Healthy Hack #11: How to Stay Committed & Not Give Up

About Healthy Hacks

As you may already know if you have been following me, I made a decision that changed my life. I decided to escape from my lifelong obesity and to lose over 100 pounds in under a year.

My results significantly exceeded my expectations and I lost 100 pound in 9 months, 120 in the first year and am still going strong – 130+ pounds in 16 months to-date. The pinnacle of my journey so far was completing my first half marathon just 16 months after weighing in at 325 pounds!

Throughout my fitness journey I have been repeatedly asked the same question: what’s your secret?

While there is no true “secret” to successful weight loss there are some techniques that worked well for me. I am going to share these techniques with you through this Healthy Hacks series in the Operation Melt blog.

Please read on because I am confident that these hacks can become the “secret” to your success with your own health & fitness journey.

How to Stay Committed and Not Give Up

We are officially 2 weeks into the new year so how are you doing with your 2019 goals? Are you staying the course and making progress or have you already starting giving yourself permission to lose focus? That certainly isn’t the way to succeed.

As you get deeper into your journey and your resolve starts to get shaky you need some strategies to help you stay committed. With the right reminders and techniques you can keep yourself on track and not risk giving up on your important goals. And these strategies don’t just apply to fitness goals either, you can apply them to all of your goals.

Reason

The top strategy to staying committed is to remind yourself of why you started in the first place.

When you started your journey, if you followed my tips, you wrote down not only your goal but your “why” too. Your “why” is essentially your business case for taking on this project and it needs to be compelling. The more important your “why” is to you the more motivational it will be when the going gets tough.

When you start considering giving up on your goal or start feeling your focus fading go back and read what you wrote when you started. Remind yourself about why this journey was important enough to you that you wanted to do it. By doing this you can refocus yourself and get back on track.

Results

If you are anything like me results are a big motivator for you. I call it a success snowball… you get started and make some progress. The progress becomes a motivator and causes you to make more progress and the effect keeps compounding.

When you start feeling your focus fade and you are considering giving up pause to look at what you have accomplished. Look at where you started and where you are now and see how you are beginning to experience success. That reflection on your accomplishments may be enough to get you over this hump.

I can tell you that this was a big part of my success. I continued to look back and look at the data I was tracking and saw progress happening nearly every day. That was enough to keep me going sometimes particularly when people started noticing my changes.

Research

My final strategy for keeping focused on your goals is to continually research ideas and information.

Go online and to other sources to further immerse yourself in them through research. Spend time every day learning more about your journey and ways to improve how you are performing. Look for sources of inspiration, knowledge, challenges and anything else that keeps it interesting. Even talking to people about their fitness routines, suggestions and journeys can be motivating.

No matter the technique you choose you need to find some things that work for you the refocus you on your goals as you start to fade. By finding ways to remind yourself why you started, reflecting on your results and researching new ideas you can keep it interesting and motivating. You can do this and you can be successful!

Thanks for reading and good luck with your goals – but you don’t need luck because you have a plan and you’re on this, right?! Check back next week for another hack.

Healthy Hack #10: Overcoming a Setback

About Healthy Hacks

As you may already know if you have been following me, I made a decision that changed my life. I decided to escape from my lifelong obesity and to lose over 100 pounds in under a year.

My results significantly exceeded my expectations and I lost 100 pound in 9 months, 120 in the first year and am still going strong – 130+ pounds in 16 months to-date. The pinnacle of my journey so far was completing my first half marathon just 16 months after weighing in at 325 pounds!

Throughout my fitness journey I have been repeatedly asked the same question: what’s your secret?

While there is no true “secret” to successful weight loss there are some techniques that worked well for me. I am going to share these techniques with you through this Healthy Hacks series in the Operation Melt blog.

Please read on because I am confident that these hacks can become the “secret” to your success with your own health & fitness journey

Overcoming a Setback

The new year and your refreshed goals are officially one week old today! Are you still on track? Are you progressing how you thought you would? Judging by how busy the gym still is this week I am guessing many of you are still focused on your fitness goals.

What if you aren’t on track? One week into your goals you may have already encountered your first setback. Any journey towards a big goal is going to be filled with ups and downs and it is a bit of a rollercoaster ride. Setbacks are just part of the process and you need to be prepared for how to handle them.

