OK, so I am going to be completely honest with you. TWICE I have been in the position of not working out, gaining weight, and then getting back on the bandwagon to get my Sugar Honey Iced Tea together! If any of you have read my story, you know the first time was when I weighed over 200 pounds after having my three kids and getting a divorce. That story is referenced in my bio, my book … basically everywhere! I became a lifestyle coach, speaker, and author because of that part of my life.
However, unless you know me personally, you will not know that 2015 was an extremely difficult year for me on so many different levels. I am a very resilient person and have taught people how to find the strength within themselves to achieve all that they desire in life, but I am also human. And in 2015, it seemed like I was being buried in one thing too many and could not see a way out. So, I just plain ole gave up. I will say it was the first time in my life that I made a conscious decision to say “FORGET IT!” And in doing so, I dropped everything that was me … on purpose. My exercising, healthy eating, my passion for people and life, my dreams and goals … my fight! You see, the first time I had gained weight was because I had children and being a mother was my priority. I was also in a bad marriage, and I didn’t realize what was happening right away. I just got so caught up in other things that I forgot about me. But I got my crap together, reassessed and prioritized my life, and lost over 65 pounds in less than six months through my program. I then had the privilege of helping countless people do the same over the years. But like I said, 2015 was different; it was the first time I chose to walk away from it all because things in my life seemed overwhelming, and in doing so I gained 40 pounds — forcing me to experience the weight loss journey all over again. And let me tell you, the second time around was NOT easy . . . especially when you are forty! But that will be another book. Yes, book! I have way too much to say about the subject of losing weight after 40, so I have to write a whole damn book about it. Stay tuned for that rant! Ok back to the topic. I believe everything happens for a reason, therefore, I feel experiences in 2015 were so that I could know what it was to face certain obstacles as a woman over 40 and to see if I could Houdini myself out of that mess to help others ─ and, with God’s help … I did!
Because of these two very prominent experiences in my 44 years of having to start my weight-loss journey from scratch … I am quite the expert. Like I have mentioned time and time again, the best advice comes from people that have walked in your shoes. How can someone give you advice if they have never truly shared your experience mentally, physically, or emotionally, and came out on the other side?
Ok so down to the nitty gritty. How the heck do you get your rear in gear when you don’t have any get-up-and-go because of a long hiatus of inactivity? Well, you are in luck because I am going to share my tools and tips that have helped me and the many amazing people I have been so blessed to coach.
1. DON’T GO FULL MMA ON YOUR NEW WEIGHT LOSS AND FITNESS GOALS: The biggest mistake people make when they start a new diet and workout plan is to go balls to the wall, only to crash and burn. Sure you will start off the first few weeks all in, going to the gym every day and trying every class. On top of that, your eating will be on point ─ Popeye and Dr. Oz won't have anything on you! You will even drop a good 10-20 pounds. But, after a few weeks, you are totally over it and ready to bail because life gets in the way and, well, to be quite honest … it sucks!
Slow and steady wins the race, my friends ─ slow and steady! This is about creating a new permanent healthy lifestyle, not a momentary fix. In doing so, you will realize it isn’t about “balls to the wall" but about adopting new healthy habits that you will enjoy and stick with. Yes, you need to work out for at least an hour a day, six days a week. I recommend three day's be cardio and the other three dedicated to strength training. So find the classes, settings, groups, and activities that you actually DO enjoy. Rather than starting your diet with a plate full of Bugs Bunny’s favorite foods, why don’t you research what IS and what IS NOT healthy and start experimenting with foods you DO like so that you can gradually adopt a healthy eating lifestyle that you will enjoy? So what is the moral of the story? Rather than go full-out and then crash and burn, start slow by experimenting with healthy foods and recipes that you like, so you don’t stuff your face with crap. Find workouts that you look forward to and don’t go overboard on the workouts anymore by forcing yourself to be at the gym two hours a day doing things you think suck! Like I said, slow and steady wins the race, my friends. It’s about gradual weight loss, not killing yourself with the hottest diet fad only to wind up burying your sorrows in a pint of ice cream.
