If the warm weather has motivated you to begin a new fitness effort, it would be time well-spent to consider something more than "getting started." While getting started is crucial, it's also crucial for you to know how you're going to maintain, be consistent, succeed and stay on track. Here are some suggestions and considerations to help you toward that end:
¢ Write down the top three reasons your last fitness program didn't work last time and then write down what you'll do this time to avoid those same pitfalls. Seek the assistance of a nutritionist, trainer or lifestyle coach if you need professional guidance.
¢ Don't plan to do more than what is reasonable and feasible. Goals like planning to survive on a 1,000 calorie diet, exercising two hours a day, every day, or never eating chocolate again for the rest of your life is over the top.
¢ Always be moderate in your exercise habits and as each week goes by gradually walk a little further, lift a bit more weight, or swim a little longer. Equally important is eating a sensible diet that is balanced, full of variety, and one that occasionally - emphasis on "occasionally" - allows even chocolate.
¢ Be willing to change. You can't lose weight while daily consuming pints of Ben & Jerry's ice cream. You can't develop a lean, fit body while not being willing to exercise regularly. Some behaviors just cannot mutually co-exist.
¢ Expect to lose an occasional battle. Healthy dietary habits and an active lifestyle are definitely not the paths of least resistance. Unless you're perfect - which none of us truly is - you're going to fail from time to time. Don't be totally derailed by this. If you're following a solid exercise and dietary plan in the first place, all you have to do is recognize that you've made a mistake, decide how you'll avoid that mistake in the future, and then get right back to following your plan.
¢ Support your decision. Look for weight-loss support groups, read health and fitness magazines, visit online health and diet chat rooms, or find a workout buddy. While it's true that only you can be responsible for yourself, outside support for your healthier lifestyle can be a welcoming source of encouragement.
¢ If you're a fair-weather exerciser, ultimately you'll want to develop the fortitude to exercise year-round. Focusing on these issues will bring you closer to that goal and better able to be fit, trim and healthy the entire year through.