I have had tons of setbacks along my weight loss and my fitness journey as I have through other journeys in my life. There were many days during my weight loss where I would step on the scale and see the numbers go up not down. There were days where I would be surprised because I was 5 pounds heavier than the prior d

My setbacks along the journey have been a little rough from time to time. Because setbacks are so frequent I had to develop an approach to managing them. If I didn’t have a process I knew I would get frustrated and discouraged and I couldn’t let that happen because this was too important. So my 3 step process emerged:

  • Figure out how it happened
  • Focus on tomorrow
  • Forgive yourself

Figure out how it happened

The first step when you encounter a setback is to answer the big question: why?

By focusing on a fact-based assessment of how the setback happened you can pivot your brain from the emotional feelings of disappointment to an analytical focus on problem solving. Get from emotion to facts as quickly as possible to prevent a small setback from being a goal killer.

For example there were mornings where I would step on the scale and my weight would be up from the prior day. To be sure that is a disappointing moment. But then I would start focusing on the facts from the prior day to try to diagnose root causes and patterns. This is how I learned that I can be a little sensitive to sodium and it drives bing temporary weight fluctuations. From there I was able to set a revised goal to include managing my sodium and I was healthier AND more successful because of how I reacted to a setback.

In any aspect of your life make sure to react to setbacks with curiosity and a focus on the facts so you can move forward.

Focus on tomorrow

Once you have figured out what caused your setback the next step is to do something about it! Figure out what you are going to do today and tomorrow to get past the setback and to get back on the path to success. It is ok to have a bad day but you should do your best to make sure that one bad day doesn’t turn into two and then a week and then failure.

As I mentioned in my example above I pinpointed the source of my unexpected weight fluctuations as sodium. So I set another goal to track each day and started managing my sodium intake. By doing so I was able to drive my weight back to normal by the next day and my setback was over. Other times it isn’t quite that quick but you can almost always take immediate steps, even if baby steps, to address the problem and to get back on track.

Forgive yourself

Setbacks happen! They are just a part of the road to success.

When a setback happens the most important thing you can do is to forgive yourself. You are human and stuff happens. Small setbacks are not worth beating yourself up over and I know you are your own worst critic, right?

Remember why you started this journey and why this goal is important to you. Remind yourself that you are a rockstar and that you got this. Then put on your game face and get back into the game. You are unstoppable!

Thanks for reading and good luck with your goals – but you don’t need luck because you have a plan and you’re on this, right?! If not you should make sure to review Healthy Hack #1: My 3-step Weight Loss Secret to learn more about building a plan.

Check back next week for another hack.

Healthy Hack #9: Don’t Make New Years Resolutions

About Healthy Hacks

As you may already know if you have been following me, I made a decision that changed my life. I decided to escape from my lifelong obesity and to lose over 100 pounds in under a year.

My results significantly exceeded my expectations and I lost 100 pound in 9 months, 120 in the first year and am still going strong – 130+ pounds in 16 months to-date. The pinnacle of my journey so far was completing my first half marathon just 16 months after weighing in at 325 pounds!

Throughout my fitness journey I have been repeatedly asked the same question: what’s your secret?

While there is no true “secret” to successful weight loss there are some techniques that worked well for me. I am going to share these techniques with you through this Healthy Hacks series in the Operation Melt blog.

Please read on because I am confident that these hacks can become the “secret” to your success with your own health & fitness journey

Don’t Make New Years Resolutions

Happy New Year!!

It is that time of the year again. We have just ended a year and kicked off a new year and people are rushing to create a bunch of New Years Resolutions. The top 2 resolutions that people set are fitness related: exercise more and lose weight.

When people set Resolutions they do so with the best of intentions. The new year is a clean slate and they are ready to tackle the things that are important to them. The holidays are over and people have usually gorged themselves on cookies and nog and they are ready to turn things around. So it is time to make a change.

Unfortunately most (80%+) New Year’s Resolutions fail before Valentine’s Day.

Resolutions fail because they tend to be novelties and not goals. We pick an arbitrary date and mindlessly define a wish list of things that we want to do in the new year. Then we just hope for the best while forgetting that a goal without a plan is just a wish.

Can we agree to stop the New Years Resolutions madness because it is not working? Can we focus on real goal-setting instead? Can we agree to set ourselves up for success instead of failure?

It is ok to use the start of a new year as a time to re-evaluate your goals but really look at them as goals. Pick the 1 or 2 things that are most important to you, not 20, and build goals around them. But make them real goals.