2. STOP BEATING YOURSELF UP FOR FALLING OFF TRACK: People being out of shape every now and again is a totally normal thing. So getting down on yourself for temporarily quitting exercise and gaining weight is most certainly not going to make yourself feel super motivated to get back on track. Life happens, people … period! How you speak to yourself has a direct impact on your results. And if you keep bashing yourself for what you didn’t do, should have done, or how crappy you feel about yourself now . . . Well, my friends, that is a recipe for disaster. Focus on the goal, stop the negative self-talk, and focus your energy and thoughts on the good stuff: what you want, your goals, and what you want to achieve. Negative self-talk breeds negativity and yo-yo weight loss. Positive, empowering, and focused energy = YOU achieving your goals!
3. THE FIRST COUPLE OF WEEKS ARE GOING TO SUCK:
I’m not going to lie. Going back to the gym after not working out for a while is rough! The night before you start, you will have nightmares for what’s about to come, and then when you wake up in the morning and begin to play the game of ...
“I have to but I don’t want to” with yourself. “God, I have to finally get off my ass and lose weight. But I DON’T WANT TO WORKOUT!! Crap, I have to run to the store and get the groceries for tonight’s dinner, and I haven’t washed the car, and I have to get all this done before the kids get off of school. Maybe I should start this on a day I don’t have so much to do. BUT NOOOOOO I have to do this now or else I will never do it!”
You know you have had that conversation with yourself many times … don’t lie!
At first, it’s probably going to be difficult to get through workouts you had little problem with when you were exercising regularly, and that’s where most people get frustrated because it’s hard to stay motivated when every push-up feels like hell. But remember, your workouts won’t always feel that bad. After you have a couple of weeks under your belt, it’ll all feel way more do-able. Having realistic expectations for your first couple weeks back will make them easier to get through.
4. HAVE SEVERAL SHORT TERM AND ONE LONG TERM GOAL:
The thought of losing 30, 40, 50, or more pounds can be daunting; and that fear can sabotage your success. This is why I am a big believer in setting a long-term goal and several mini-goals that will ultimately lead you to the main one. First, write down a realistic weight loss goal, along with a realistic timeline. Second, create several short-term monthly goals you would like to achieve that will help lead you to the big one!
For example: If your goal is to lose 30 pounds, knowing that a two-pound a week weight loss is a normal recommended steady weight loss number, then you know that you want to reach your ultimate weight loss in four months. That will be your long-term goal. Now, with this you can create your short-term monthly goals. At two pounds a week, in a four-week month, you want to aim for an eight-pound loss every month. Instead of focusing on one huge number, you have a smaller, more attainable number to attack with a specific timeline to keep you on track.
Thinking about making a small but meaningful impact will help keep you motivated, even if it’s just “I will feel amazing and proud of myself after I get this done,” or “I will feel like such a badass when I lose eight pounds this month.” Imagine how it’ll feel to get that workout done and then bask in the feeling!
5. REFLECT ON WHAT TOOK YOU OFF TRACK THE LAST TIME:
If you’re contemplating trying to get back to exercising, chances are you’ve done so before and fell off track. In order to be successful and stay motivated, you have to start getting real with yourself. Reflect and be honest about what threw you off your game last time so you can stay on track this time around. If the holidays derailed you, consider finding some quick workouts you can do between all the revelry. If vacations or travel made it tough to stick to exercising, bookmark workouts you can do while traveling. If you had to grab a bunch of fast food because you are too busy to go home and cook, pick one day a week where you can meal prep 3–4 meals that you can separate and pack in plastic containers that you can grab and go with each day. Be real with yourself and try to figure out what went wrong last time and then beat yourself to the punch!
6. MAKE SURE YOUR DIET SUPPORTS YOUR GOALS:
If you’re working out to lose weight or build muscle, make sure your diet supports those goals. But even if your goal is simply to get fitter and healthier and feel better, your diet could be what determines how much energy you have for a workout and how you recover after exercising. To be honest, diet is the key to success! Learn what the good and bad foods are, how to properly eat, and how much to eat. If you haven’t read my book, Transform, grab a copy and follow the eating plan that I created that has helped countless people. Or, the internet is filled with a ton of good information. But the hard truth is, if you want to lose weight, you’re going have to eat right!
Yes, it is rough getting back on track, but fighting hard to reach your goal and coming out on the other side is one of the best feelings you will ever experience. You can achieve anything and everything you want in this life, all you have to do is make a decision to change and then do the work. I believe in you ... now it's time to believe in yourself.
I’m sending you good energy … NOW GO GET ‘EM!