Many people start the year off with the greatest intentions for losing weight and adopting a healthier lifestyle. Some are successful, many are not. People who do lose weight by drastically reducing calories often gain back even more weight than they lost and find themselves worse off than when they started.
As a personal trainer in Ottawa for ten years, I’ve seen this cycle repeat itself time and time again. I now realize that setting a goal to achieve weight loss is only just the beginning of a journey that will change a person’s lifestyle for good! Everyone who sets a goal to lose weight should have a plan that they can follow for a lifetime. I am here to tell you that this is really not that hard to achieve if you have the right tools and guidance. My clients who slowly incorporated lifestyle changes in their exercise and nutrition habits are the ones who achieved the best and most long-lasting results.
The problem with making too many lifestyle changes at once is that in a few weeks, something will usually happen that makes us fall off the wagon and revert back to our old ways. We could suffer an injury or a stressful life event could come up. Sometimes we fall off the wagon for a social event or celebration, and then find it too hard to get back on again. It can happen to even the most motivated and it can make us feel like meaningful lifestyle changes are beyond our control.
The problem is not that we do not have enough control over ourselves or our lives to adopt meaningful change, the problem is that we try to adopt too many changes at one time. Too often we try to follow popular diet or fitness programs that we read or hear about and they are not tailored to overcome our own individual obstacles or meet our needs. If you are not currently doing any exercise, maybe it would be a good idea to start by taking 10 minutes per day and incorporating light intensity movements like walking, light weight training, or stretching, rather than trying to follow a magazine program designed for someone at an advanced fitness level. Instead of trying to follow a calorie or carb-restricted diet, start of by eating more slowly, or eating off a smaller plate, so that you will eat less. Once a week or two has passed and you are comfortable with this small change, then you may be ready to add a bit more time or intensity to your workouts or start implementing another good nutritional habit.
I know that at the start, it doesn’t feel like you’ll ever achieve your weight loss goal by making small, incremental changes. Trust me, this approach always produces better, longer lasting results. It is better for your overall health to proceed in this way, and you will find that it’s easier than you could have imagined!
-Burke Cleland, Fitness and Nutrition Coach
Posted by Burke