Friday, January 8, 2016

Avoid Resolution Sabotage!

New Year's Resolutions. Have you ever made one? I bet you have. Every January, people all over the world maKe health and fitness resolutions.  That's awesome. Start out the new year on track, with a goal and vision to better yourself. However, the sad truth is that around 30% give-up the very first week! An ever bigger percentage give up during weeks two and three. I've seen proof of this driving by the big box gyms in my area. January 1st the parking lot is full. February, you'll see tumbleweeds rolling around in that same parking lots.

Why is that? Why do so many give up so quickly? Self-Sabotage! Often our resolutions and goals are so lofty and huge that they are unobtainable. We are so quick to completely remove something or stop something as a part of our resolutions. "I'm going to stop eating carbs. No more sugar! I'm going to stop eating meat. I'm going vegan!" Or, we're too quick to add drastic changes to our routines. "I'm going to run every day, no breaks! I'm going to workout one hour every day. I'm going ride my bike to work each day!" The basic root of the resolution is solid, but it's often the severity of the limitation or addition or the time frame in which we've given ourselves to accomplish such a goal that we soon realize it just "ain't gonna happen."

I have people come to the studio all the time telling me that "I need to get them to lose 30 lbs in a month." Two things wrong with this expectation. First, the time frame is very unrealistic. Second, the responsibility has been placed on me to get them to lose the weight instead of the individual taking ownership of the weight loss. This is not a scenario for success.

It's great to have goals and to challenge yourself, but if those goals are too unrealistic, you'll only set yourself up for failure.

In stead of wanting to lose 40 lbs by February, make your goal to change your body composition by February. Often when starting to lose weight , especially if you're also beginning to exercise along with your nutrition changes, you may not initially see the weight loss you expect reflected on the scale. This is because your body is going through lots of changes. While you may be losing some body fat, you may also be
gaining a little muscle. That's a good thing, but as a result, the scale may not show the awesome changes you're actually making. So, instead of initially focusing on the scale, focus on measurements. Week 1, measure the circumference of your bicep, chest, waist, hips, thigh, and calf. (Note: Be sure that when you measure your bicep, thigh, and calf that the measurements are all on the same side, so that when  you measure at a later date you'll remeasure the same side. Your left and right sides can have different measurements, so sticking with the same side will keep your data accurate.) Record the measurements  in a journal or on a spreadsheet, so you won't forget. Give yourself three months to work on your diet and exercise. Weigh yourself periodically if you'd like, but don't redo the circumference measurements until the end of the 3rd month. Nine times out of ten, when  you redo those measurements, you'll find that your circulference measurements have decreased! You're an inch smaller here, two inches smaller there, and inch and a half smaller there. So, while the scale may only say you've lost 10-15lbs you may actually have lost a total of 5-6 inches! Proof of your hard work!

Once you continue beyond this point with your nutrition changes and exercise, you'll begin to see more weight loss. The key really is consistency.

The same applies with running. Instead of on January 1st deciding you're going to run a half marathon that spring (even though you're not currently even running 1-mile without stopping), commit to building on that mile. Focus on endurance and building a base. I recommend that a runner build up to a total weekly mileage of 15-20 miles a week for 4 weeks before beginning training for a half marathon. So, begin by running 2-3 days a week to build that base. Don't focus on pace, just run. If you're currently running about a mile add a few minutes of running to the end of each run gradually increasing your distance. Build to 2 miles, then three over time. Then move to 3-4 days a week. That way when you do start that half marathon training, you won't be trying to build a base while at the same time your trying to acclimate to the demands of higher mileage in your training.

You have a whole entire year. Think through your resolution. Set yourself up for success not failure. You can do anything you put your mind to as long as you're realistic with your goals and time frame.

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