The fitness industry is full of a lot of flashy trends that promise to help you transform your body. Every time I turn around I feel like I am seeing an article or video touting the benefits of a certain diet or workout, within weeks I am being sold something else.
It is all quick fix solutions like waist trainers, skinny pops and the countless other products that promise us results with little work. The messaging for these products is always centred around the aesthetic of getting physically smaller with no mention of health benefits. Therefore is it really any wonder that people don’t know where to start and are distrustful of the fitness industry?
For a long time I searched for the magic trick that would finally help me lose the weight.
I did finally lose the weight, 110lbs to be exact. I never found the magic trick, and that my friends is because one does not exist. I finally realized I needed to lose weight for my health, not societal beauty standards, and health would require consistency and continual effort, quick fixes will simply not suffice.
The reality is the methods it takes to transform your health are difficult and take hard work and a lot of commitment. There is nothing sexy about this process, its long and riddled with obstacles and setbacks.
So now that we agree that quick fixes are bullshit and fitness success requires an unsexy amount of work, lets get into the real nitty gritty actions that few people advertise.
Stop Trying to Get Motivated. Motivation is Bullshit
How I stay motivated is probably in the top 5 questions I get asked when people want to know more about my fitness journey.
My answer, I don’t.
I am not motivated. I am disciplined.
Let me tell you. People fucking hate this answer, but let me explain.
Motivation is fleeting. Think of the amount of times you have been motivated to change your lifestyle, ran straight to the gym, signed up for a membership and then barely went after only a few short weeks.
I feel like the word motivation is something people view as a solution when all motivation is really good for is to get you started on a plan. The issue is most people use their motivation to jump right into action without taking time to think in depth about the why and how they are doing something. Getting the gym membership is easy, actually taking the time to figure out how to integrate fitness into ones life is the challenge.
Motivation is not a solution, it is a spark not a fire.
Discipline is the the fire.
Stop waiting to feel motivated. When it comes to your health you shouldn’t need motivation anyways. The fact you are searching for motivation to get started means you already know you are not doing enough to care for the gift of life you have been given. Fuck motivation. Try taking responsibility for your choices instead and develop a plan to become disciplined.
Plan, Like A Lot
You must take the time to plan.
Sunday is not the day before Monday or the last day of the weekend. Sunday is the first day of the week and it is the day you use to set yourself up for success.
Sit down and look at your schedule. I understand, you have work and family commitments. Pencil that all in and then find the times you can get to the gym or do a workout from home. I guarantee you that you have time. You might have to get up earlier but you have time. Schedule your workout into your calendar like you would a meeting with your boss. Workouts are appointments with yourself, view them as non negoihcable.
Now that we covered workouts, lets move onto nutrition.
Food is fuel and deserves more time and attention then we give it. Again Sundays are a great time to plan out your meals for the week and do some prep. Having breakfasts that you can grab when you are in a rush will stop you from stopping by a drive through in the morning. Figure out what you are doing for dinner. Pre cook meals for nights you are working late, chop some vegetable to save some prep time on the nights you are cooking. Make enough so you have leftovers for your families lunch and now you are eliminating another step out of your weeks to do list.
Now let me be honest. This is not easy. But it is vital. If you fail to plan then you are planning on failing.
In total I spend approximately 3-4 hours on Sundays planning for my week but I have found I have more time during the week because I am not thinking about what to make for dinner after a long day and I use those hours to spend time with my husband (he can’t cook but damn can that boy chop some vegetables). Some of my clients get there kids involved. Three hours might sound like a lot of time on a busy Sunday, but the feeling I get knowing I am going into the week prepared is worth every second.
If you still can’t rid your mind of your belief that you do not have enough time to do any of the things I just mentioned I want you to stop reading and do one thing right now.
Out loud say “I don’t have time to (exercise, cook, plan….etc.).
When you are done switch it up and say “It is not a priority to (exercise, cook, plan…..etc).
How does that feel?
Alrighty, moving on.
Mindset is Paramount
Not matter your intentions or how great your plan is, you need to get your mind right.
As someone who struggled with their weight from a young age and has had an eating disorder, you need to acknowledge how you got to where you are and how it will be different this time.
For myself that meant seeing a counsellor to help me figure out why I had such low self esteem and why I used food as a coping mechanism.
Maybe you don’t need to go that far, but I guarantee that you will need to work on how you view yourself and your relationship with your body.
Some of the mind shifts I have worked on cultivating are the following.
- My body is a vehicle to get me through life. It is more important what my body can do then how I think it looks to others.
- I can and I will succeed this time. Stop saying try, you are already entreating failure before you even start.
- I have time to exercise and cook. If I feel I do not then I am not prioritizing my time properly.
Get out a journal, write down some of the reasons you think you are having issues getting healthy and start identifying all the bullshit you tell yourself.
For every excuse you have or negative thought you have about yourself, re-write them in the positive and include some solutions. This will be your roadmap to a new mindset.
Move More & Eat Real Food
Lastly but definitely not lastly, it all comes down to moving more and eating better.
We have all spent time looking for the perfect meal plan or workout but if you are just getting started I guarantee you a few basic changes will make a huge difference.
I never followed a specific diet plan and in the beginning I was just getting to the gym and doing things even if it was not an optimal workout. The point was that I was moving and eating better then I was before and as I went along I learned more and refined my nutrition and fitness routine. Be willing to be a student, to ask for help and to learn as you go.
A few very general guidelines to get you started are the following;
Eat real food. That means 8 serving of fruit and vegetables a day (basically half your plate if you need a visual) and avoiding processed food. When a product has an ingredient list the length of your arm and an expiry date the length of an election cycle, it is probably not good for you.
Stop drinking your calories. I know water is boring but that is what you should be drinking.
When it comes to exercise the best workout is the one you are going to do. Although I am a huge proponent of strength training and yoga, if the only exercise related activity that is calling to you right now is Zumba, then do that. Do not feel like you have to have the optimal fitness routine right away. Pick things you like but that still push you out of your comfort zone and keep pushing yourself as you gain momentum.
Walk. I don’t care how you do it but as a collective we all need to do more of it. Walk after around your neighbourhood after dinner, take your family on a hike, take the stairs instead of the escalator, park farther, whatever it you need to do to get in at least 15,000 steps per day.
So there you have it.
My tips to get you started.
They are not quick. They are not sexy.
But they work over the long run.
When it comes to health we have to play the long game. No shortcuts.