by Teresa Saborsky
Stop thinking you have to kill and deprive yourself in the upcoming year!!
So you now have plans to sweat, lift, push up, pull up, run, cycle, and anything else you can think of to pummel and force your body into submission. You’re trying out Keto, Atkins, Paleo, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Nutri-System, intermittent fasting, portion control, no sugar, no fast food, no fat, total deprivation of all good things in life.
First, kick back with a glass of wine, green tea, chamomile, or whatever relaxes you (no, please no soda). Take deep breaths and chill. Now, start over.
You want to live better, longer, more efficiently? Have you sat down to figure out what you really want? Which of those I just mentioned do you really want to be when you grow up? I mean what *you* want, not what someone else thinks you “need”. By the way, watch out for that word, “need”…and “should” — they’re usually progress killers from the get-go. So, what is it you want? What is your goal? Is it realistic? I mean, losing 20 lbs in a couple of weeks probably isn’t going to work even if you’re being fed through a tube in the hospital.
So let’s get real.
Diet: If you do wean off processed stuff and start doing a little meal prep, you’ll probably see a lot of difference quickly. There are a gazillion recipes out there that use herbs and spices that really taste good and use actual, real food. I know, I know…you’ve heard “fast food is expensive and bad for you” so many times your eyes are permanently rolled back into your head. Yeah, well, grow up a little. It’s true. Have I partaken? Yep. Often? Hardly at all….because it’s really expensive and I like to save my money for Green Tea Latte’s from Starbucks (with almond milk, really…it’s a way to cut down on sugar). It also makes me feel lousy once I’ve gotten used to real food again.
What I’m saying is, to start, be simple and don’t set yourself up to fail. Meal prep will save you money, a *lot*, and you’ll actually start feeling better.
Drink water. With lemon. Maybe a shot of bourbon or scotch….every once in a while won’t hurt.
Exercise: Again, start slow. As the saying goes, you didn’t get into the condition you are overnight, you can’t change it overnight. Enjoy the journey a bit. Start with some basic weight training with dumb bells like, inclined presses, bench flies, lat pull downs, single arm rows (palm turned out), proper squats or box “touches”, oblique crunches on a yoga ball with your hands behind your head (resting on your hands), elbows out and only come up as far as tightening your belly will take you. start with a heavy set of 10, then reduce weight down one, and do 3 more sets of 10. You can superset a couple to maximize your time. Walk on a treadmill on your off days, or elliptical, or bike or rowing machine. Again, don’t kill yourself, but figure out where you’re comfortable and push that a little. Intervals are good after you’ve warmed up. But only do about 20 to 30 minutes to start….or 15. Just start easy and build up.
Stretching and Rolling: One of the most important things to do. I’m a corrective exercise specialist, so I have to say that. It’s true, though. Stretch. You can pass on the roller at first if you can’t use the roller comfortably, but do stretch. I mean it. It actually helps you move better than you can even imagine. It helps keep the muscle fibers supple, the facia moving and gliding around (rather than sicking and messing you up). Increase in blood supply to the muscles is a very good thing.
If you want to do the above mentioned diets or systems, knock yourself out. They’re what some people need. But, please, be honest with yourself. Pay attention to how your body and emotions react to the diet. Get in touch with and pay attention to your body. The same goes with exercise. Clients come to me as a personal trainer to help them identify goals, how to reach them, and hold them accountable. NOT ALL EXERCISES AND TRAINING SYSTEMS ARE GOOD FOR YOU!! Pushing yourself is a way to make gains, but you have to do them in a responsible way. Please!! If you hurt yourself by going to fast and hard too soon, you lose ground in the end and, mentally, it sucks the motivation out of you.
Slow down, enjoy the process. Create a new lifestyle and *enjoy* it. Get off your own back. Those little voices in the back of your mind are so freaking annoying and sound a lot like your mom, dad, siblings, or skinny popular kid in high school.
Oh, last thing. Stay off the scale. That’s harder than not eating sugar or fast food. I know you’re going to do it anyway, but don’t pay too much attention. But I guarantee you don’t know what a fit person weighs. Body fat and muscle mass are the best guides, but they’re hard to get a good measure. Instead, take a photo of yourself, pay attention to how your clothes fit, and how much better you move. Write down your workouts when you start, write down how you felt when you did them, then do the same workout in a month — it will be your warmup. Seriously.