It's crazy to think that we are in the 2 months left in 2017! How many of us included getting in shape or losing weight as a New Year's resolution? If you're here, it's probably because you are looking for ways to stay on your weight loss plan through the holidays.
Think back to the beginning of January. Most people are super excited to reach their fitness goals and lose weight. You go to the grocery store, and the produce section is nearly empty. You hit the gym, and you have to wait 20 minutes to use a treadmill because there are so many people working out.
Suddenly, near the end of January or early February, there's a subtle shift. When you hit the grocery store, the shelves of fresh fruits and vegetables are fully stocked. You hit the gym for a quick jog and you have tons of open treadmills to choose from. Why do so many people seem to give up on their health and fitness resolutions before the month of January is even over?
It comes down to one simple concept - motivation. The golden question: why is it so hard to stay motivated to hit the gym, eat healthy, and not revert to a food free-for-all? What are the best ways to stay on your weight loss plan through the holidays?
First, let’s talk about motivation. We hear that word tossed around all the time, but what exactly IS motivation, and why is it important?
Motivation is defined as the process that initiates, guides, and maintains goal-oriented behaviors. Motivation is important because it keeps us moving towards our goals. It’s the thing that causes us to take action, whether it’s grabbing a glass of water when we’re thirsty, or hitting the gym when we want to become healthier.
So HOW do we stay motivated?! Check out these 3 tips to help you stay motivated to reach your goals:
1. Be Organized and Plan Ahead!
I can't stress the importance of this one enough! Why do you think fast food restaurants are so successful? Or, if we take it back to the grocery store, why are Lean Cuisines selling off the shelves like hotcakes? One of the best ways to stay on your weight loss plan through the holidays is to plan, plan, plan.
Think about it, both fast food meals and lean Cuisines are super convenient and easy to eat. Honestly, the hardest part of the fast food meal is taking it out of the bag (or maybe opening up 1 million ketchup packets if you're like me and love ketchup!). Let’s get real - the hardest part of cooking a Lean Cuisine is putting it in the microwave.
Many times, people think that in order to be healthy, you have to spend hours and hours planning and preparing your meals. Heck, if this were the truth, I would be running to fast food places and Lean Cuisines for every meal too! If you take some time to plan, prepare, and schedule a little bit of time for food prep and grocery shopping, you can eat a much healthier variety of whole, nutritious foods without spending much more time than it would take for your Lean Cuisine to cook in the microwave.
Throw a few chicken breasts and raw vegetables in the slow cooker before you head to work with a little bit of chicken broth and seasoning and BOOM, dinner is done as soon as you get home from work!
2. Chart Your Progress
You know that staying motivated to reach your 2017 goals means keeping track of your progress. In order to stay on track and check in with yourself, it comes as a no-brainer that you must chart your progress every week!
Checking the bathroom scale every single day during the first two weeks of January, only to see the numbers barely budge, isn't what I'm talking about. In fact, I'll be writing a different blog post soon about other ways you can chart progress, outside of the scale.
In short, remember that progress comes in all shapes, forms, and sizes. If you used to eat Lean Cuisines or fast food for lunch five days a week, and now you're bringing healthy, nutritious food for lunch one or two days a week, then guess what? THAT IS PROGRESS! Ultimately, these small, progressive steps will move the numbers on the scale in the right direction.
Remember that when it comes to progress, you should think of it as a million baby steps to move you one large step further. If you chart the small changes, you have no doubt the big ones will come!
3. Don’t Be Afraid to Push Yourself past Your Comfort Zone
Let’s talk about being comfortable today, and more importantly, pushing yourself past the point of comfort (AND cue the uncomfortable feeling in the pit of your stomach!)
Be honest with yourself as you answer these questions—
“What is the scariest part about reaching your health and fitness goals? What is the scariest part about NOT reaching these goals?”
Think about it. Just because you hated broccoli and cauliflower as a little kid doesn't mean that you still hate them as an adult. The taste buds inside of our mouth change over the years and as we age. Food simply tastes different to us now than it did when we were kids. Give all sorts of new, healthy, and nutritious foods a chance; even if you were convinced as a kid you didn't like them.
In the same way, don't be afraid to push past your comfort zone when it comes to exercise. I'm not saying that you should feel like you're going to throw up, or are dying during every workout you do, but remember the goal of exercising. You're trying to make your muscles and heart just a little bit stronger than yesterday. If you don't push your muscles and heart past their current fitness levels, you'll never see improvements in the gym. When you feel stronger, are able to grab heavier weights, and begin to see muscles you never knew you had, your motivation soars!