Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Free Advice

I was chatting with a friend yesterday who said they were hoping to get their body back; the body they had when they were 19 years old (10 years ago). What I told them is some of the things I learned to tell myself along my journey. I hope that you find these words helpful and encouraging.

1. What's your goal and is your goal realistic?
Can you really get back the body you had 10 years ago (or however long ago)? For me, the goal wasn't a size but a feeling. Actually, several feelings. Feelings of confidence, comfort (in my own skin), sexiness. I wanted to be able to run and play with my niece and nephew and students. Those goals I reached a long time before I reached a weight/size goal. Don't expect a quick fix plan (like shakes, wraps, or diet pills, etc.) to be sustainable. Find what works for your life- your REAL life.

2. How are you going to get there?
I had to stop HOPING that things would change, so I sat down and made a year-long plan. I mapped out where I wanted to be a year later, then broke down into smaller increments quarterly, then monthly of where I wanted to be. Then I made a plan for small changes to make each month to my activity level and eating. Making small changes over time has made it reasonable and helped me stick with it.

3. Don't expect perfection, just improvement.
You aren't perfect, allow yourself  forgiveness for mistakes in the past and the future. I had to tell myself this all the time. There will be plateaus. It's a good time to take stock of what's worked and where you are. Give your body a break if you've been working really hard. The body needs time to recover.

4. Don't forget to celebrate the small milestones along the way.
Every time I could tighten my belt another notch or had to buy new pants, I celebrated. I wasn't at my goal, but I was not where I had been. Now I can't even wear that belt, it's too big and there's not enough notches.

5. Don't forget your body needs rest to recover.
This kind of goes along with #3 about plateaus being a time to recover. Lifting weights and building muscle begins by tearing the muscle. It's the rebuilding of the muscle that causes it to grow. In order to rebuild and grow the muscle needs rest. Alternate body parts on weight lifting days and give yourself one or two days completely off each week. (*NOTE: I'm not an expert, but this is part of every expert's advice that I've ever heard or read. Always talk to your doctor or medical professional for what will be right for you.)

6. Mix it up.
Don't keep doing the same workout (cardio, weights) every day. Mix up your workouts just like you'll mix up your food. Don't eat the same meals every day for weeks, months on end. I mix up my weight training every month with a new routine. I added time to my cardio (walking) over several months. When I reached the 1 hour mark, I tried to increase my speed so I could go a greater distance in the same amount of time. Now I'm working on training for running a 5k with the "Couch to 5k" app.

You get what you pay for, but that's my two cents for those hoping to make a change. Don't just HOPE that it will happen- MAKE it happen.

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