Haven’t we all wished at one time or another to have a magic wand and make things appear or disappear? A wave of the wand could make unwanted pounds vanish, a washboard stomach appear, or instantly have sculpted, muscular arms. The thought of getting what you want when you want it, as appealing as it sounds, is actually not as rewarding as you might think. Your desire for instant gratification can actually hinder your progress to live a healthier life. But with a little shift in your thinking and patience, you can slow down that driving need for instant results but still see progress in your weight loss journey!
Scale down your scale obsession. The reason some fitness experts recommend weighing yourself each day and others don’t is because some people become fixated on the three digits on the scale. If they go up a couple pounds, they starve themselves, or if they don’t go down fast enough they give up and surrender with a box of donuts. Those three numbers shouldn’t send you into a tailspin. Decide not to be so reactive when you step on the scale. It’s okay to weigh yourself daily, but don’t expect dramatic or steady declines downward. The scale can help keep you cognizant of how you are doing but you should expect a little fluctuation. Use the scale as a gauge and not as a read out on whether you are a success or failure.
Break your big goal into little goals. If weight loss is your goal, it’s great to have an ideal weight that you are targeting, but then break that goal down into smaller goals for each individual week. Be realistic. You might say, “I want to lose 30 pounds in the next three months, but for this week, I’d like to get down two pounds.” And during that week, only think about that two pound weight loss. Don’t think about how far you have to go, or how long you think it might take, just concentrate on losing those next two pounds. You are allowing yourself to win—and hit a goal within a week’s time frame, which helps your need for results. Plus, slowly chipping away at your weight is a healthier and more sustainable plan. If your goal isn’t weight loss, but it is to be more fit or toned, you can use smaller goals to meet your bigger goal. Each week, make your workout a little more challenging, with more reps, heavier weights, a longer work out time or a higher intensity. Make each new week an opportunity to set and hit a new, small goal.
Be reasonable. You see an old picture of yourself when you were thinner. You know you don’t look like that anymore, so you decide to try some radical diet so you can regain your old self faster. Sure, some people do drop lots of weight from crash diets, but they don’t feel better, the results don’t last and they don’t learn anything about living healthier in the process. Give yourself a little break. Acknowledge that the pounds crept on slowly when you weren’t paying attention, and now they can come off slowly as you start to pay attention. With a healthy eating plan and exercise, you will immediately reap the results of feeling more energized and gain the sense of accomplishment that comes from doing the real work and seeing real results.
Change your limits. Back to that magic wand: if you had one, you wouldn’t have the exhilarating feeling that comes from the discovery that you can do more than you thought you could. Think about how you feel when you finish an intense workout, run a mile when you never have before, finish a new weight lifting routine, or venture to a new fitness class you haven’t tried before. You gain a sense of accomplishment. You feel dedicated. Muscles are sore that you didn’t even know you had. Soon, you get excited to see what your results might be if you keep it up. When you surprise yourself, it will motivate you to keep going—or set your sights higher. You see results and gain the confidence to take on new challenges. You find out you don’t need shortcuts. You create your own magic.