5 Tips for Losing Weight & Getting Fit…and a Challenge!

5 Tips for Losing Weight & Getting Fit @themerrythoughtHey friends! I know this type of post isn’t quite the norm around here, but it’s that time of year – the time of resolutions, fresh starts, and high levels of motivation! So let’s take advantage of all that and make some healthy changes! This post to me is a bit of personal sharing in hopes that it helps someone (anyone?) and a bit of self-motivation (now it’s really out there, more than a couple friends know, I’m committed 😳).

I actually couldn’t decide if I wanted to talk more about losing weight or becoming more active – both of which I’m currently doing/have been doing/am trying to do. And most of the time, they go hand in hand. I realized though that the tips that have been helpful to me, applied to both losing weight and getting fit, so you get a two-for! I hope you’re not reading this with too much hope and anticipation for some new magical potion that I’ve recently discovered, as you’ll be sorely disappointed. These tips are not by any means new, shocking or terribly different from the ones you typically hear when discussing these topics. But I’m sharing what worked for me, and the details and suggestions for what I’ve found particularly helpful.

1. Pick a plan that works for you & your lifestyle.
Weight Loss: We all know there’s a million different diets/eating plans/life-changing pills, books, and Pinterest boards out there on this subject. I’m just going to share what personally works for me. You can Google the subject to death till you find the plan that’s perfect for you! I can’t handle counting of any sort when it comes to food. Ain’t nobody got time for that! Okay, people do, it’s just not something that works well for me. I can’t keep food logs, or count calories. What I can do though, is just be handed a list that says, eat this, and don’t any of this. Okay. Got it. It’s not fun (at all! 😫) to give up some of those foods I love, but I’ve realized I have a much better success rate with this type of eating plan. My niece introduced me to the 17 Day Dietand I’ve had good success following this plan. (I bought a used book off Amazon – paid more for shipping than the price of the book!) I won’t get into a lot of detail on that book, you can research it to find out more, but there’s foods you can eat, foods you can’t, meal plans and some recipes all in the book. The first time I did it, I lost about 20 pounds in about 3-ish months.
Getting Fit: I’m not much of a fitness/sporty kind of gal. I’m more of a get cozy on the couch with a coffee and good book kind of gal. So finding a plan that works for me has taken years, and most likely will change during different seasons of my life. Surprisingly, right now it’s running! I’ve always hated running. A part of me still does. And a part of me just wants to get out there and run and run! I think timing has a lot to do with it. This year the boys are all in school all day, and I feel like I’ve actually got time to do something like this for myself. I’ve found a time that works for me, I work on improving my distance and speed, set goals for myself and I’ve been going strong since September!

2. Prepare yourself ahead of time.
Both: Most likely, this isn’t going to be all sunshine & lollipops. Well, I can guarantee there pretty much will be no lollipops! I’ve found that if I can mentally prep myself for it, telling myself it’s going to be hard, but I can make it through, it goes a little easier, both for exercising and eating. And if you spend some time preparing your fridge & cupboards – filling them with the foods you’ll need, getting rid of the foods you shouldn’t be eating, it’ll go a lot easier. Figure out what you’ll need for quick snacks on the go and plan at least a few dinner options before you begin so that you don’t get stuck & give up before you’ve barely started. For exercising, figure out what you have to wear that you’ll feel comfortable in, go and buy a few things if you need to! I bought new running shoesafter running for 3 months, I wanted to be sure I felt like I was going to stick with it.  Spending more money on shoes than I normally would also motivated me to keep with it – I can’t let my money go to waste! I also recently bought some new running clothes and it made a huge difference to me! I feel so much more comfortable and wish that I had done it sooner. I really feel like having the right gear for your activity makes a huge difference in how much you’ll enjoy it, and how long you’ll stick with it.  Plus, if you’re a penny-pincher like me, there’s nothing like forcing yourself to commit by spending some money, I’d feel terrible if I gave up and wasted my money!

