Isn’t it funny how easily our goals from the New Year begin to dwindle away as the months go by? Then it seems everyone’s in a panic as Spring Break approaches and it’s time to get our bodies back in shape. Studies have shown that there’s an increase in gym attendance about three weeks before break. That means that March has been a busy month for most of us.
As I’ve been talking about these last few months, fitness and nutrition should not be something that fades in and out. It should be something that we implement into our daily lives. So why is it so hard to keep the commitment? We clearly state our goals for the New Year and even invest in workout programs, new workout attire, and gym memberships. So why do we find ourselves feeling so guilty and like a complete failure when we go to put on that favorite swimsuit and it doesn’t fit?
Having a strong support group will help you achieve and maintain your goals. Trying to keep up healthy habits and an active lifestyle can be very stressful unless you have others on board with you. Have you ever tried to eat healthy during a business lunch with others around you enjoying food that you’ve tried so hard to avoid? It’s hard and it can be frustrating when you feel like you’re missing out on something and being punished for wanting to feel better. Make it known to others what your goals are. Start a challenge with your friends or co-workers. There are a lot of companies now that have started Biggest Loser Challenges. Employers realize that when people are healthier they make better employees which can also decrease the cost of health insurance.
There’s no easy way to lose weight but there are simple steps to get started. Set small realistic goals for yourself. Achieving small goals will inspire you to continue forward whereas trying to do too much may cause you to become overwhelmed and leave you ready to give up. Reward yourself! Each time you workout put a dollar in a jar. Then when you’ve reached a goal use that money to treat yourself. Having the visual of making progress will keep you motivated.
When you take the stress out of getting into shape and replace it with a desire to be healthy, it will benefit you all around. Stress releases a hormone called cortisol which can slow down your metabolism causing weight gain. Try relaxing techniques like yoga, journaling, or walking. These activities benefit your health and peace of mind.
So forget the crash diets, and numerous hours on the treadmill. Let today be a new day. Set a goal, work towards it, and relax. You’ll find not only are you going to achieve it faster, but you’ll feel better in the process of getting to it. Don’t allow yourself to feel guilty for falling off the wagon. Just get back up and keep moving forward!
Columnist Kim Duke can be reached at