Fitness Tip of the Month: 3 Mantras that Work!

Do you like your body or do you find a reason to say something negative about it?  If you've ever looked at yourself with disgust in the mirror or said a few negative words about a certain body part, you're not alone.  According to the Journal of Applied Communication Research, actively engaging in fat talk can change the way you see yourself. Negative talk doesn't seem like a big deal at first, but it's easily to miss too.  Think about a recent chat you've had with someone about your body.  Is it positive or do you find yourself talking about all the problems areas?  Whatever your life stage, it's crucial to re-think how you think about your body.  Here are my top 3 mantras for you to replace with the old ones in 2016:  

Old Mantra: I hate my [you fill in the blank]!
New Mantra: I will accept my body the way it is and highlight the areas I'm proud of.

The new phrase may not change your thigh measurement immediately, but it does change your perspective.  The reality is no body's perfect.  If you want to see more results in a particular body part, do things differently.  Tweak your nutrition, change the ratio of cardio to strength training, or do something new like swimming.  When you see how your entire body responds to your fitness regimen, you'll celebrate successes rather than beating yourself up at weigh-ins.  In order to tackle those tough areas you may need to work harder at it but remember, in the process your entire body will reap the benefits.  I won't lie to you; this process is easier said than done especially if you've said the old mantra for decades.  Focus on daily steps and celebrate small wins along the way. 

Old Mantra: I used to be in shape.
New Mantra: I will take better care of myself everyday.

Taking better care of yourself requires work and here's why.  Family needs, workplace demands, and home responsibilities can leave you drained.   If you care for people, start a new habit of caring for yourself too.  Do your workouts early in the day and make your self-care a priority.  Schedule you time in your calendar regularly and make it a recurring appointment.  Don't neglect yourself because you're too busy.  Remember, all you do now will pay off in your later years.  

Old Mantra: I have bad [you fill in the blank]. 
New Mantra: I will manage any pain the smart way.

Pain is never good and if you've experienced a pulled muscle, back injury, or foot pain you know what I mean!  Pain is the body's way of telling us that something is wrong, out of position, or hurt.  The problem with folks is that they wait for years to address a painful situation.  If you've had any injury, no matter how small, you have to deal with it.  This could mean seeing physical therapist and taking the time to manage the injured area.  This step is a must-do especially if your want your workout swag back.  Just in case you need another motivator, pain can lead to injury and injury over the years can put you out of commission for a long time.  Take control of any previous or current injury and feel better in record time.

Now that you have your new phrases use them regularly.  Avoid negative self talk at all costs and change the way you see yourself.  It's okay to hit bumps in your fitness road and it's likely you will.  However, keep the right outlook and find something positive to say in your health and fitness journey.   

Fitness Tip of the Month: The 3 Worst Ways to Lose Weight

Have you ever tried to lose weight? If you've just come off a diet, trying to lose a few pounds, or just thinking about it, keep this thought handy: weight loss is a complex issue and going on a diet to drop 10 pounds fast isn't always the best idea.  In fact, research shows that you have the greatest success at losing weight long term after one bout of dieting. Yes, you heard that right, one bout.  That means if you've tried lots of diets over the last 10+ years, your results aren't going to be as dramatic as the first time.  In your 20s you can drop 10 pounds in a flash but in your 40s those 10 pounds take forever to lose.  I work with countless women who are frustrated with their weight loss efforts. Instead of talking about all the things to add to your weight loss strategy like eating better, exercising more and all the other stuff you already know, let's talk about what not to do. 

Worst Way #1: Comparing yourself to others. You know the drill.  You get on FB to catch up and land on a picture of your friend who has just lost all her baby weight and the baby is just six weeks old!  It's tough to get through the stories of how easy it was (it's not), or how the weight just falls off (it doesn't), or some other miracle weight loss feat. Comparing yourself to others just makes you feel bad, guilty, or both.  Instead, focus on what you're doing today to make the difference in your health.  Cut back on sugar in your coffee? Great. Logged more steps on your fitness tracker? Fantastic! Keep up the great work and remind yourself how everyday decisions you make matter.

Worst Way #2: Setting unrealistic expectations for yourself. Getting the body you want takes hard work, I get it.  However, aiming to lose more than 10% of your bodyweight can sabotage you as well.  If you've got 100+ pounds to lose the weight will come off faster but if you're down to the last 10-20 pounds it gets harder. The last 5-10 pounds can feel impossible.  That's why I like to encourage my clients to set small goals.  Aim to lose 5 pounds first.  Once you lose that amount your confidence soars and you're likely to step up your game to keep things moving in the right direction.  Don't believe me? If the scale moves from 152 to 148 pounds, you're more likely to celebrate especially if you've been stuck at the same weight for awhile.

Worst Way #3: Doing the same workouts. If you run everyday, try something new.  Walk a hill, ride a bike, or go for a swim.  As we age our bodies get more efficient so if you're trying to achieve weight loss, you'll need to change it up often.  If you have a favorite teacher try the same class on a different day.  Instructors will vary their routines based on the fitness level and atmosphere in each class.  You'll be able to change things up without completely giving up your favorite class.  If you strength train (please tell me you do!) it's important to change your lifting routines as well.  Instead of front lunges, do step-back lunges.  Although you work the same muscle group, you'll approach the movement differently which makes your body work a little harder.  Below are my recommendations for how often to change your fitness program:

  • Every 4-6 weeks in your 20s
  • Every 3-5 weeks in your 30s
  • Every 2-4 weeks in your 40s
  • Every 1-2 weeks in your 50s
  • Every 1-4 weeks in your 60s

There you have it, my three worst ways to lose weight.  As the holidays approach it's tempting to try some quick fixes but I assure you that those solutions don't last.  It's important to stay balanced and avoid extremes when it comes to you health. Next month I'll talk about the lifestyle traps, how they affect your health, and what to do about them.  

Answer this question busy woman: What are your top 3 health and fitness frustrations? Please share.