In Week 1, you were armed with the know-how to get started. Hopefully, now you have taken action and started exercising regularly (three or more days per week) and eating healthy new foods. (Remember that list of pantry essentials?) It’s normal if you find these lifestyle changes a bit challenging, especially in the first week. But as the saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” If your patience is wearing thin, I offer these tips to help keep you on course — and building that body of your dreams!
Shift your attitude from “I have to work out” to “I get to work out.” This minor tweak in perspective will help you view exercise as a gift you give yourself. And who doesn’t love gifts?
Reward hard work with non-food items. (The gifts just keep on coming!) When motivation is waning and you need an extra boost, tell yourself that you can have a treat after the next workout. Stick to rewards that soothe your soul, not fill your belly: new exercise gear or an indulging massage.
Make connections through group fitness classes at the gym, with your neighbors or even with complete strangers in an online community. Feeling a part of a “club” — something bigger than yourself — may be the motivator you need to keep with your program. When like-minded people unite, great gains can be made!
Create an inspiration board featuring your “before” photo, your ideal “after” image, pictures of a dress you want to fit into, healthy foods, magazine clippings of workouts to try and so on. Maybe a picture of your kids inspires you to get healthy for them. Whatever sparks your drive, pin it and hang the board in a well-trafficked area so you see it every day.
Refresh your routine every week, because you will get bored and your muscles will adapt. Many people plateau after months of doing the exact same routine. Prevent the dreaded standstill by shocking your muscles and your taste buds. If you run every Monday, try low-impact swimming or go roller-blading to get your heart rate up. In the kitchen, pick up a new cookbook and teach yourself a different healthy recipe each week. The key is variety.
Jennifer Nicole Lee is an international fitness model, best-selling author and motivational speaker who has appeared on Oprah, CBS The Early Show, Inside Edition,E! Entertainment and Fox and Friends. She is the author of the The Fun Fit Foodie Cookbook and was named one of the “Three Top Females in the Fitness Industry” of 2011 by Yahoo Sports. Check out her health and fitness tip videos exclusively on the Vitacost Live Wire.