Written by Stacey Beaman, As told by Jason Layden
I hear it all too often. “I need to lose twenty pounds by next month.” The moment I hear this, I can’t help but cringe because I know this person, although well intentioned, is setting himself or herself up for failure. It drives me crazy, and it DOES NOT work. So today I want to tell you to STOP torturing yourself with these crazy and unattainable goals. STOP setting yourself up for failure. Whatever method you would have to use to lose twenty pounds by next month is certainly not going to be a healthy, realistic lifestyle change that you can maintain, and it will likely end up in weight gain. Which will then leave you sitting on the couch binging on powdered donuts while skipping the very event you wanted to lose twenty pounds to attend. I know…I’ve been there….we all have. So how about you wipe that sugar off your chin (I see you!) and let’s talk about setting realistic goals that will leave you feeling accomplished and proud.
WEIGHT LOSS – 1 pound per week
Seriously guys, you need to pace yourself here. You most likely didn’t gain that fifty pounds in two months, and you aren’t going to lose it in two months. Don’t rush it. I mean, Rome wasn’t built in a day, right? If it were, it would’ve looked like Detroit! (Sorry Michigan peeps) A realistic goal is to lose one pound per week. If you have fifty pounds to lose, you may need an entire year to reach your goal. I know that seems like a long time, but don’t let that throw you into a panic. That year is going to go by one way or another, and we all know time flies, so how about you make each day, each week, each month of that year count, and by next swimsuit season you’ll be feeling light, airy and accomplished. And, most importantly, if you lose approximately a pound per week, multiple studies show that you are likely to MAINTAIN that weight loss. This is key. You don’t want to put in the work just to gain it all back. So remember, slow and steady wins the race. Aim for one pound per week.
EXERCISE – Ease in!
How many times have you decided it was time to lose weight so you hopped on the computer and bought the next available Groupon for an eight week daily boot camp. This is probably not a good idea. I can’t stress enough how important it is to take it slow, especially when you haven’t worked out in a while. There are so many options out there to get in shape! I want to try them all. I consider myself to be fit (okay, REALLY fit), but even I can’t just jump into a new exercise program without taking it slow. I recently took a pilates class and I was sore for days! A new program means you are utilizing different muscles, so regardless of your fitness level, you WILL feel it in the morning. Ease yourself into a new workout. Give your body recovery time. Be sure to treat your body with care as you embark on new fitness adventures, because you definitely don’t want to burn yourself out and give up.
CLOTHING – Buy a new dress!
Still hanging on to that ten-year-old dress because you are bound and determined to fit into it again some day? STOP. Get rid of it. It’s most likely out of style, anyway. Nothing feels better than celebrating your weight loss milestones than buying a new size shirt or a dress style that you once felt uncomfortable wearing. Ok, maybe hang on to ONE pair of your “thin” jeans, just to use as a point of reference, but otherwise CLEAR THAT CLOSET! Make way for celebratory shopping sprees!
CELEBRATE – Treat yo self!
Speaking of celebratory shopping sprees, focus on CELEBRATING! Instead of stressing over those fifty pounds that will take forever to lose, focus on smaller, short term goals. Make yourself a celebration chart with rewards! When you reach ten pounds lost, treat yourself to a massage! When you accomplish a twenty pound weight loss, buy a new purse! When you reach thirty pounds, have a girls day at the spa! I know these rewards cost money, but you are WORTH it! Find things that work for your time constraints and budget, and as they say in Parks and Rec, TREAT YO SELF! It is important to keep your eye on the end goal, but it’s also imperative that you celebrate the accomplishments along the way.