As I said in my podcast this week, many people have similar New Year’s Resolutions and goals, i.e. fitness and weight loss. But, as I discuss in the episode Relationship with your Body (and Goals), this pursuit needs to come from a place of love, healing, and positivity. If you want to lose weight because you hate yourself, want to look like someone else, or don’t love who you are, then it may not work, you will keep being pushed back, and you will never be satisfied.
Instead, come at your fitness goals with:
- Wanting to feel good, not necessarily look good
- Appreciation and love for yourself, so much so that you will want to eat healthier and work out
- The goal to forge habits and a fitness routine
Let’s discuss why some people fall off with their fitness goals by the time that it comes to February. Firstly, they do too much too fast and inevitably ache and tire themselves out so much that they quit. Secondly, they are doing what they’re doing for all the wrong reasons in the first place. Thirdly, they have deprived themselves of this thing and forced that thing and the pursuit of fitness has just been no fun for them.
Why and how do we succeed with this kind of goal? We’ve got to want it. To be passionate and motivated and dedicated. If you’re not, you won’t succeed because you won’t be willing to put in the work. If you’re forcing things you hate and you hate yourself in the process, I don’t see how that will ever add up to success.
I eat fruit, salad, and vegetables now for one main reason: I like them! Forcing yourself to exclusively eat foods you hate (and not a lot of food, either) will always lead to failure. Instead, if you simply decrease the amount of sugary, fatty foods that you know are bad, and up the “healthy” foods that you know are good, you will see results.
Finding new, exciting recipes for your meals that expand your palate and include more of the foods your body has been missing. And then, over time, you will like the healthier options. I no longer miss takeaways or crisps or biscuits – mostly because I never forbade them in the first place. By taking foods off your list forever, you are telling your mind that you crave it. Instead, by not taking this approach, you know that it is always there, and you can have it, but you won’t want it as much – that’s the aim.
This is not easy. I had a kind of food phobia for many years. I couldn’t even eat in public for many years due to my social anxiety, either. But in time, we change. When we’re ready, our minds and bodies sort of flip a switch that’s like, “It’s go time! I’m ready!” and things start to change before you know it. This is a very emotional topic for me because like I say, for most of my life I ate little more than chicken nuggets, pizza, and sausages. Now, I eat an innumerable amount of things that bring me so much joy. I cook and experiment and try new things. And I haven’t had chicken nuggets in god-knows how long.
This can be you, too, if you are patient and if you come at your goals from the right standpoint.
There are three things you need to be able to smash fitness related goals:
- A good relationship with your reason WHY
- A healthy, SMART, realistic action plan for execution
- Trust and love in yourself
And please, stop telling yourself lies.
“Healthy food tastes bad” – NO IT DOES NOT! You’re either cooking it wrong or not trying enough variety.
“Working out is too hard” – No, the gym may be hard, but working out is not because there are so many creative and fun ways to work out without even realising that you’re doing it!
“I’ve got too far to go. I can’t do this” – Pft, I’m sure that there are people who have been worse and accomplished the same goals. It’s just about how much you want it.
Here are some healthier truths and ideas to help you have the right mindset going into your fitness goals in 2019:
- Weight loss can take years.
- Being good in the gym or on a run or whatever else may take years.
- That person you want to look like, worked for years before they got to where they are now.
- There is no fad diet, trend, miracle shake, expert, or trainer that will “fix you” for you. You must put in the work, wholly and lovingly, to succeed.
- Have the mantra: “if I love myself, I will look after myself” – Simple.
- Less self-hate, more self-love. Less change, more improvement.
- Accept where you are, love who you are, and then trust yourself to do the right things towards your fitness goals
- Fitness isn’t about looking a certain way. It’s about strength, speed, agility, durability, stamina, flexibility, and confidence.
- Make a conscious effort to develop a routine for your fitness and healthy eating so that it becomes a set habit that requires little to no effort on your part.
To be able to reach your fitness goals, you need to know why you really want to do it. You want to feel less sluggish? Great. You want to be able to run a marathon. Go you! You want to fit back into an old pair of jeans? Wonderfully specific. You want to feel stronger and fitter in general? Excellent choice. But you need to know why. A real why. Not because you’re fat. Not because you don’t look hot enough. That just won’t cut it.
Ways to reach your fitness goals in 2019:
- Take the stairs where possible
- Run with the dog
- Go on lunchtime walks
- Get an activity tracker (can be a simple one for only less than £20 on Amazon) that will help you track your steps and alert you when you have been sitting for too long
- Morning gym or work out or run; evening gym, workout or run: fit it around work!
- Use your home space, get some equipment so that it is so easy to do a quick work out (again, can be something cheap)
- Get inspired by the right people
- Visualise it every day so that you keep motivated
- Track progress to feel like you’re getting somewhere
- Don’t weigh yourself too often, it’s off-putting
- Get a buddy to do it with you
- Be held accountable by someone so that you’ve no choice but to do it
- Slow and steady, patience, my friend
- Set realistic goals and break the goal down into actionable, trackable, smaller steps
- Don’t cut out all food, fun food, or fat food – just cut it down slowly
- See it as exploration and expression and experimentation
Pursuing fitness is a lifestyle, not an end goal that you can stop once you’ve lost the weight or ran the race. It’s about making the right choices, for the right reasons, each day. So, rethink your whys and your hows. Be smart, kind, and realistic and I bet you’ll actually see that come 2020, you’ve achieved your goals.
Bonus: some ways to include fitness (working out) into your life:
- Lift weights
- Do circuits
- Use resistance bands, foam rollers, medicine balls, dumbbells, bikes, ankle or wrist weights (etc.) at home
- Yoga or Pilates or Tai Chi
- Swimming or aqua aerobics
- Dance of any kind
- Martial arts
- Walk with a group or go on hikes
- Vigorous gardening or housework (yes, it counts)
- Obstacle courses
- Boot camps
- Gym: there’s always the gym, of course, but it’s not the only way to work out, remember that
Before changing your eating/food allowance, check:
- Are you just bored eating? If so, fix your boredom, not the food.
- Do you emotional-eat? If so, you may need to speak with a therapist or doctor.
- Do you eat badly or always out take-out because of your friends?
- Are you tired instead of hungry at times? If so, fix your sleep pattern.
Use apps for work out tips and exercises and calorie counting etc. Visit the NHS website for real advice and information about weight loss and fitness.