Today’s coach nibble comes from Hannah: “This year I made no progress on my fitness goal. I want to lose 20 pounds. I think at one point, I had lost 8 pounds, but I gained it back. I do well with my fitness routine for a week, and then I overeat the next week. Or I do really well for two weeks but then I strain my knee and can’t work out for a month. I keep going back and forth. Losing weight is important to me for health, not beauty, reasons. I really want to lose this weight. I know it’s about building healthy habits as a new lifestyle, and I know the weight is serving a purpose or I’d be able to lose it. I know all this in my head, but I’m still having difficulty making changes in my life. Help.”
I think most people can relate to this, if not for fitness than for another habit they want to change. Intellectually, habits are ingrained behaviors so they take lots of consistent effort to change, and when it comes to fitness these changes aren’t immediately apparent. I don’t know the specifics of your situation, so perhaps you’ve already tried keeping a log of your diet and exercise goals. For me personally, I didn’t find logging useful, but other people find it very useful, so give it a try if you haven’t.
My tip would be to keep your fitness goals top of mind as often as possible. Each morning, set a healthy intention. Notice where you are, how you feel, and what you can reasonably commit to. If your knee is strained, perhaps that day all you can commit to is drinking 8 glasses of water and sitting comfortably with an ice pack for 15 minutes. If you’re feeling healthy, maybe you can commit to walking 2 miles and preparing dinner with fresh produce. Each day is different, but there are probably a few healthy habits you want to build upon. To help you with your intentions, try this ARTsignment:
Sketch a large outline of a body or use a full-body photo of yourself as your body map. Decorate it as much or as little as you like. Then take some little sticky-notes and on each write a task you could take toward one of your healthy intentions. You can also decorate these sticky-notes if you like.
Each morning, or multiple times per day, check in to see where you are (how much time do you have, what resources do you have, etc.), how you feel, and decide what you can commit to. Choose the appropriate sticky-notes and put them on a corresponding place on your body map.
Here is an example of my body map with intentions for today:
The important thing is to choose health and keep choosing it. Some days, you can only choose a little health for whatever reason. Other days you can choose more health. But get into the habit of setting healthy intentions and choosing health; that, rather than specific fitness goals, might be the key to creating a healthy lifestyle for you.
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