We’ve all been there, trying the quick-fix diet plans and workouts. We’ve tried them all – low-fat to low-carb to low-cal. We’ve tried the “we are going to do cardio every day this week!” – running from indoor cycle to Pilates and yoga to body sculpt. By day three we realize, UGH! – we can’t even move a muscle in our aching bodies.
This is crazy and we have not even lost a pound.
With little or no satisfaction, we are back on the couch with the remote in one hand, our favorite junk food snack in the other and lots of Advil, swearing that there has got to be an easier way.
As a personal trainer and fitness instructor for twenty years and someone who has struggled with personal weight gain and loss issues since age five, I am able to relate to the many of the same issues as my personal training clients Unlike most kids who have their distinct likes and dislikes of certain foods, I can honestly say there were very few foods I didn’t like… I have travelled up and down and back again on the very same path as my clients. I was always the “healthy kid.”
Through many years of trial and lots of errors, I have figured out what works for me- but that does not necessarily mean it may work for another. We all have different body compositions, likes and dislikes, and I have found success in making healthy lifestyle changes comes without much effort –they are just part of my every day. There really is not one lifestyle change fits all. Even working out five times a week does not mean I do not need to watch what I eat carefully.
About two years ago, I started by making small significant changes to my diet, and not overnight, but slowly. I wanted to lose 15 lbs. as I felt my wardrobe was fitting a bit snug in all the wrong places and buying another wardrobe was just not going to be an option. I started with eating a small healthy breakfast every morning. But I ate food I liked.
Then, after a healthy breakfast was part of my normal routine, I started to eat both a healthy breakfast and lunch. Before long, this lifestyle change became part of my every day. You need to do what works best for you –a lifestyle change as part of your every day life, not a crash workout binge– that will keep you healthy and motivated, at least most days. When it comes to lifestyle change, it is all about you.
As a personal trainer, when I start to work with a new client, we never discuss the word “diet;” we discuss lifestyle changes that are easy and do not take much effort. If the changes you make are not easy, there is no way you are going to keep them up and eventually, most of us fall back into our old patterns. Your diet should be balanced and healthy most days, but is definitely okay to splurge on occasion.
Start with small steps and before you know it, the change is part of your lifestyle. When you get up today, take a 10-minute walk, or instead of skipping breakfast, eat a small meal consisting of healthy carbs, protein, and a little fat. Try it for a week. When that step works for you without effort, it is time to make another small change: a 20-minute walk or a eating both a healthy breakfast and lunch.
There’s one basic fact that can’t be denied: we are creatures of habit. To make health-conscious changes, the changes have to fit in with our habits. Quick fixes don’t exist for long-term health.