Mid-January typically brings the first hurdle in fitness goals set as New Year’s resolutions. You’re a few weeks past the excitement of the holidays and back into the normal routine of work. Maybe you’ve already seen some improvement and are starting to see results of the past few weeks of hard work, in which case keep it up! If instead you’re not seeing the results you were expecting yet, it could be hard to keep up the motivation and continue on your fitness journey. Don’t give up! Even if you aren’t quite where you were expecting when you started on January 1, the fact that you started at all says a lot. If you seem to be stuck in a rut or not seeing the improvement you want, try out these tips to help.
Try Using Free Weights
Studies have shown that including weight lifting into your workout routine can help accelerate weight loss when compared to cardio alone. If you’re interested you can research the science behind it, but basically when you add anaerobic exercise (lifting weights) to your routine it can kick start your metabolism and helps you burn more calories after you’re done working out. If you’re intimidated by lifting weights, feel free to start off on a machine then gradually move to free weights as you get more comfortable with the forms.
Get More Sleep
With today’s high-paced lifestyle it’s not always easy to get a full 8 hours of sleep, but if you’re serious about your health, and especially if you’re trying to lose weight, it’s important to make sleep a priority. Your body needs sleep to recover from the day and any physical activity. Multiple studies have linked lack of sleep with weight gain, and next to drinking more water, getting more sleep is one of the first steps you should take in your fitness journey. If you have trouble getting to sleep consider adding yoga or meditation to your daily bedtime routine to relax your body and mind.
Reevaluate Your Goals
If you’re not seeing the results you want by now, maybe it’s not an issue with your effort but with your goals themselves. If you set unreasonable goals it’s no wonder that you’re getting frustrated. Keep in mind that true health and fitness improvement is more than a fad, and should be seen as a lifestyle journey. Instead of setting a goal to lose 50 pounds by swimsuit season, adjust your mindset to lose 1-2 pounds per week (the doctor-approved suggested healthy weight loss), then set smaller goals to work toward the larger goal. For example, make it a goal to work out 3 times a week, or have no alcoholic beverages during the week. That way even if you may not be losing weight at the rate you were expecting you’re still reaching other goals to keep you motivated.
Try Intuitive Eating
Studies have shown that the typical “diet culture” doesn’t work. In fact, often when someone goes on a diet they end up gaining all the weight back (plus some!) as soon as they stop. Instead of cutting out certain foods or incessantly counting calories start small by being more in tuned to your body. Before you eat ask yourself if you’re actually hungry, or if you may be thirsty or just bored. This is especially good to do in between meals and in the evening when we’re more prone to mindless snacking. Also start noticing how you feel after eating certain foods. Do high starch or fried foods make you feel sluggish? That’s a good reason to stop eating them.
Regularly Track Improvements
Weight and weight loss can be a tricky beast. Because of things like hormonal cycles, water retention, and many other factors, the scale can fluctuate as much as 2 pounds or more each day. Instead of relying solely on the number on the scale take measurements and pictures at regular intervals (every week or two is a good cadence). This way even if that number isn’t what you’re wanting to see you can still stay motivated by seeing other progress you’ve made.
This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have before starting a fitness or diet plan.