Fitness Matters

I would never want to suggest that losing weight is a “simple” process — it’s not. But getting started doesn’t have to be complicated, and too much stress along the way doesn’t help your efforts. Here are five ways you may be over-thinking your weight loss journey, with positive tips for rising above.

1. Move — and then move some more

Exercise routines are good. But if organizing the what, why and how of a traditional workout is preventing you from getting started, just start moving. Then, each week, move a little more. Gym equipment doesn’t magically make the weight loss happen. Using the equipment to create a balanced workout program including strength, cardio, core and mobility can certainly help speed up the process, and beyond weight loss, get you fit. But adding movement into your day is an excellent way to jump-start the journey. We get it, it’s tough to get moving when you are driving, working and Netflixing. Here are a few ideas for your work day that should do the trick, plus some active rest options.

2. Eat, sleep and be merry

The truth is, abs aren’t made solely in the gym or kitchen. Nutrition plays a big part, as I’m sure you’re aware. But so does sleep — and joy. So, if it’s the exercise that is off-putting or hard to commit to at the moment, start with the trifecta.

No need to completely overhaul your diet out of the gates, but small swaps over time will certainly help. Start by eating more “clean foods” and find a few ways you could “clean up” your fridge, pantry and menus. Then, improve your sleeping routine. Sleeping has a direct effect on your hunger and blood sugar, both which may affect your waist line. Finally, find joy in the journey. When you embrace the gym and trust that you don’t have to be “good” to get it done, you will enjoy the process more. And it will get easier.

3. Eliminate must-dos and celebrate can-dos

Seriously, there are no “rules” in fitness. OK, there’s a method to the madness and perfect prescriptions for specific outcomes. But when you’re getting started, avoid analysis paralysis. Go the gym, pick a piece of cardio equipment and give it a go. Or, hit the gym and follow a circuit. Or, better yet, grab a trainer or jump in a group training session and let someone tell you what to do. Anything is better than nothing.

4. Forget the chore and find the gift

The secret to sustainable weight loss is making exercise a gift, not a chore. To do that, you have to find things you enjoy doing and discover immediate benefits. For example, if you like walking and chatting with a friend, do more of that. Be mindful before, during and afterward to discover all the things walking does for you. Does it give you energy, help your mental clarity, make you feel strong? The more you can provide immediate, positive feedback to your brain, the more likely you will continue.

5. Get rid of judgment and breathe in awareness

Here’s my final, most important tip: If you’re trying, you’re doing more than most people. Sit with that for a minute. So what if you miss a day, don’t follow the trendy workouts, don’t eat Paleo … yadda yadda. You’re trying and that’s admirable. Approach each day as a scientist would an experiment. Observe, reflect, correct and move on. Every day offers you an opportunity to try again. The only way you fail is if you stop trying.

Amy & Patrick Carpenter are the owners of Anytime Fitness locations in Churubusco, Columbia City, Bluffton and Huntington. They are lifelong residents of the area, small business owners, and are dedicated to helping all of us get to a healthier place.

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