Doing good things for yourself takes skill. It sounds like it should be the easiest thing in the world (after all this is our body, so why wouldn’t we treat it well) but in reality it isn’t always easy to recognize what self-care really looks like. Eating a huge slice of pizza for lunch initially feels great, and it is what our body seems to crave. Going for a 5-mile run feels anything but great and our body hurts as we do it. Reconciling the fact that something feels bad right now but will feel great in a few months is a really difficult thing to do even for the most patient, future-oriented of people.
In reality, we’re working against old impulses and bad habits, and losing weight is going to require us to be uncomfortable for a while before we start feeling better than ever before.
So, how do we take that discomfort and ease it into something that we can manage on a daily basis? How do we remain positive through our whole weight loss journey without losing faith?
We have a few ideas.
Visualize your goal
What do you want to look like? How do you want to feel? What are the clothes you plan to wear when you shed those pounds? Think about your goal every day, and visualize it in your mind. Keep your focus on what you want to accomplish and remember that your goal and the feeling you’ll get after you accomplish it will feel better than any cake or candy you can eat. You’ll not only look better, you’ll know you’re the kind of person who can stick to a promise, the kind of person that has the strength to make a real change.
Take baby steps
You don’t have to change your entire life in a single day. In fact, making small changes and taking it slowly and carefully is a much better idea because it allows you to adjust to a new lifestyle. Making a dramatic change rarely works because it’s too big of a shock for us. From years of bad habits and unhealthy choices, we expect ourselves to suddenly exercise every single day, eat nothing but salad, and never touch a cookie again.
You need to be kinder and more patient than that. Take baby steps and introduce one or two good habits each week instead of immediately doing a one-eighty.
Healthy over skinny
Remember: skinny does not equal healthy. In fact, the healthiest of athletes weigh a lot, but their body composition is very different. Instead of fat, they’ve got muscles.
In general, not building muscles is one of the biggest mistakes people make when losing weight. While eating healthy food is certainly the right way to shed pounds, muscles shouldn’t be underestimated because they help your body burn more calories even when you’re resting.
To grow stronger, consider introducing weight lifting exercises into your routine instead of blindly sticking to cardio, and make healthy protein shakes to speed up the process. Finding the best weight gainer protein powder will give you the right nutrients to power up your workouts and build a strong, lean physique. A protein shake is also a great post-workout snack that will help you recover after a tough exercising session.
Here’s one important thing, specifically aimed at women: having more muscles doesn’t mean looking bulky. It takes an almost inhumane amount of effort to build the kind of muscles a bodybuilder has, and lifting weights won’t make you look unfeminine. It will make you look slim. You’ll have a beautiful lean body that will look spectacular in a bikini. While cardio can help you burn more calories, the thing you need to actually make your glutes, arms, legs, and abs look sexy and toned are bodyweight exercises.
Stop seeing healthy food as punishment
A cake is not a reward. A cucumber salad is not a punishment. Stop seeing good, healthy, nutritious food as some form of punishment that you can’t possibly enjoy at all. It will only make you crave junk food because you associate junk food with positive emotions, and of course you want to feel good.
Learn how to cook delicious, healthy food and start enjoying every nutritious meal you ever eat. Remember that eating a cookie feels good for about ten minutes before it starts making you feel guilty and sad.
Don’t give up after a mistake
Well, you are a burger and fries for dinner, might as well give up on the whole weight loss idea because you clearly can’t do it! Nope. A mistake is a setback at best, it’s not a sign of poor character and your inability do make a change. A mistake is there to learn from it. It’s there as a reminder that you can do better. The longer you stick to your plans, the fewer mistakes you’ll make, and the easier the whole journey will become.
Be patient, be kind to yourself, and stick through the tough bits. That’s all you need to accomplish your goals.