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Start small, Finish big by Shira Adatto | The Balanced Mom Magazine

Start small, Finish big by Shira Adatto

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If you’re like millions of Americans, you woke up on January 1st and vowed to turn over a new leaf – run three miles a day, lose a pound a week, cut out sugar, save $200 a week, whatever. You actually imagined a better you and felt a sense of excitement to start your “new you” journey. But then, come late January or early February, 3 miles a day turned into 1 mile a week, you stopped being able to resist those M&M’s on your co-workers desk. In other words, you slipped back into your old habits.

Well, guess what? I’m here to tell you the brutal honest truth. Summer is coming whether you get yourself in shape or not and it’s time to revive those resolutions. There was a reason you set those goals and if you dig deep and remember your “why”, you will be able to focus on the bigger goal in the face of your immediate desires. Before you start down the path of reviving your resolution, it is important to remember why you set that goal in the first place. On tough days, it is your “why” that will get you through. Think about the things you will be able to do that you can’t do at this unhealthy weight and visualize what it will feel like to do it. For example, if your goal is to have more energy to play with your kids, visualize what it will feel like to chase them up a hill, picture yourself laughing and enjoying those moments. Willpower is a skill you can strengthen through visualization. When the urges to scarf down a handful of M&M’s© strikes, you will be able to conjure up those images to help keep you on track.

Every goal must be treated like a road trip. In order to achieve that goal, you must map out your path to success by outlining the steps that will help you achieve your objective just as you would chart the route to your destination. Whether you are trying to lose pounds or run a 10K, identify the actions that will get you there like packing healthy snacks or scheduling regular workouts.

Last fall, I became a promoter of the Body By Vi 90 Day Challenge. I set a goal to lose 15 lbs. and ended up surpassing my goal by one pound for a total weight loss of 16 lbs. After struggling with my weight for the past fifteen years, this was a major accomplishment for me. Of course, exercise and the right nutrition were a huge part of the weight loss, but here are a few more strategies that helped me finally win at losing.

  1. Know that you deserve to be healthy and happy. Everything starts with your own belief system and if you don’t believe that your health is a priority, you won’t be able to develop the behaviors you need to accomplish your goal.
  2. Post photos on your fridge of yourself at your desired weight or a bathing suit you have your eye on. This will serve as a friendly reminder when temptation sets in. If you don’t have a photo of yourself that you like, post a photo of a role model or the body you would like to achieve, but make sure it is reasonable and not some super twig Victoria’s Secret model. That is just going to frustrate you.
  3. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Accept the busy stressed person you are and find a program that fits into your lifestyle. Weight Watchers© works but all that point counting does NOT work for me. After I accepted that and started on a program that fits into my lifestyle, I was finally able to stick to the program for longer than 2 weeks.
  4. Set small incremental goals and celebrate each milestone. You don’t have to spend hours in the gym every day to lose weight. Real life doesn’t allow for that and if your goals are too big, you are more likely to blow them off altogether. 30 lbs. is a lot to bite off and can feel overwhelming. Start with a goal of 10 lbs. Reward yourself when you reach that goal and then set a new goal. The same is true of exercise. If you are not active but have vowed to get fit, start by fitting a 10-minute walk into your day and then try to build up each week.
  5. Rethink your environment. When your surroundings stay the same, so do your ingrained habits. You can’t keep junk food in your house and expect your willpower to hold up every time. New habits take time to develop. Don’t expect drastic changes to take place in a week. You have to commit to being in it for the long haul.
  6. Start your day with a protein smoothie. Research has shown that starting your day with a protein shake can boost your metabolism by up to 35%. It also stabilizes blood sugar, which will reduce cravings and hunger pangs later in the day and therefore keep you from overeating. Load it up with fruits and greens for even more fiber and nutrients.
  7. Envision how you will achieve your goal. Visualization is one of the most powerful tools for achieving a goal and is even used by Olympic athletes. Picture yourself eating healthier foods, imagine yourself feeling healthier, how it will feel to be able to fit more comfortably into your jeans. Anticipate obstacles like feeling too tired to hit the gym and then imagine how you’ll overcome them
  8. Ask for what you want. I have become the person who asks the chef to hold the cheese, to cook my meal without butter or bring the dressing on the side. This doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy myself when dining out. It’s OK to splurge a little now and then, but make up for it the next day by working out a little longer.
  9. Get your family on board for support. My family knows that I am much more enjoyable to be around when I have gotten my workout in and it always gets scheduled into our plans.
  10. Figure out what centers you. My life is filled with activity. I am constantly on the go. But there is a thrill I get from figuring out how to fit it all in each day and when I don’t, I just strive to do better the next day. I find it essential to make time to stay healthy and fit or I am no good to my family. I’ve pledged to make my workout just as important as everything else. It’s a commitment to me, a pledge to myself that I know I can not compromise or it disrupts everything else.

Exercise boosts the production of endorphins and serotonin and enhances the body’s ability to absorb these feel-good chemicals, which is why you will often finish a workout with a sense of bliss. But perhaps of greater importance is that it leads to overall mindfulness of living a healthy life. And if all that weren’t enough, exercise keeps me in balance and I do it because I love the way it makes me feel.

Shira Adatto

Health & Fitness
Shira is a successful Mom Entrepreneur who runs Sheer Wellness and promotes the Body By Vi 90 Day Challenge.
Read more about Shira here

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