Change The Direction of Your Life!
I get it. You want to get skinny fast. Like, by tomorrow. I'm right there with you. But we've done this before, remember? We're amazing for about a month. We eat kale shakes and apples for snack, we tote our salads to work, we run like the wind, and then we… Well, we get busy. Life gets in the way. We're up all night with cranky newborns, we're fitting in way too much on the weekend, we get sick, or we have family in town and stuff ourselves full of lava cake and Chicago style pizza. Life got out of control. Next thing you know months have passed and we haven't done anything (except gorge ourselves on brownies and use the treadmill to hang our PJ's on). So, let's try something different. Let's just skip the diet this year. Let's also skip the gym fees, exercise equipment and special shakes that we won't use. Let's revolutionize the way we treat our bodies. You are not a failure. I don't care how many times you've done this dance. You started wrong, you didn't fail. We're talking about making small sustainable life choices. We're talking about creating habits. By focusing on one step a month, until it becomes a habit, we're letting ourselves focus on succeeding in one area. When we've mastered that area, we can move on to the next. At 8 weeks post baby, I was ready to jump right in to getting back my body. But I know me. I know what I respond to and I know what I don't respond to. I respond to baby steps. Fly Lady (silly name, but amazing program), used baby steps to get me organized. Dave Ramsey used baby steps to teach me budgeting and get in control of our money. I can rock baby steps. So can you.
Will this work? I know behavior modification techniques, but I wanted to check with a dietitian and a personal trainer to get their opinions, since I'm not an expert in physical fitness.
“Yes”, according to Lisa Rutledge, a registered dietician in Montreal, “setting small, somewhat easily attainable goals over many weeks is more likely to lead to success. This is in part because making many smaller changes over time (for example, eating more veggies, walking more, etc) helps to make the bigger change (for example, weight loss) with less willpower and less of a sense of a struggle. Making small slices of change that are consistent with the long term or bigger goal is key.”
” The approach you suggest is a 100% guaranteed way to ensure success.”, Saul Juan Antonio Cuautle, CEO & Founder, MOS Training System, “The ‘slow' approach may not be what people want to hear, but it's one that will get them to their goals. Whether it's 6 steps or 12 steps, the key lies in the two things. 1) Make small changes. Make changes so small that you find yourself saying, “That's TOO easy!” Easy is good. Let it be easy. 2) Only do one change at a time. I know it will be tough, but just focusing on one thing to do will let you become a master of that one thing. And mastery is what you want. After doing something consistently for 21 days, it will be a habit for most people. That's when you roll out the next habit to try and incorporate. You can try the New Year's resolution “fast” approach and burn out by Martin Luther King's birthday or you can try the “slow” approach and be six months closer to your goal. Pick a path.”
Ultimate Goal: Decide on your ultimate goal. Write it down and post it somewhere that you'll see it frequently (the fridge is a great spot!). My ultimate goal is to lose 30 Pounds, tone and build muscle, increase cardio fitness level, feel comfortable running again, get a routine of regular exercise, with a sustainable, enjoyable diet that includes both healthy foods and the occasional brownies (because seriously, who wants to live their entire life without brownies?)
- It takes 28 days to create a habit.
- Always continue doing the previous steps when you add the new steps. The idea here is to create new routines for you.
- Set aside one day, every morning to be your weigh in date. Mine is Monday mornings as soon as I wake up.
- Just because Step 1 is 15 days doesn't mean you'll complete it in 15 days. Do your best, but you're likely to have a few days that you don't meet your goal. Just move on. Continue doing that step until you've completed 15 days.
- Choose a way to reward yourself after completing each phase. See the “Rewards” Section at the bottom of this post.
Step 1: Track your food intake honestly for 15 days, No need to measure, just track what you eat to the best of your ability. If you have a smartphone, the app “Myfitnesspal” makes this really easy.
Step 2: Track your food intake, while carefully measuring food for 15 days. Premeasuring portions out is a great way to handle this. If a food can't be measured, make a careful assessment.
