It’s hard to wake up one morning and be a completely different person. Yet that is exactly what we are asking of ourselves if we set a New Year’s Resolution to lose weight and expect to start “on Monday” doing everything right. Depending on what your starting point is, that could be a LOT of changes at once! Set yourself up for success by revamping your habits and rituals more gradually so the change is more manageable.
Manage your transition by looking at your diet and nutrition first, then exercise. You can’t out-exercise a bad diet. If you’re losing weight, 85% of your workout will be in the kitchen.
Maybe you can relate to this: When I stare at a whole week’s worth of new meal plans, I think about having to make a grocery list, having to hunt for things in the grocery store I don’t normally buy, and having to follow recipes for every meal. It feels cumbersome and time consuming.
One strategy for eating healthier and losing weight is to get a grip on one meal at a time. Instead of planning every meal for every day for a week, focus on a breakfast routine for example. Think about your schedule, timing, likes/dislikes in the framework of your overall goal.
Let’s walk through how that thought process might look. Let’s say your goal is to lose weight and you have determined you need to consume 1,500 calories a day. From there, you could break down your day into thirds: breakfast and morning snack, lunch and afternoon snack, and dinner and bedtime snack. You could budget a third of your calories for each of these time periods. In other words, you have 500 calories for each.
Now you can tailor your meals to your needs within these parameters. What is your morning schedule like? Are you an early riser with plenty of time to prepare breakfast? Or are you more likely to dash out the door screaming “Oh no, I’m going to be late again?” What kinds of foods do you like? Do you like to eat the same things over and over or do you need more variety to be able to stick to something? If you are a morning dasher that likes a steady breakfast menu, then perhaps a shake or protein bar might work. If you are a slow-to-rise-and-get-going person who likes variety, you may like to ease into your day with a more gourmet approach and have several favorites in your repertoire.
The point is, learn how to conquer breakfast. Get it right every day. Once your breakfast routine becomes second nature, tackle lunch. Same thought process applies. What are the circumstances around your typical lunch? What do you like? What would work for you? Master it and then tackle dinner.
This is what we call a transition. You don’t have to change everything overnight to start seeing results or to see BIG results. By easing into new routines, the changes are more manageable and sustainable. That is what we call a lifestyle. See how easy that was?