Losing motivation? Feeling like you’ve plateaued? Or just started some new lifestyle changes and want to ensure you stay on track. These are the top six tips I often give to clients and even use myself (let’s be honest, I’m not perfect and even I loose motivation sometimes).
1. Goal setting
Set a goal that is realistic and achievable, that way it isn’t too daunting and seems like it is in reach. If your goal is large think of ways that you can break it down into smaller goals. For example saying that you wish to loose 20 kilograms can seem like an enormous daunting challenge. However if you say your end goal is to loose 20 kilograms however your first goal is to loose 5kg this seems a lot more obtainable.
Try not to choose too many goals. Any goal takes effort – and tackling more than two or three at a time is beyond most of us. Rather than trying to change everything overnight, focus on just a couple of key goals. Ideally, you’ll want to choose goals that complement one another, for example loosing weight and improving your fitness levels.
2. Plan and prepare
Lets be honest, we have all found ourselves starving and in a rush grabbing the first item of food we see and shoving it into our mouths. Being prepared is the only way that this cycle can be stopped. Whether it be making your lunch the night before or making healthy snacks on Sunday for the whole week ahead, you know that when you hit that hungry time of the day you have a healthy option there. I even carry around emergency snacks in my handbag (usually almonds, seeds and dried fruit) to ensure that I’m covered all of the time.
Preparing a shopping list before you go to the supermarket is a great way to avoid purchasing those unnecessary junk foods, which ensures that you only have healthy options in your cupboard. This also builds good habits that will be in place even when you have achieved your goal.
3. Build good habits
Turn the screen off and go to bed earlier so you can wake up and fit some form of activity in before the daily grind kicks in, choose healthy unprocessed snacks, swap that butter for margarine or avocado, have dinner planned to avoid choosing takeaways, park further away from work and always take the stairs to fit in those extra steps, remove the sugars from your tea and coffee. The possibilities are endless. The little things that you can swap or change every day without too much change can make a massive impact when it comes to you reaching and maintaining your overall goal. Building these good habits ensure that changes will remain in place even after your goal has been achieved.
4. Ensure you eat mindfully
This comes back to being aware of what you are putting in your mouth and how much you are putting in your mouth. Have you ever sat in front of TV and after the movie has finished look down and realise you just at an entire packet of chips/biscuits/something. Easy to do when you’re mindlessly putting your hand to your mouth. So this Easter when you’re eating try and sit at the table, turn off the TV, don’t eat on the run and think about what you’re putting in your mouth. Take the time to enjoy conversation, appreciate the flavour and texture of the food, and actually notice when you are full. You will find that if you do this you will be satisfied a lot sooner.
5. Tracking your progress
Measurements, food and exercise diaries, calendars and pictures of yourself are a great way to stay accountable and provide good motivation to keep going when you feel like you’re plateauing. Goals involving a change in body composition can involve working on the same thing for a long time, which may make you feel like sometimes you are not making much progress. I often have clients that come to me for their monthly follow-up appointments and feel like they haven’t been doing so well because they don’t feel like they have lost weight however when I measure them they have lost centimetres. This acts as an extra bit of motivation, ensures that you’re on the right track and encourages you to keep going. Tracking your progress is also a way of keeping yourself accountable.
If you are a visual person I often find that having something on your fridge like a monthly calendar and placing a cross on each day you achieve your goal can encourage you to keep going as you want to get a long chain of days in a row and it becomes addictive, then If you do happen to miss one day you can see that it is not the end of the world because only missing one day out of fifteen is a pretty good effort.
6. Get support and encouragement
It is really hard to keep on track of your eating when everyone around you is cooking and eating unhealthy food. Ensure you talk to your family, friends or housemates about your goals and explain that it is easier if they support and encourage you to make healthy decisions (besides a lifestyle change is good for everyone). Getting an exercise buddy or personal trainer can help motivate you and ensure that you don’t bail on your exercise and seeing a dietitian can keep you accountable as well as provide you with support, information on how to achieve your goals as well as help you track your progress.