level, if you have been delaying, telling yourself you’ll get round to it one day, ask yourself this one question….

If not now, when?

Never. Quit.

don't quit

Never quit.  Whatever you have started, keep pushing forward.

If you stumble, catch your footing and keep going.

If you fall, pick yourself up and keep going.

If you have to crawl, keep going.  Any progress, no matter how minimal, is better than just giving up.

You started this because you cared enough about yourself to get on this road.  Now care enough about yourself to carry on the journey. No matter how arduous it becomes.

One day you will be so grateful to yourself that you didn’t stop.

Until you reach that day… Keep. Going.

 

Three Year Fitness Anniversary

transformation

 

I started my health and weight loss journey three years ago this month. Right around the beginning of March. I was a type 2 diabetic and after a check up with the doctor in December 2014, my A1C was 7.2 The doctor wanted to put me on a second medication for my diabetes. I’d been on Metformin since August 2008. I don’t remember what this second medication was, but when we did our research we found it was strongly linked with causing liver problems, even outright liver failure.

Enough was enough.

I didn’t even want to be on any medication never mind another potentially health threatening drug. That winter was brutally cold, but around the beginning of March 2015 the weather turned milder and I went out every day walking. At first two miles, increasing to three. Then I started running, just very short distances at first using a personalized version of Couch To 5k. I hadn’t even heard of C25K at that time. At the time I started running I also joined a calorie counting app called MyFitnessPal and started tracking my calories. As I started getting serious about running my weight started to fall off. My fasting sugar numbers also started coming down. At the start of all this my fasting averaged 120. By early April it was dropping into the 60’s. I cut my Metformin dosage in half. My FS was still in the 60’s so on April 21st 2015 I stopped taking Metformn all together, but kept monitoring my daily fasting sugar, which stabilized into the low 70’s to low 80’s.

In about 12 months or so I lost 50 lbs, a total of 60 lbs from my heaviest. All through running and counting calories. No special diet. Especially no gimmicky fad diet. And I didn’t have to give up any of the food I enjoyed. It was all about calories and portion control.

These days people seem to be looking for some magic formula, or a magic pill to help them lose weight without putting in any effort. But it doesn’t work like that. Not if you want to maintain your weight loss. I’ve been maintaining for two years now and I am not going back to who I used to be. Not ever.

I created this group to share my story and to encourage and hopefully inspire anyone else who is looking to do the same and who is not afraid to put in some effort. Losing weight is a simple enough process, though I wouldn’t say it’s easy. It starts and ends with the mind. As the old saying goes…

“If you think you can, you’re right.
If you think you can’t, you’re right.”

Your mindset will determine your success. Once you get your mind set right and develop a “no-matter-what” attitude, the sky will be the limit. Let me help you get off to the best possible start.

To join my group The Weight-Loss Mindset on Google+, click here:  The Weight-Loss Mindset

To join my group The Weight-Loss Mindset on Facebook, click here:  The Weight-Loss Mindset

For more information about our coaching services for groups, 1:1 and 2:2, click here:  Change Your Mindset, Change Your Life Program

The Truth About Dieting

Lifestyle

There is a myth that diets don’t work.  The truth is diets do work.  But only while you’re on them.  It’s what you do when you come off your diet that measures whether you will maintain your weight loss, or see that weight creep back up.

Most people go on a diet after looking in the mirror and seeing they have gained weight, or when their clothes become too tight.  Then they decide to lose weight by going on a diet.  Which is just another word for Denial.  I can’t eat this, it has too much sugar. I can’t eat that because it has too many carbs.  I can’t eat that because it has too much fat.  

So you become more fixated on what you can’t eat.  You eat like a rabbit for as long as you can stand or until you reach your goal.  Then you come off your diet and go back to your old eating habits.  Which…

…is why you gained weight in the first place.  And what do you think is going to happen?  This is the very essence of yo-yo dieting.  It becomes a self perpetuating vicious circle until something changes.

The other problem with the standard method of dieting is when you focus on what you can’t eat, you set up cravings.  Have you ever noticed how when you go on a diet most of the television commercials seem to focus on food?  And usually high calorie foods.  They’ve always been there but you didn’t notice because you’ve always been able to freely have them when you want.  Then you go on a diet, or a Denial, and suddenly you notice these ads every time they’re shown.  Because you are craving those foods and you’re telling yourself you can’t have them because…diet.  The worst thing is once you come off your diet suddenly you can satisfy all those cravings so you’re most likely to eat these foods over the next week or two because you can.  You could easily regain 5 or 10 pounds in the first week or two just satisfying all those cravings.