A good goal is a S.M.A.R.T. goal meaning that it has the following attributes (this is just one of the common definitions of the S.M.A.R.T. model):

  • Specific: it isn’t just a general “I’m going to lose weight” wish but it is a specifically defined goal such as “I am going to lose 10 pounds”
  • Measurable: a good goal is something that you can measure in an empirical way. For weight loss it may be in pounds lost or % of body weight lost or something like that. For exercise you may measure the number of days you worked out or run/walk mileage or one of the best is total steps taken each day (your smartphone may already be measuring this!).
  • Attainable/Achievable: don’t choose a completely unrealistic goal or else you will fail. Choose something that you know is possible but is a stretch. For example you may not want to decide to lose 100 pounds or go from couch potato to marathoner in 6 months because you aren’t going to make it.
  • Relevant: the goal needs to be important to you. Take time and think about why you want to achieve this goal. Write it down, reflect on it, revise it and make it something you can refer back to when times get tough. Make it motivating!
  • Timely: finally your goal needs to have a timeline associated with it so you stay accountable.

I will share a personal example from when I kicked off my weight loss journey which just concluded. My goal was to lose over 100 pounds in under a year while not giving up anything I like or considering fad diets or surgery. That includes the S, the M, the A and the T plus I wrote a long summary of my R that really kept me focused. I called that my business case!

On this New Year’s Day please don’t make any resolutions and then feel bad because you didn’t achieve them. Please do consider using this naturally good time to re-evaluate and set personal goals but make sure they are S.M.A.R.T. goals, write them down, tell people about them and then hold yourself accountable to achieving them.

Nothing feels as good as setting and achieving big goals!

Healthy Hack #8: Don’t Leave Holiday Fitness to Chance

About Healthy Hacks

As you may already know if you have been following me, I made a decision that changed my life. I decided to escape from my lifelong obesity and to lose over 100 pounds in under a year.

My results significantly exceeded my expectations and I lost 100 pound in 9 months, 120 in the first year and am still going strong – 130+ pounds in 16 months to-date. The pinnacle of my journey so far was completing my first half marathon just 16 months after weighing in at 325 pounds!

Throughout my fitness journey I have been repeatedly asked the same question: what’s your secret?

While there is no true “secret” to successful weight loss there are some techniques that worked well for me. I am going to share these techniques with you through this Healthy Hacks series in the Operation Melt blog.

Please read on because I am confident that these hacks can become the “secret” to your success with your own health & fitness journey

Don’t Leave Holiday Fitness to Chance

Merry Christmas!!

Holidays are tough for a fitness journey and approaching them without a plan can be a mistake.

It is easy, and sometimes desirable, to make unhealthy choices on holidays. Especially on thanksgiving and Christmas you tend to increase your calorie intake with the cookies, the candy, the nog, the alcohol, the big family meals and so on and so forth. I don’t know about you but I don’t want to skip this celebration and give up traditions.

Holidays can also give you a bit of a double whammy with exercise. My gym is closed on the big holiday days and I am happy they are because I want them to be able to enjoy the holidays too. So working out at the gym usually isn’t and option and it tends to just be cold enough to make me second guess going outdoors.

My natural tendency on a holiday is to ramp up the calories and sit on the couch with no exercise. That is not the recipe for fitness success so I need a plan so I don’t leave my fitness to chance or else it may not happen. I didn’t achieve the fitness success I have by taking the easy way out.

I embrace 3 strategies to ensure that I stay focused.

Wake Up

The start of my holiday fitness plan is to wake up. It is very easy to treat these days off as days to sleep in and to have a lazy start to your morning. Unfortunately a lazy start to your day is the leading enabler of a full day of laziness.

On holidays make sure to still set your alarm and get up early. It doesn’t have to be as early as a weekday but this isn’t the time to sleep until noon. If you get up early and fit in fitness first thing you can have a day of well-earned fun later.

Buddy Up

My second strategy for success is not to go it alone – buddy up with somebody else to help keep each other accountable. If you are looking for ways to be fit on a holiday morning other people are too and this is a good time to work together.

An example of how I used this strategy happened on Thanksgiving morning this year. My gym was closed, I knew it was going to be a high calorie day and that it was going to be cold. All indicators were that I was going to wimp out of exercise.

To prevent this from being a bad fitness day I made a plan with a friend of mine that we would meet at the park and then run a 10k through downtown Columbus. If I backed out because it was “too cold” or because I “made poor decisions the night before” I wasn’t going to just be letting myself down I would be letting her down too.

