When I first started running, I absolutely hated it. I would head out and push my pace as hard as I could. My lungs would burn, my legs would feel heavy and it left me feeling exhausted and like a failure, because I couldn’t finish my run – I’d end up having to walk at some point.
What’s worse is I was SO sore the next day and the day after that I wouldn’t run…I’d wait till I wasn’t sore and then do the same thing again…and the same thing would happen. So…eventually I gave up and stopped trying to run. I simply thought I was a bad runner.
(Don’t worry, I’m not trying to slowly convince you to become a runner but stick with me…)
BUT – I had a deep desire to do a marathon (I don’t know why – perhaps it was my brother inspiring me as he ran marathons and I wanted to be like him). I decided to get some help. I enlisted a coach and I learned, perhaps, my greatest lesson – the power of pacing yourself.
If you learn to take smaller, consistent steps instead of going all at once with your weight loss, you will succeed and you’ll feel better while doing it! Because weight loss – like a marathon – is all about endurance.
Here are 4 ways to train yourself for healthy weight loss and actually stick with it…
#1 Pace Yourself
When you start thinking about losing weight, does fear creep in? If so, it’s because you are probably conditioned to associate weight loss with dieting. When you are on a diet, it’s all about giving up foods. It’s about restriction, elimination, deprivation, etc.
Along with all the focus of “giving up”, it’s coupled with this “go big or go home” mentality. This extreme thinking is not sustainable for a long period of time. You simply won’t outlast this because it’s too much too soon, and it’s overwhelming.
Overwhelm is the precursor to quitting. What’s happening is you are creating the belief that justifies going back to your old habits because the journey ahead doesn’t seem possible, and it also doesn’t seem worth it.
This is how to stay in that constant start/stop dieting cycle. You see a picture of yourself that makes you feel gross or sad, and you decide to make a change.
You start but it’s too much to stick to, or you feel bored, tired; maybe you don’t see the change right away, and so you stop. This is, what I call, the crazy making of weight loss which leaves you constantly thinking about your weight and consumed by it.
This is why having a plan and a pace is paramount to healthy, permanent weight loss. The plan is the commitment to the steps you can take today to be better tomorrow. The pace is the consistency to keep going.
How do you create the right pace for yourself? First, you have to know the kind of “runner” you are.
#2 Understand Your Style
If I thought a marathon could be completed in an hour, then I’d have a complete mismatch of success versus reality (the same is true if you believe you can lose 30 lbs in 30 days). If I believed I could do it in 2 hours, the same. You have to know what my body is capable of which for me running a marathon is about 3hrs and 45 min.
This is the same for your weight loss. You have to know what you’re capable of, challenge yourself just past that, and stick to your pace.
So, ask yourself – are you a slow starter and then have trouble finishing? Or does it take you forever to take that first step but once you do, you’re unstoppable?
This is why I really encourage you to seek out some honest support for your weight loss. A coach or mentor can help you figure out the plan and pace based on you instead of a generalized idea.
Let me give you a quick tip today…
- If you are a starter and not a finisher – challenge yourself to finish an activity this week – whether it’s cleaning out the junk drawer, finishing that email you’ve been meaning to send, or doing the number of reps at the gym you said you would, etc. Notice where you feel the urge to quit and notice how you feel when you reach your goal.
- If you’re an excellent finisher but slow to start – take the pressure off. Simply start one thing or make one small change. Maybe it’s not checking your social media when you first wake up. Perhaps it’s drinking more water throughout your day, or replacing that glass of wine with a cup of hot tea. One small change, that’s it.
#3 Focus on Your Gains
Once you make the plan and set the pace, you have to think with the end in mind – how you’ll look and how you’ll feel. It’s easy to get so stuck in your present moment, beating yourself up for how you feel on that cleanse, or the diet you tried to stick to that didn’t work.
When constantly engaging in that psyche, you attract more of that in your life. But weight loss is not about the weight you lose, it’s about the life you gain.
When you have to face yourself; stop distracting with food, numbing with alcohol, you are forced to look at your life and examine what you truly want.
When I talk to clients, I talk about fat loss, of course. Fat loss is a science and I know I can teach it to my clients, and I know they will lose weight. But what I really want to help women do is think better about their lives because that is what will keep the weight off and that’s what will transform their entire existence.
So, ask yourself: How are you thinking? Do you focus more on the losing or the gaining?
Cultivating your own emotional resilience along with physical changes takes time. When you adopt slow, consistent changes, you will start to notice that it takes less energy to keep going, and you’ll gain more confidence each step of the way.
This is why you have to give up on the idea that there is a quick fix. There absolutely isn’t. (In fact, that’s the only thing you have to give up!) Pay attention to your pace and your expectations. Go slower than you think you should.
#4 Play The Long Game
You have to stay connected to that long-term vision in the same way someone running a marathon can picture the end, and then pace themselves so they reach that end with confidence, instead of hitting the wall too soon.
When you start paying attention to your life and focusing on what you do want to feel instead of how you don’t want to feel, what you want to gain as opposed to what you want to lose, you will feel different about your weight loss. Your mind will be ready to take this journey with you, and I know you will succeed.
Here’s a way you can start cultivating that long-term vision…
Join me every Monday for Get Real With Jen on Facebook!
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You’ll leave every episode with one doable step. And I’ll be sharing my current wins + challenges right there with you.
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