More often than not, the hardest part of any routine is just getting to the start line. You’ve probably been there before. You plan to jog in the morning, but when the sun rises your brain drums up a million excuses — you’re too tired and it looks a little cloudy outside. There is a way to break the barriers, and that’s what I’m here to help you do! Just as you have to get dressed for a morning jog, this four-week evolution has its starting point. Actually, it has 7 starting points to ensure there is no room for failure.
1. Take a “before” photo.
You may cringe at the thought, but you need to document your starting point — and a picture is worth a thousand words, right? This is the time to take note of how you look and feel right now and “get real” with yourself, because lying won’t produce results. Often times, my clients tell me their before photo was the wake-up call they needed to finally devote the time and energy to a healthier lifestyle. I encourage you to look at your before photo every day (tape it to the bathroom mirror, fridge, etc.), even after you have reached your weight-loss goal as a reminder to never go back to your old self.
2. Pick a role model.
I hear a lot about what my clients DON’T want (I don’t want to be overweight, I don’t want to be tired all the time, I don’t want a big butt). Instead of focusing on what you don’t want, decide what you DO want. Ever been to the hairdresser with a magazine clipping of the exact ‘do you want? Well, you can “do” the same thing for your fitness goals. Find a role model, celebrity or not, and let that be the image you strive to achieve.
3. Stock your pantry.
If it’s out of sight, it’s out of mind. Throw out all unhealthy foods and “trigger treats” (the foods so tempting you just can’t resist), and stock your home with healthier alternatives. Here’s what you need — and all that you need:
– Low-fat protein, such as eggs, lean beef, chicken and fish
– Fresh and/or frozen fruits and vegetables
– Healthy nuts and seeds for snacking
– Whole grains, including brown rice, whole wheat bread and oatmeal
4. Buddy up!
Accountability is a sure-fire way to stay motivated. That’s why I recommend you find a buddy — a certified fitness trainer, friend or significant other — to keep you on track. For those days when you’re left to work out solo or are short on time, you can fall back on at-home exercises. Having basic equipment on hand will ensure you don’t miss a day of training. Invest in a yoga mat, dumbbells in varying weights (5 – 15 lbs.), a stability ball and resistant bands. Fitness DVDs are also an efficient way to squeeze in a sweat session and a fun way to change up your routine.
5. Fill in the gaps.
Your new active body is going to need proper fuel to keep it running like a well-oiled machine. I rely on BSN Lean Dessert Protein shakes to ensure I’m getting the right amount of electrolytes, amino acids, carbs and protein my body needs before and after a hard work out. Other supplements to help aid your weight-loss journey include energy supplements, fat burners and carb-blockers.
6. Repeat yourself.
I recommend practicing self-affirmations. Find a motto, or write your own, that fits your goals and your beliefs. Then, repeat these words of encouragement to yourself over and over, especially when times get tough. I guarantee you’ll be able to stay positive and focused, even during the most challenging days.
7. Visualize the finish.
Everyone from gold medalist athletes to astronauts use visualization to help them succeed. Mentally “walk” through your fitness journey, imagining yourself working out, eating healthy and enjoying your super-athletic lifestyle. Seeing it will help you believe you can actually do it!
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.