I don’t know about you, but I’ve seen plenty of articles all geared toward helping me lose weight.
“The 10 Habits of Skinny People”
“Drop 5 Pounds Now!”
“Sexy by Summer!”
I’m sure you’ve seen/read plenty. I know I have. Thousands of articles all geared toward new and “different” tricks to help you lose weight, because apparently what you’ve been doing just isn’t good enough.
Weight loss is a very lucrative business. Americans spend an average of $20 billion on weight loss (see link above). Everyone is trying to sell you some sort of product to help you lose weight, whether its a workout plan, diet book, or magic pill. (Btw: those don’t exist.) You could spend a fortune on products geared to help you, but unless you learn the 2 major components of weight loss, they won’t work.
What are they?
- A structured plan
- Self-control and discipline
Sounds simple, doesn’t it? It is! There really is no secret to weight loss. Any program you bought off of an infomercial works if you follow it. Why? It’s an exercise and eating program (structured plan) that you have to follow (self control/discipline). The reason they don’t always work is because we don’t follow the plan due to lack of self discipline or the plan didn’t work for our lifestyle.
In order to be successful, we have to find something that We. Will. Stick. To. It doesn’t matter what it is or what you do.
“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” -Benjamin Franklin
We actually have a our 30 Day Reset going this month, and you can download a blank schedule and fill it out to suit your preferences and tastes. The key is to find something that works. You can use ours, make up your own, or buy one. It doesn’t matter. Plan your workouts and plan your meals and snacks. Not having a plan sets you up to fail. Things to look for or include in your plan:
- Workouts – depending on your fitness level you can start small or go big. Find an activity you enjoy whether its Zumba, running, CrossFit, yoga, walking, whatever! It doesn’t matter as long as you commit to moving your body. Schedule in 3 workouts to start (more if exercise is already a part of you life), and commit to it! Whatever time you can fit it in, treat it like an appointment or a meeting that you can’t skip. Strive for 30 minutes, but honestly anything is better than nothing. Even 5 minutes! The goal is to make exercise a part of your life, however it can fit into your life. (Again, we have a calendar you can download to help you with your planning. 🙂 )
- Diet – this is probably the area many of us struggle with the most. I know I do. I have no problem finding time to workout or committing to a workout program, but I like to eat. Guess what? No amount of exercise is going to fix a bad diet. Many programs you can buy from companies like Beachbody will have a diet plan included. I have never been successful with those. That’s not to say they don’t work, but they don’t work for me. And that’s the key. You have to find what works for you. I always make my own little meal plan that I can base off of what I’m making my family for the week. I include three meals, two snacks a day and lots of water. I also plan for my indulgences (like a weekly bowl of ice cream. Yum!) Whatever you choose, find or make a plan that you can stick too!
Self Control and Discipline
“Adults devise a plan and follow it. Children do what feels good.” -Dave Ramsey
This is where it gets a little tough. You can have the best diet and exercise plan in the world and still fail. Why?
Because we lack the self control or self discipline to really make it work. Ouch. I don’t mean to sound mean, it’s just the harsh truth.
Self control and discipline are muscles that need to be exercised. You so often hear people use the excuse of “I have no willpower” or “I can’t help it” to explain why they can’t lose weight. And guess what? Until you make the decision that you are going to master yourself, the excuses will always be there.
How can you exercise the “self control muscle”?
- Set realistic goals. Make sure your plan is something you can realistically stick to. Making a plan to run 5 miles a day and eat nothing but salads when you have never gone running and hate salad isn’t something you can sustain, but switching out your morning bagel to a veggie scramble with wheat toast and taking a family walk after supper might be.
- Practice delaying gratification. You are an adult. You can do whatever you want. But if you want to meet your goals, you need to remember how to make yourself wait. (Remember when you were a kid and your mom would make you wait until snack time to eat? It’s the same thing.) The good news is, having those meals, snacks and an indulgence planned makes it easier to to resist the kids’ goldfish at 2:30 pm when you know you have an apple and peanut butter scheduled at 3. It also makes it easier to say no to dessert every night, when you know you have a bowl of ice cream (or whatever your treat of choice is) scheduled on Saturday night. You don’t have to tell yourself no, just remind yourself to wait.
- Deliberately practice self control. This is going to sound really wacky, but here me out. Start putting yourself in situations where you can flex your “self control muscles.” This can be a tricky thing, but part of our problem is we either lost or were never taught self control. Allow yourself one cookie, but no more. Go shopping but don’t buy anything. Don’t allow yourself to watch TV or play on your phone for a night. When you are successful, be sure to congratulate yourself! Little things like that over time can can strengthen those muscles and it becomes easier over time to practice self control when situations surprise you.
The goal (besides weight loss) is to begin teaching yourself healthy habits that stick for life. What works for me, might not necessarily work for you.