Giving up foods because they are high in sugar or carbs is not the ideal way to keep weight off.  It does work, but it has to be sustainable long term.  Portion control and tracking calories is the best and most effective way to not only lose weight, but keep it off.  I’ve been with a calorie tracking app, MyFitnessPal, for three years now.  I’ve successfully lost the weight I wanted to lose and I’m maintaining very well.  Simply because I know how many calories I should be eating daily and how many calories I am eating daily.  I haven’t had to give up a single food item I enjoy.  I also exercise almost daily.  I run, I walk, I work out at the gym.  I’m 100% focused on keeping my healthy lifestyle.  Because that’s the secret of maintaining weight loss.  By making it a lifestyle.  If I go over calorie once in a while it’s ok.  I don’t panic.  I am not going to derail all my efforts because I eat unhealthy once in a while.  And we have to live.  You have celebrations, parties, birthdays, the holiday season.  You have to be able to enjoy life.  And I do.  I eat under calorie probably at least 80% of the time.  And the funny thing is once you’ve been at this healthy lifestyle for a while your binging habits change.  Overeating for me now looks very different to how I used to eat when I was being bad.  You find you don’t want to eat crazy after a while.  You don’t enjoy it and it’s not worth the uncomfortable bloated feeling you get the next day.

There will be people who will say there has to be more to losing weight than eating less and moving more.  They are right, of course.  It’s a psychological battle most of all.  The most critical ingredient is a healthy mindset.  It’s a process and you have to commit to it.  Yes, you can have crazy days if you want, as long as the rest of the time you make a serious effort to stay under calorie.  But you have to be determined and keep your eyes on the goal.  There will be frustration.  There will be times it doesn’t seem to be working.  The scale doesn’t move.  Or worse, the scale ticks up.  That’s when you will be sorely tempted to just give up.  That’s when you need to have other weapons in your fight to lose weight.  Measure yourself once a month.  Measure your waist, your hips.  Compare the numbers each month.  Take photos before you start your journey so you can make comparisons.  Pay attention to how your clothes are fitting.  Nothing boosts your confidence more than dropping a pant size.  All these things will keep you motivated and show you the process is working even when the scale isn’t co-operating.

Be aware there will be temptations along the way.  Someone brings donuts in to work almost daily, or a friend keeps inviting you out to eat at high calorie places all too regularly.  You have to learn to pick your battles and know it’s okay to give in sometimes.  It’s a lifestyle, after all, and you you have to be able to enjoy your life.

Diet Is A Four Letter Word!

Lifestyle

Diets only work when you are on them.  There’s a reason diet is a four letter word. When you go on a diet you are more focused on the foods you “can’t” have.

You “can’t” have carbs.

You “can’t” have sugar.

You “can’t” have fats.

So you eat salads for as long as you can until you’ve reached your goal weight or, more likely, you just can’t take it any more.  Then you go back to your old eating habits.  

Which…. Is the reason you gained weight in the first place.  This is the essence of yo-yo dieting.  Going back and forth between going on a diet and your old eating habits.

Anyone can lose weight. It’s keeping the weight off that’s the real trick.  An easier way around the problem is to make a simple lifestyle change.  Portion control or counting calories through an app like @MyFitnesspal can make a huge help.

Many people think counting calories is obsessive, unhealthy or too hard.  The truth is a repeated cycle of weight gain and dieting is much more unhealthy and harder.

Through MyFitnesspal, I can eat what ever I want.  It’s all about portion control and exercise.  Because of this I have maintained my weightloss for two years with no sign of going back.

But exercise isn’t just about being able to eat more food.  Exercise gives you a healthier, fitter body.  

Remember:  you lose lbs in the kitchen and you lose inches in the gym or on the road depending on what exercise you choose to do.

What ever your exercise of choice is, make it something you enjoy.  Now you’ll never have to “go on a diet” again!

Look For The Non-Scale Victories

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The scale lies! When you step on a scale it throws out a number and says you weigh this much. But that doesn’t tell the full story. If you ate something high in sodium the night before, or if you worked out the day before your body could be retaining extra water weight. There’s nothing more demoralizing than stepping on the scale and seeing you’ve gained anything from a pound to fi’ve pounds. Especially when you know you did everything right.

To avoid burn out look for those non-scales victories. The extra energy you’re feeling. The way your clothes fit better. Dropping a pant size gives you a huge boost. If you’re just starting out take lots of photos. Those “before” pics can give you a clear idea of how far you’re coming. Especially for those times when the scale refuses to budge. And take measurements. Waist. Chest, arm, leg measurements. Check them at the beginning of every month to truly see how far you have come.

 

Training Your Mind

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If there is one thing that is holding you back from taking action to make your dreams a reality, what is it? Sometimes, it helps to write it down and then turn the negative tone of ‘I can’t do this’, (insert the word what you can’t do), into ‘I can do this and I will do it’, (again insert the word what you will do).

Watch the mind take over and boost your confidence and positive feelings. You will start to believe that you can and will do it. Then, the next step is to turn the word, ‘I will’, into ‘I am’ doing the thing that I thought I couldn’t do.

It is important to acknowledge the struggle by writing it down and talking out loud. It is also equally important to write down and talk outloud the ‘I am’ aspect of it too.

It really is all in the mind. Once you realize the importance and power your mind has, you can start to believe anything is possible and you can take action towards making your dream a reality. ❤