You're pumped. You're ready. You're going to do this!
The first few weeks of a new, healthier lifestyle are so exciting; anything seems possible! But then, after the zillionth consecutive night hitting the treadmill instead of happy hour, your enthusiasm starts to dissipate… along with your resolve to build a better you.
It's perfectly natural to lose steam, points out health coach Jason Hagen on his wellness blog, Fit Metabolism. It's also perfectly natural to let one or two slip-ups devolve into throwing in the towel altogether. To keep that from happening to you, we've compiled a list of seven strategies that will help you stay on the right track and say farewell to your fat pants forever.
1. Understand your goals. Before you embark on your quest to get healthy, think about what your goals are so you can create an action plan accordingly, suggests trainer Louise Green in Best Health. After all, it's a lot easier to know if you're on the right track if you have goals to measure your progress against. So if you're trying to sculpt toned arms, for instance, you can hit the weights with a mission and steadily increase the amount you’re lifting in increments.
2. Always be prepared. Uh oh. It's almost bedtime and you've got the munchies. This is prime time for getting sidetracked if you're not prepared. Make sure you always have healthy staples on hand so you can quickly whip up something healthy and avoid ripping open a bag of chips. Shape magazine recommends always having 10 healthy go-to foods in the house, like eggs, whole-wheat tortillas and bananas.
3. Ignore the supermodels. You may think that posting a pic of Her Thinness Kate Moss in your kitchen would be inspirational. But according to a group of researchers in the Netherlands, women who regularly looked at pictures of thin models became dejected and fell off track. One of the researchers told NPR that being exposed to unrealistic body types may have caused the dieters to give up altogether, since they felt they would never attain a model's bod. During the experiment, women who weren't exposed to photos of models actually managed to stay on track.
4. Reward yourself -- sans food. The last thing you want to do is reward your healthy lifestyle choices with greasy nachos that will just set you back, trainer Michael Bronco points out to Fitbie.com. That doesn't mean it's not important to celebrate small milestones; after all, it's a lot easier to stay on track if you have something to look forward to just around the corner. So why not get excited about fun indulgences that won't expand your waistline, like taking a healthy cooking class or getting a pedicure?
5. Sign up for a charity race. Once you're on board for a charitable marathon, triathlon, or fun run and start fundraising, you won't just be letting yourself down if you give up -- you'll be disappointing everyone you asked to pledge on your behalf. That's a pretty powerful motivator to stay at it, points out Women’s Health.
6. Use a smartphone app, like Lose It or My Fitness Pal. Trainer Jennifer Cohen lists her top eight favourite (and free) healthy living apps at Forbes.com. She points out that one of the keys to staying on track and meeting your goals is using the tools that you already have at your disposal, like your smartphone.
7. Ask for help. If your spouse just stocked the pantry full of potato chips, it's going to be pretty hard to stick to your carrot sticks. That's why health coach Jason Hagen recommends getting your loved ones and coworkers on board with your weight loss goals. If everyone knows you're serious about dropping pounds, your colleague may be less likely to drop a box of donuts on your desk in the morning.