By Gigi Amurao
So you woke up today, looked in the mirror, and said, “Ugh, I look horrible! I need to get in shape.” Congratulations! You have reached the point where you are sick and tired of being sick and tired, and you are ready to do something about it. There’s just one problem—you don’t know how.
We’ve all been there. This is probably not the first time you’ve made up your mind to lose weight. It could be the fifth or even the hundredth time. Every time you said to yourself, “This time I mean it. This time I will give it 100 percent.” Unfortunately, all those times you did not succeed.
When you get the itch to get in shape, what do you do? You hop on the Internet, call up Google, and type in the search line, “how to lose weight,” or “ how to get back in shape.” And what do you find? Thousands of Websites and articles on how to lose weight fast; fad diets, and crazy juice cleanses that promise to take off 20 pounds in three days. With so much information available, you become overwhelmed, intimidated, and frustrated. You go back to doing what you were doing and forget that today was the day you were really going to start your fitness journey.
So the question remains: how do you begin getting into shape or, at the very least, start incorporating fitness into your daily routine?
First Step: Get It Together!
They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Think back to the last time(s) you tried to lose weight. What did you do? Whatever it was, you weren’t successful—otherwise you wouldn’t be in this position—so that tells you what doesn’t work for you. Don’t try that approach again.
If you want to succeed at losing weight and changing your life for the better, you have to get it together mentally. Once you’ve got that, the rest is easy. Three simple yet important factors help you conquer the mental aspect:
1) Knowledge. Know how to get in shape, and also know your faults.
2) Motivation. Know why you’re getting in shape and what inspires you.
3) Support. Have a solid support system to help you in your journey.
If you can maintain all these things successfully, you will be halfway to where you want to be.
Knowledge—a Four-Part Approach
Know your goals. Now is the time to define your goals. Be very specific so that you can plan what steps are needed to achieve them. If you aren’t the type who succeeds in long-term goals, then make short term ones; for example, that you will break a bad habit and incorporate a new one and stick with that for 21 days. Focus on the habit, not the goal. Whatever you decide to change, it’s important to take action.
If you choose to set goals, be super specific. Write them down, and plan how you will execute them.
If you are making new habits, add them to your calendar, set phone alerts, and make sure to do them every day.
Remember, the endeavor of losing weigh is not dieting but, rather, a lifestyle change, so don’t expect overnight results—or abs—in a week. Slow, steady progress is what you want to aim for.
Know your weaknesses. If you tried to get in shape in the past and failed, it’s important to know why. Now is the time to educate yourself on the obstacles that prevented you from following through, and work on them by either avoiding those traps or acquiring new methods to deal with them.
Clean up your diet. You can’t out-train a bad diet. I can’t stress that enough. Even the slightest change in diet can do wonders for your physique. My advice is to do one thing different for a few weeks, and then once you’ve got that habit down pat, add another. For example, if you hate drinking water, start with half a gallon a day and aim to get that in every day, working your way up to a gallon a day, which is the recommendation.
Be active and stay active. Find an activity that you enjoy, and do it all the time. It can be anything—a fitness class, weightlifting, running, hiking, biking. Whatever gets your heart rate up and your body moving is a good start. Figure out what you enjoy, and do it every day or as often as you can.
Keep in mind that diet is 80 percent of your success or failure—and that exercising regularly will help you build muscle, strengthen your heart, lose weight, and increase your endurance and flexibility while keeping your mind healthy.
Motivation—You Won’t Succeed Without It
Once you have the knowledge, you need to shore up your motivation. Why exactly do you want to get in shape? It can be as simple as wanting to feel more energized and healthy or to be around to see your grandkids go to college, or it can be for medical reasons, such as wanting to lower your cholesterol.
Find your reason, write that down too, and put it up somewhere you can see it every day to remind yourself of why you started.
Your journey will never be easy, so unless you have the motivation to succeed and can find inspiration to push through the bad days, you will give up at the first sign of difficulty. So make sure you know what motivates and inspires you.
Support—You Will Need It for Sure
Once you decide to get in shape, the best way to guarantee success is to make it known. Tell everyone—all of your friends, co-workers, social media followers and friends. You can start a blog if you like; make sure to let people know what you are doing and that you want them to keep you accountable!
Build your fitness family. Find people who are motivating, knowledgeable, and more advanced than you are. Work out with them and ask them questions. These are the folks you can turn to for advice or for a push on a bad day.
If you can find a workout buddy, awesome! You can push each other, and your buddy will push you on days when you’re dragging your butt. You can inspire and support each other and feed off of each other’s successes—as well as offering up tough love when you each need it.
The Bottom Line
Beginning to get in shape is fairly easy if you don’t overthink the approach. Just pick a few goals that you hope to accomplish in the next month or in three months, and start working toward them. Keep reading and educating yourself, find your inspiration, make small changes to clean up your diet, find an activity that you enjoy and do it often, and create your support group. If you break old habits and adopt new ones—and if you’re really good at keeping it all together—you will find that you’ve actually lost some weight and that living the fitness lifestyle is not so bad after all.
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