3. Allow yourself some sort of “freebie”.
Weight Loss: Pick something that’s a little indulgent to you, without being over-the-top or counter-productive to your weight loss, and allow it. Whether it be one cookie a week, a pedicure every time you lose 7 pounds, or half-in-half in your coffee (that’s mine!), just decide it’s going to happen and let it be your one thing to keep looking forward to!
Getting Fit: Giving yourself a day off is not only a nice break, but also probably good for your body, especially if you’re just starting out.  Since I’m really not a fitness person, I set my minimum goal for running at 3 times a week, with ideal being going every other day.  But when I have a busy week, or am just feeling run-down & tired, knowing that I have more “off” days than “on”, makes it a little easier on myself.

4. Talk about it!
Both: That’s what I’m doing right here, with this post. When you start telling others what you’re doing, it becomes real. And you have accountability. Everyone knows you’re supposed to be doing this – now you have to stick with it! So start spreading the word. If you need to start small, go ahead and leave a comment, you’ll be anonymous, but you’ll have put it out there!

5. If you can, find a partner!

Both:The going is so much easier if there’s someone else to whine to, motivate you, encourage you and keep you on track. Honestly, this has been one of the most helpful things of all to me. The first time I tried the new eating plan, having my niece a few months ahead of me was so helpful – I could ask for tips & advice, whine about how much I missed certain foods with her, and use her success to keep me going when I felt like giving up! She’s also the reason I started running. She’s like my own personal fitness/eating coach! 😉 I also have a cousin that is pretty much in exactly the same place I am, with all the same struggles/time demands/body type, so chatting with her about all this keeps me motivated & encouraged! But I know it’s not always possible to find a partner. So if that’s you, and you feel like it would make a difference to you – view me & this blog post as your partner!

And that’s where the challenge part comes in. It’s a challenge to myself, and anyone who wants to join in, to stay committed to losing weight and staying active this entire month. Just one month. We’ll just keep our eyes on that goal and worry about next month later. I’ll come back each week with a check in and let you know how I’m doing, share the good & bad, and hopefully motivate and inspire myself and maybe you!

Here’s what I’ll be aiming for each week:
– run 3 miles, at least 3 times a week (I may need to change this to some other sort of exercise if the weather’s too cold, I found out this morning it’s pretty tough to run when it’s below 20!!)
– no sugar (ahhh, this is something my niece asked if I wanted to join in on with her and my sister-in-law this month, and now there’s a bunch of us doing it, no-sugar January!)
– low carb/low greasy food (this is for helping me to feel better – I have IBS (tmi?😁) , plus helping with weight loss)

Hope this is a little bit encouraging & motivating to someone feeling like it’s time to get going on their health! Here’s to a good week staying active and staying strong while I’m crying over all the things I wish I was eating! 😉

-Manda

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  • Tuesday, January 5, 2016 - 4:33 pm

    Amy Lynn - I’m the same was as far as not wanting to count things! Over the years I’ve figured out the kinds of foods that I can lose weight on, and the kinds I can’t. When I stick to a modified Paleo/Low carb/High protein type diet I really feel my best 🙂 and I used to run a few days a week too, but it’s been so long, I have lost all of my stamina! And if there’s one thing I hate, it’s re-gaing running stamina 😉 here’s hoping we can stick to our endeavors to be healthier and more active this year! Thanks for sharing 🙂ReplyCancel

    • Wednesday, January 6, 2016 - 3:26 pm

      Manda - Ah, yes, I feel like I’m trying to regain my running stamina running in this freezing cold weather here, it makes it so hard (and not fun!). That eating plan sounds very similar to what I do – my body does feel better when I’m on it but my heart still wants all the treats! 😉ReplyCancel

  • Saturday, January 9, 2016 - 4:29 pm

    Laura - Thanks so much for sharing! I just started my diet program this week (counting things works for me 😉 )and so far it works surprisingly well. But I’m still struggling to start the sports part… I used to run quite regularly and then for some reason stopped… now I’m having a though time to start again. Reading your post helped me to decide to commit to being active more as well. Thanks and keep the good work up!ReplyCancel

    • Tuesday, January 12, 2016 - 9:53 am

      Manda - I’m so glad to hear you’re inspired by it, thanks! 🙂 And glad to hear that your eating plan is working well for you – whatever works for you, rock it! I wish you much success and hope that this week is a breeze for you!ReplyCancel

  • Friday, January 22, 2016 - 9:16 pm

    r4pg - You did a good job .ReplyCancel

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