There’s no quick-fix when it comes to getting in shape- working out regularly and eating a (mostly) healthy diet are the only way to accomplish that goal. But even when we have the best of intentions, life can get in the way: you had a long day at work, you’re tired, you JUST DON’T FEEL LIKE IT. Those days are sure to happen, but they don’t have to stand in your way. Here are my top tips for staying motivated:
1. DO NOT CRASH DIET
When you want to lose weight, it can be tempting to cut your caloric intake to an extremely low level, but this is the most ineffective way to (attempt to) lose weight. Most, if not all, of the weight loss you see from this method will be water weight. Crash diets set you up to binge eat, don’t give you enough calories to exercise properly, and damage your metabolism. None of these things are healthy nor necessary to getting in shape.
The best way to shed weight? Figure out the number of calories you need on a daily basis to maintain your weight and cut 200-500 per day from that number. Will it take some time to do it this way? Yes, but you will see results that will stick long-term, you’ll have the energy to workout on a daily basis, and you won’t do unnecessary harm to your metabolism.
2. DO NOT RESTRICT FOODS
For years, the weight loss industry has promoted a “diet mentality” that has made many of us to believe that we have to cut out entire food groups in order to lose weight. Perfection isn’t necessary to lose weight and get in shape, and in fact, striving for perfection can end up being detrimental in the long run, especially for your sanity.
All foods can be part of a healthy diet: I eat pizza and burgers, and I love a good margarita. It’s simply not feasible for me to stop eating those things completely, if for no other reason than my mental sanity.
Instead of trying to go cold turkey on any “unhealthy” foods, strive to eat a clean, nutritious diet 80% of the time and enjoy your favorite less-healthy foods the other 20% of the time. Rather than restricting the foods you allow yourself to eat, allow yourself 1-2 meals a week where you can enjoy your favorite pasta or cheeseburger. If you enjoy drinking, set a limit of 3 drinks per week, and if you need that glass of wine after a long day, you won’t (and shouldn’t) feel guilty about it. Taking this approach keeps you from feeling deprived and helps you stay on track with your other meals throughout the week.
3. REMEMBER THAT POST-WORKOUT HIGH
Most of the time, working out is my favorite part of the day. But there are the days when it is the LAST thing I want to do. I’m tired. I’m crabby. I want to go home.
When those days strike, I remember how that post-workout high feels. No matter how I feel at the beginning of my workout, when I come away from 45 minutes of sweating my butt off, I always feel AMAZING, both physically and mentally. Remembering that non-physical benefit of working out almost always gets me off my butt and into the gym, and as a bonus, that crabiness usually disappears as well.
4. TAKE PROGRESS PICTURES
Seeing physical progress is a one of the best motivators to keep up with your workout routine and healthy eating. Our minds can play tricks on us, and looking in the mirror every day, it can be hard to see any real progress happening. This is why I STRONGLY encourage weekly progress pictures! Looking back at these pictures and doing side-by-side comparisons is one of the best ways to see just how far you’ve come, and it’s the best kind of motivation to keep up your exercise routine and healthy eating.
5. MAKE IT CONVENIENT.
You don’t need to get to a gym every day (or at all for that matter) to get a good workout in! If your motivation is lacking and getting to the gym seems like a whole lot of work, get on Pinterest and find an at-home workout. With all of the options for quick workouts that require little to no equipment, not wanting to go to the gym is no excuse for not getting your sweat on.
6. LOG ON TO INSTA
If #1-5 still don’t have you throwing on your workout clothes, I highly encourage you to log on to Instagram. If you’re not already following a few fitness-related accounts, search #fitnessjourney and you’ll find an infinite number of posts about real, every-day people working to get in shape. I love following others on their own journeys to get and stay in shape, and seeing their efforts every day motivates me to keep up with my own! Plus, connecting with other like-minded people via social media is a great way to stay accountable and motivated.