This strategy turned a potentially bad fitness day into a personal record setting run!

Sign Up

The final strategy for holiday fitness pre-planning is to sign up for something so you are committed to exercise. Nearly every holiday there aware a series of races and walks (2 mile, 5k, 10k, half marathon, etc.) that are available to participate in first thing so you start your day off right. Sign up for something!

Signing up for a holiday walk/run has a doubly positive effect. First off it keeps you accountable to exercising in the morning before your high calorie and high fun day. But the second way it helps is that it forces you to make healthy choices the night before. If you are getting up to run a 5k on Thanksgiving morning you are probably not going to over indulge on “Thirsty Turkey Day” the night before.

An example of how I have used this strategy is coming in a week from now. I have signed up to run a “First on the First” 5k race on New Years Day. This means that I have to be reasonably good in New Years Eve and that I am committed to doing something to invest in my fitness first thing on the holiday morning.

Plus I signed up for this race with a friend so I am doubling up on the use of my strategies!

I hope this strategy, that has worked well for me, can also be beneficial to you. I want you to be successful with reaching your goals because the feeling when you get there is totally worth the planning and hard work!

Healthy Hack #7: Use Technology to Help your Journey

About Healthy Hacks

As you may already know if you have been following me, I made a decision that changed my life. I decided to escape from my lifelong obesity and to lose over 100 pounds in under a year.

My results significantly exceeded my expectations and I lost 100 pound in 9 months, 120 in the first year and am still going strong – 130+ pounds in 16 months to-date. The pinnacle of my journey so far was completing my first half marathon just 16 months after weighing in at 325 pounds!

Throughout my fitness journey I have been repeatedly asked the same question: what’s your secret?

While there is no true “secret” to successful weight loss there are some techniques that worked well for me. I am going to share these techniques with you through this Healthy Hacks series in the Operation Melt blog.

Please read on because I am confident that these hacks can become the “secret” to your success with your own health & fitness journey.

Use Technology to Help Your Journey

Technology has always been a big part of my life and my fitness journey is no exception. I leveraged technology throughout my journey and it helped me be more successful. In this week’s healthy hack I want to share 3 ways that I used technology (and you can to) to help me be successful with my fitness journey.

Tracking

In my Healthy Hack #1: My 3-step Weight Loss “Secret” I shared that one of my keys to my weight loss was data. The nearly constant stream of health data helped me know how I was doing and to make necessary adjustments along the way. Remember if you can measure it you can manage it.

This data is far easier to measure and manage if you use technology to help you. This is the first place I used technology in my journey – tracking.

  • I use an app to track all of my food and drink intake. Everything that goes into my body is logged including all associated nutritional information.
  • I use a wearable fitness tracker to track all of my activity data. This includes my exercise, my steps, my calorie burn, my sleep, my heart rate and lots of other details.
  • I also have a smart scale that interfaces with my other apps to track and log my weight.

Those are the key pieces of technology that I use to track my data to help with my journey. If I didn’t use technology to help with the tracking I would have to do it all on paper which would be annoying and I would probably have been far less successful

Insights

Once you start using technology to track your data you can use technology to gain insights from that data. When you have all of your fitness details in one place you can start noticing trends and patterns that you can either break or take advantage of to continue improving. Some apps will even start notifying you of some of those trends.

For example, because I log all of my food with nutritional information and my weight I was able to identify the impact of sodium on my body. On days where I have consumed a large amount of sodium my weight tends to be up the next day. I was able to correlate this information using the data and then do research to figure out how to better manage my sodium.

The sodium sensitivity is just one of many insights that I have been able to glean by using technology to collect and analyze my data. Just be careful that you aren’t identifying insights and correlations that aren’t really there. Use a critical eye and your best application of the scientific method.

Inspiration

Finally I use technology to continue to inspire myself to keep going and keep improving.

I share my goals and progress via social media to keep myself accountable. I also do lots of research to keep learning and identifying new things to try. I also use technology, social media again, to share my journey in near real time to help inspire others.

There are so many sources of inspiration available on the internet and technology is your gateway to find those sources. It is absolutely easier to keep going and to try harder if you find inspiration to help get you there.

I hope this strategy, that works for me every day, can also be beneficial to you. I want you to be successful with reaching your goals because the feeling when you get there is totally worth saying no to that cookie when it doesn’t fit into your plan.