By Yajen Tan
Weight management can be a complete nightmare for those who are starting out fresh. While taking that first step is an amazing accomplishment itself, paving the road to your success can be an unbelievably difficult task with all the fluff that this topic is surrounded by. What if we took a whole new approach to weight loss and just forget about the weight and start aiming for an overall, healthier lifestyle?
Way too often, I see people make the great commitment to taking control of their body, but soon get lost in the forest of quick fix promises that have flooded the fitness and nutrition industry. It sounds too good to be true, to be able to drop 20 pounds in 28 days and get all your money back, and sadly, it is. It’s just not physically possible for most people, who are only looking to drop 20 to 30 pounds of weight. In fact, the average person could suffer pretty severe side effects from attempting weight loss at that kind of intensity.
The truth is, no matter how great that supplement is or how much sweat you plan on getting out, there is no quick fix when it comes to weight loss. The problem with weight loss is that body fat is accumulated over a long period of time, but when we try to resolve this problem, we look at it like a high school project that we can halfheartedly throw together in a couple of days. Whether it’s cracking open a couple beers after work or finding your way to the bottom of the chip bag, habits are the things that really set us back in the long run. Unfortunately, habits take time and commitment to override.
Understanding the time and commitment part first can really give you a head start. Way too many people give up a few weeks, or even months, into a program. We need to shift our attention away from the number on the scale and focus more on the factors that we all know are critical to our success – staying hydrating, eating more fibrous foods, moving more, and lowering stress levels. With all that in mind, where do I even start?
Small habit adjustments are the foundation to my new program that I’m obsessed with. By focusing on tiny adjustments over extended intervals, you’re better able to guarantee success in the long run, and the reality is, you want your lifestyle changes to be around in 2 years from now, not just until summer has come and gone. My primary focuses are fitness, nutrition, sleep, and stress – this is how I recommend you start in each category.
This is probably one of the few times you’ll hear this from a personal trainer, but do not work out when you’re starting out. With all our busy schedules, it can be tough to find enough time to squeeze in a full workout. Instead of setting yourself up to crash and burn, take 2 weeks and just push yourself to get out and walk or jog for 30 minutes. The key here is for you to learn to set aside time for your workout and actually get out and do it.
Healthy eating is really pretty simple, but in the beginning, it can seem like just another headache to deal with. My favorite way to step up my nutrition game is to get in my daily smoothie – which typically consists of 2 cups of different fruit, 3-4 large handfuls of salad mix, 2 cups of water, and occasionally some match powder to get in my caffeine fix. Keep in mind that this also replaces my breakfast, so I wouldn’t recommend that you gulp down this whole thing in addition to your meals.
The best thing about the green smoothie is that it knocks out a bunch of nutrition power ups in one cup! You get a whole lot more fiber, vegetables, and water in a quick and easy 10 minutes. To find one of my favorite smoothie recipes, check out my 3 delicious breakfast recipes under $3.
Sleep is a simple, yet difficult to fulfill, task for many people. We need to start viewing sleep as a way to increase productivity, not decrease it. The best way to do that is to just plan ahead. Force yourself to finish all your work without all those social media distractions, and get yourself into bed 30 minutes earlier every night. That means distractions off and ready to sleep.
One of the scariest things that affect us, is stress. Although I can’t put a finger on what everyone’s personal stress triggers are, I have found that there are great ways of reducing it, before you get the chance to step back and address it. The most helpful tactic that I’ve found, to help reduce my stress, is to better organize my time and my surroundings. That goes for clearing out the clutter that doesn’t need around your room and not working during hours that you set aside for yourself or your family.
If weight loss is something that you’ve set out to achieve this year, I challenge you to forget about weight for a moment. Step back for a moment and try to see what elements of your life you can improve on a grander scale. I promise if you keep that focus in mind, the results will start coming without you even trying.
Yajen Tan is the founder of local fitness and nutrition brand Gimme Fit, which focuses on helping men and women jump start their way into healthy, sustainable lifestyles. To keep up with the latest updates in the health and fitness world, check out our Facebook page.