When I trained for my first half marathon in 2012, I never knew how much I’d love running. I always ran for exercise but never for speed or endurance. I’m still not the fastest, but each day, I get stronger. Since starting my journey, weight management has become easier. Many people start strong, doing a lot at the beginning to get quick results, and then fizzle out. Life gets busy and in the way, they miss one workout, then another, then suddenly, exercise isn’t the priority it was at the beginning.
How can we combat this? It isn’t easy as I and my friends have gone through burnout phases. Here are some tips to stay motivated and get back on track when needed:
- Start slow: Set your schedule to something attainable. Look at each week on a calendar and write in days that you can get a workout in. Aim for at least 30 minutes each time, but getting anything is better than skipping altogether.
- Any activity counts: Whether it’s walking, running, biking, lifting weights, CrossFit, swimming laps, indoor video workouts, etc, something is better than nothing. The best activity is not only one we love but something we will do.
- Find a partner or group: Sometimes, we may not feel like going. It can be fun and effective to have someone expecting you to be at the gym or the track.
- Set goals: Either a number of workouts per week or a race or event scheduled should help keep you motivated.
- Measure success by something other than weight: Body weight isn’t always the best indicator. Go by how your clothes fit or how you feel. Increasing exercise also increases energy level.
In addition to getting more exercise, it’s important to improve your diet as well. The saying is true, “You can’t outrun a bad diet.” Some tips to help with your diet:
- Start with small changes: Cut one bad food/drink habit out per day.
- Incorporate more produce: Fruits and vegetables are low-fat, low-calorie and high-fiber, which helps you feel fuller longer.
- Drink more water: Reducing or eliminating sugary beverages benefits overall health and weight.
- Avoid fad diets: Focus on portion control and eating well-
- balanced meals.
- Avoid fast food or eating at restaurants: When going out to eat, choose smaller portions or kids meals and choose vegetables or a side salad over unhealthy sides.
Eating right and exercising definitely is a constant work in progress. It’s easy to get off track, so having the self-motivation to resume healthy habits is important. Don’t get bogged down by the scale; just keep going and allow time for progress. Slow progress is still progress.