It’s been a hectic start to the year, hasn’t it? Between the extended school holidays and wild weather – add to that the general craziness a new year brings – there’s been a lot to think about.
Unfortunately, the first thing to fall to the wayside has been our fitness. If the thought of bare arms and bikinis fills you with dread instead of delight, it’s time to take action.
This year has been hard for maintaining your mojo and commitment to your goals. With shutdowns, lockdowns, interrupted schedules and event cancellations left, right and centre, it’s easy to get off track.
If you were planning to smash a PB at a 10km run and the event got cancelled, it’s tempting to let your training slide. If your holiday to Thailand got curtailed by COVID, it’s easy to indulge in takeout and cocktails at home instead. You promise yourself you’ll ‘stick to your plan’ after the weekend but how exactly can you get back on track – and keep it up, right through the festive season?
Simple – you need a rock-solid plan. Read on for my five easy steps to get back on track.
Get super honest about your ‘why’
Making a change is hard. It’s uncomfortable. You’re choosing your future self over your present self. And if present self wants to drink wine and eat takeout, your future self needs to be stronger.
This is where it’s important to come clean about why you want to get back on track. Whether that’s to improve your nutrition, lose weight, improve fitness or gain energy, dig deep on the root reason for you to make a change. Try the ‘onion technique’ where you peel back the layers by continuously asking yourself, ‘why?’. It might look like this:
I want to lose 5 kilograms.
So I can fit into my bikini from last summer.
Because I want to feel confident on the beach.
So I can play with the kids, swim, surf and enjoy myself without worrying about my belly or my butt.
Because I hate that I’m sitting on the sidelines, covering up and feeling like I have a ‘mum-bod’.
Now when the cravings come, or you feel like giving up, you can remind yourself why you’re making a positive change.
Make a plan
Think of the top five things that derail you every time, and contingency plan around them.
- Get home too late to cook dinner: Bulk cook meals on the weekend so you’ve got healthy options to reheat in minutes.
- Give in to cravings around your period, or when life stress piles up: Top up with healthy fats, magnesium and protein to keep you full and minimise cravings, and then allow yourself a little of what you crave without guilt.
- Hate getting up early in the mornings: Exercise at lunch, or after school drop off, or after dinner, or start riding/running with the kids to school.
- Have a really social work environment with lots of lunches and morning teas: Pack a lunch box so lunch is sorted, then gracefully decline the cakes and snacks in favour of your own healthy treats.
Set micro goals
Goal setting is all about being Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely (SMART). But while a big, bold goal is brilliant for inspiring initial action, it won’t get you through the tough days, the early starts and the muscle soreness that comes from committing to a nutrition and workout plan.
That’s when you need micro goals. Set one goal for the day ahead and make sure you achieve it. It’s so much easier to focus on just one small task than a weeks-long process – drink your water, get your steps in, smash your workout, get to bed early, avoid after-dinner snacking. Whatever your weakness is, make it your goal to overcome today. Then get up tomorrow and do it again.
Get a buddy
Enlist your partner, a girlfriend, your sister, your work-wife – whoever will keep you accountable and come along on this journey with you. While you might break your promise to yourself, you won’t break a workout date with your training buddy. So when motivation wanes, your buddy will keep you committed.
Meal plan in advance
If nutrition is your downfall, or you’re trying to lose weight, you have to plan your food. Intuitive eating and ‘if it fits your macros’ is all well and good if you’re maintaining your weight, expert at tracking meals or eating the same thing week in, week out, but if you’re trying to make a change to your weight or shape, you need to plan your food.
Track your calories and macros (protein, fats and carbohydrates) so you know exactly how much you’re consuming. If you’ve got Christmas parties or end of year drinks coming up, plan for it so you don’t over-eat.
A personal trainer or coach can help you work out your nutrition targets, and the internet is a gold-mine of delicious, healthy meal ideas. (If you’re looking for a 7 Day Meal Plan of healthy recipes that never taste like diet food, start here.)
Follow these tips and you’ll never need to ‘start again on Monday’. You’ll be back on track, and ready to rock this summer with confidence.