Jumpstart Fitness: By planning your day

 Jumpstart Fitness: By planning your day

It doesn't matter how many good wishes you have, or good intentions, towards exercising more and eating better to lose weight -- if you leave it up to chance to happen it never will. And you may not even realize you're leaving it up to chance, but every time you fail to plan that's exactly what you're doing. Come on now, really, what are the odds you're going to get up early to workout and have a healthy lunch to bring with you to work if you don't think about it until your alarm is going off Monday morning? Slim to none I'm willing to bet.

Jumpstart Your Fitness: By planning your day

Honestly you can't expect yourself to just magically start developing new habits -- you have to plan them! You have to do them on purpose, at least in the beginning until they become a natural part of your life. To simplify things down to just the nitty gritty, making weight loss and fitness happen breaks down into two areas: planning out your new eating habits and planning out your new exercise/activity habits.

Plan out your daily meals and snacks:

Start a food journal. This will help you see where your weaknesses are and where you need to focus the most energy. Don't forget to include everything that goes into your mouth! Set specific goals. Simply saying "no more junk food after dinner" leaves the door open for mistakes. Instead try "I'm going to have XYZ healthy snack instead of ice cream after dinner."

Use weekends wisely. Take the time to think about the upcoming week when it's a little quieter and less hectic. Then when things are crazy later you'll already have a working system in place!

Shop wisely. Buy healthy foods and give yourself nothing but good choices to make when you're rummaging through the kitchen. This is a HUGE one for me. If I can just 'be strong' and resist the urge to buy Edys for the hour or so I'm actually shopping, the odds that I'm going to leave the house at 10pm during some weeknight craving for ice cream are pretty slim.

Do it yourself. The ultimate in pre-planning is preparing foods and snacks for yourself ahead of time and separating them into individual servings to last you through your busy days ahead.

Plan your exercise:

Take a close look at your morning schedule and how you're managing your time. Many people somehow manage to both waste time and feel rushed all at once. Often if you make yourself start exercising you'll find that you have more time than you thought. After you make a decision, set your program and stick with it. Make it of the highest priority and don't let petty things interfere. An excuse here and there is reasonable, but multiple days in a row is not.

Be realistic about what you're really going to do. Don't set goals too high, or choose activities you aren't that comfortable doing, and set yourself up to talk yourself out of it and start making excuses. Pick what will really motivate you and will be the most fun.

Leave reminders for yourself, so you don't 'space off' your new plans. Put sticky notes on your refrigerator and on your computer at work, or write notes in your planner, whatever you have to do to keep yourself from accidentally getting off track.

And finally, reward yourself! Think of little luxuries that mean something to you and plan the goals where you can earn them. Rewards are motivating, that's a fact of life you should use to your advantage.

Life is unpredictable, and having a plan helps overcome some of the unexpected challenges that inevitably pop up. The simple fact that you've thought it through, even if the plan isn't perfect or is still a work in progress, will increase both your confidence and your chances of succeeding.

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