Step 3: Track your food intake, carefully measuring food and staying under your calorie goal for 30 days. Need help setting your calorie goal? “Myfitnesspal” the app will do it for you, or set one here.
Step 4: 30 days of 30 minute workouts or 10k steps a day.
Step 5: 15 Days of Strength Training for 30 minutes and 15 days of Cardio for 30 minutes
Step 6: 30 days tracking and drinking a minimum of 64 oz. of water. Need help figuring out how much this is? A standard drinking glass usually holds 12 oz. (you can check yours by using a measuring cup to measure the amount it holds). You can also take the easy way and do what I do. I use the 32 oz. Nalgene bottles below with measurements on the bottle (They last for years, mine are all over 5 years old). Reminder- if you're breastfeeding or pregnant, your water requirements may be much higher. The safest bet it to ask your doctor what your minimum fluid requirements are.
Wait a second? That takes 5 months!!! Well, yes. When was the last time you were eating well, tracking your calories and doing 30 minutes of physical activity every day? If it was more than 5 months ago, you could already be done with this and seeing sustainable results. When we “Go hard or Go home!” we fizzle out. This isn't about a shocking life change. This is about starting you on an entirely new course in life. 7 years ago, baby steps took me from an out of control, messy, disorganized spender to a calm, organized, happy budgeter. 7 years from now, you'll either be looking back in amazement of what you've accomplished, or you'll be trying to “Go hard or Go home!” for the 10th time.
Assign one reward for each phase. You can use the free reward printable below to list your rewards and have a reminder of the phases listed. Many of these rewards cost money. If you don't have money in the budget, either set aside some money to make it work, or concentrate on rewards that don't cost money. Don't ever derail your progress in your budget to succeed in your fitness plan.
- Hold your “Fun Money” from your budget hostage to use as a reward for this, no discretionary spending until it's earned.
- A Fitbit is an amazing fitness tool that tracks your steps, flights of stairs, and sleep quality. It would be a perfect (but fairly expensive) reward for completing step 3, so you can track your steps accurately in step 4.) I love my fitbit! You can see the link below to find out more.
- A “no bells and whistles” cheap pedometer (if the fitbit is too expensive), there's a link below (I haven't used this, since I use a Fitbit, but this has good reviews) but you can also easily find these in Walmart for about $3 -$5.
- A cooking date night: Put the kids to bed after a PB & J sandwich (or let them take over the TV room if they're too old to go to bed early, and watch frozen as much as they want). You can make a fancy dinner to enjoy by candlelight and chat about adult things (I'm not actually sure I remember what adult chatter is, but I'm certain Dora the Explorer isn't part of it).
- Choose something you've been putting off that makes you feel amazing: a manicure, an eyebrow wax (or threading if you're brave), or even a lavender bubble bath with a great book.
- A day trip to the zoo, or your favorite family fun spot.
- A new bathing suit.
- A day off, where your partner takes over the kids for a few hours and you get the day to… Um, I'm not actually sure what you do without kids, but you'll think of something.
- A trip to the movies.
- A class… This is my favorite reward ever! (But again, a more expensive one). Check out the local community college to see if they offer classes to enhance the community like cooking, budgeting, dance, couples massage, or even creative writing. There are hundreds of options at ours and they all offer ways to make you grow and succeed. Classes usually run from $50-$200.
- A “Go Me!” Party, complete with cake, candles, and friends to celebrate your accomplishments.
- Coming back here and posting when you complete a phase, so I can applaud you too!
- A day at the pool: If you don't have a free community pool, try signing up for a free trial membership to a gym with a pool and going there.
- Making a healthy dessert, like strawberry shortcake made with angel food cake or strawberries dipped in dark chocolate.
Download these free printables to customize this program for you. You can download the Baby Steps Fitness Program Reward Sheet below, print it out, add in your rewards and post in a prominent location. Then download the Tracker to keep track of how many days of each phase you've completed. You can also use the tracker to continue with the baby steps by assigning customized steps to complete after you've finished the program.
Download the above The Baby Step Fitness Program Tracker.
Download the above The Baby Step Fitness Program with Free Printables Reward Sheet.
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