I know how frustrating it can be when you start a few fitness program. You want to see results immediately and you wish that taking a shower would wash the fat away instantly. We all know that it's not reality, instead we are forced to endure hours of work outs, counting calories, and stepping on that scale to measure our success, or lack thereof.
As frustrating as it can be, there is hope. It truly is mind over matter. Here are some of my tips for staying on track to seeing results (written for first time runners).
1. Throw away that scale. If you can step on it and not be discouraged, then by all means, keep it. But we both know that every time you step on that scale and it doesn't show you what you want to see, you curse and mind smash it. Do yourself a favour, get rid of it.
2. Write down when you plan to work out and stick with it. When I write things down, I am more likely to do it rather than just telling myself that I am going to do it. Tell a friend too, and ask them to check in on you after a certain time to make sure that you went for your run or made it to the gym.
3. Stop calorie counting, it will drive you crazy. Instead, remember to only eat whole foods; fruit and vegetables, white meat, and whole grains. Avoid pre-packaged, processed foods such as lunch meat, cheese, and anything made by a manufacturer. Cut out sugar - if you find this difficult, as most will - do it one step at a time. (Read my previous blog post for more nutrition tips)
4. Surround yourself by people with similar goals. With that said, get a running buddy. Someone who will encourage you before, during, and after a run. You don't have to run with this person every day but my running buddy and I tell each other when we are running and how wicked or shitty our workouts were. Don't hold back, it's a great bonding experience. Make a new friend or make an existing one stronger.
5. Push yourself. When I say this, I mean that your legs don't hurt as much as you think they do and your lungs are still inhaling air. You are NOT dying. Keep going. Unless there is joint or bone pain, push it.
6. Count the miles not the minutes. Stick to your running schedule, if the day tells you to run 2 miles, stick to the 2 miles. Don't think that the longer you work out, the better it is. It's about the intensity, not the duration. If it takes you 15 minutes to run it, make it the hardest and best 15 minute workout.
Your mileage will increase throughout the training schedule so don't worry, you are building your endurance, and you don't want to risk overtraining before a marathon. When you count the miles, you are less focused on pounds, time, and everything else that seems to take over your basic functioning. You are getting results, even though you don't see them right away.
7. Get some sleep. I know how hard this can be with deadlines lurking and housework staring at you in the face, but if it can wait until tomorrow, let it wait. Sleep is as important as eating if not more.
8. Don't rely on the scale. It's tempting but don't do it. When you think you've lost a lot of pounds, the scale will lie to you, trust me. Instead rely on how you feel, how your clothes fit, and how much energy you have now. It will get you to your next workout with more confidence.
9. Muscle weighs more than fat. This is the reason I mentioned it twice, don't rely on the scale.
10. Motivational quotes do help. I have a quote sitting beside my bed that states: "It's easier to wake up early and workout than it is to look in the mirror each day and not like what you see." This quote helps me get up every morning for my run.
Don't get discouraged, stick with your plan, and seek guidance. Changing habits is not easy, it takes time and practice but you will get the results that you want if you stick with it and make it a lifestyle. Remember that you are not dieting, you are living a lifestyle. Make it a part of yourself, like breathing, it will happen without you even realizing it.
If you have to stay away from mirrors for a few months, do it... your friends will tell you if that outfit doesn't match.