Give Yourself a Good Lift

By Brooke Whitley
Certified Personal Trainer
Fitness Nutrition Specialist
Gym Rat Ambassador

Weight loss advice can be incredibly daunting for all of us these days. The advice is conflicting. Eat more often; try 5-6 small meals per day. Eat less often; try intermittent fasting. Watch your sugar; maybe don’t eat fruit. Go Paleo; eat lots of vegetables and fruits. Don’t drink your calories; even with meal shakes – the thermic effect of food (TEF) will be higher by chewing your foods. How about you try to carb cycle? Try calorie cycling; plan re-feeds; and the list goes on…

As a personal trainer, it is my job to know these nuances and small ideas inside and out, so that I may be able to help people with their body fat/weight loss more effectively. However, there are really more tried and true aspects to gaining control over your weight. What I’m about to tell you are, without a doubt, the biggest tools to weight loss. So, listen up ya’ll:

  • Make a workout calendar
  • Set a bedtime
  • Set goals for yourself and write them down
  • Be grateful and keep a positive attitude
  • Find your hobbies
  • Create organization and consistency in your life
  • Use healthy hobbies to combat stress and bad habits in your life

Rest and Relax
Stress in your life is literally killing you. If it’s not making you gain weight, it is going to make you gain body fat in the long run. Here is how to combat stress in your life: Sleep or at least rest in bed for 7-10 hours every night. Try to keep a consistent sleep schedule. If you do not have a consistent schedule in your life, try to make one. Learn to make time for YOU, your sleep, and your meditation/alone time.

Find Hobbies
A lot of my clients deal with stress and being overworked by relaxing with food. Here’s a better idea: turn to hobbies instead of food. My trick when I’m bored or stressed is to have five escapes/motivations/hobbies or things to do with myself besides eat. Here are mine: dance, stretch/listen to music (somewhat like yoga), take a hot bubble bath with candles lit, make a big kale salad to share with others (aka healthy meal prepping), journal or go for a walk. These are hobbies to me: music, candles, collecting Epsom salt lavender bath salts, healthy meal prepping, walking and writing. What are your five hobbies that you can turn to, for stress release, besides eating food?

Move Your Body!
Watch TV for no more than an hour a day. You do not have to love weight lifting, love the gym or love exercise. However, you do HAVE to love some form of human movement. If you are in a habit of doing any activity than involves more than an hour of sitting, you must balance that with something you do daily for at least an hour that is active. Here are some ideas: do a yoga tape after one hour of watching TV or clean your house for one hour; stretch/move/do a chore/walk/exercise/do something nice for someone else just as much as you would watch television. I am not opposed to TV (it is great for me to sit still sometimes and chill out); but, watch yourself and do not lose your youthful mobility because the TV or computer rules your life. You’ve got to keep your ability to squat, run, jump, bend and simply move well in life.

Set a bedtime and wake time. Make it as regular as possible. TRUST ME! This is huge. Your body’s ability to regulate hormones, stress and recovery depend on it!

Create Organization in Your Life
Plan your meals, plan your bedtime, plan your calendar and plan your workouts. How much time each week will you work? Serve others? Serve yourself? Serve your kids? Serve your spouse? Sleep? Rest? And exercise? You should have a plan for your life. Be flexible with that plan, but make one. Do not waste your time when you have goals to reach.

Be Grateful
Instead of stressing yourself out with what you do not have, recognize what you do have today and what you will work graciously toward in the future. Be gracious with yourself and those around you. You would be amazed at the studies science has done on the connections between a healthy, positive attitude and its correlation to a healthy physical body.

Sometimes weight loss requires other elements of your life to be controlled, such as calorie intake and lean muscle mass gains. Yet, without these other daily habits described above, control over metabolism and a healthy body are almost impossible. You must control your sleep, your stress, your habits, your hobbies and your attitude to gain control of your physical health.

Abraham Lincoln said it well: “Do not worry; eat three square meals a day; say your prayers; be courteous to your creditors; keep your digestion good; exercise; go slow and easy. Maybe there are other things your special case requires to make you happy; but, my friend, I reckon these things will give you a good lift.”

Sometimes the hardest part of my job is convincing people that they are worth spending time on. You are worthy. You have a purpose. Your health is worth spending time one. You may need to be a little bit more selfish with your time sometimes to sleep, eat, and be physically active. Your health and your attitude depend on it. We don’t all have to be size 2, but we do all have to respect ourselves enough to care for our physical bodies, so that we can also care well for those around us.

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