Sheila Olson of fitsheila.com
Approximately 45 million Americans go on a diet each year, yet two-thirds remain obese. One of the reasons behind this epidemic is the fact that people get lured into trying a fad diet — sometimes more than once — that promises to torch calories and melt fat without changing your diet or hitting the gym. As the saying goes, slow and steady wins the race, and that means losing weight the safe way with a combination of diet, exercise, and wellness-focused discipline.
Address Mental Health
Mental illnesses such as binge eating disorder, night eating syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and depression should be treated in conjunction with a diet and exercise program. Studies indicate that there’s a link between mental health and obesity — depression can prompt obesity, and obesity can prompt depression. Along with focusing on losing weight and learning that food is for survival and not comfort, it’s crucial that underlying mental health issues are addressed in order to break the vicious cycle.
Manage Your Stress
Stress-related, mindless eating involves consuming food — sometimes in a large amount — even when you’re not hungry. Approximately 27 percent of adults in the US admit that eating is a form of stress management, while 34 percent say eating unhealthy foods due to stress is a habit. Not only do these actions create feelings of guilt and shame, but they also make it impossible to lose weight and keep it off. While seeing a therapist can help you manage your feelings, there are several wellness-based approaches you can take to manage your stress levels.
Make it Convenient to Work Out
Not having time is one of the biggest excuses people use to avoid working out. Make that excuse next to impossible by setting up a home gym equipped with cost-effective equipment, like adjustable resistance bands, a Swiss ball, and kettlebells. Check out local resale shops or online websites that sell previously-used goods to see if you can find these items at a lower cost. Instead of paying for an expensive gym membership, bring the instructor into your living room by downloading a workout app to help you with form, safety, and motivation.
Make Healthy Eating Fun
The words “balanced” and “diet” need not feel like a punishment. In fact, you can create endless combinations of tasty dishes and snacks utilizing healthy ingredients that don’t taste like rabbit food. Take up a cooking course, or scour YouTube for ideas. The more variety you have in your diet, the less apt you’ll be to slip.
To ensure safety, be sure to consult your doctor before starting any diet or exercise plan. This is particularly important if you have any underlying medical conditions where overexertion or food restriction may have a counter effect on your wellness. Remember, don’t beat yourself up if you have a slip up. Not only is it normal, but it can help you become stronger for the long term.
Without question, during a busy week squeezing in a workout can be a real challenge. Then factor in travel or needing to quarantine and it can feel like you're suddenly in a boat without a paddle. Here are nine quick tips I've learned over the years as well as some thoughts on how to succeed if you're trying to workout on the road or have to quarantine.
1. Make it a Priority
This is perhaps the most important piece. Write it in your planner or scheduler. If you have your heart and mind set on the fact that you’re going to get your workout in for the day, it will happen.
In a way it is like making time to eat. There are many ways to feed your body outside of actual food, movement is one of the things that your body craves, especially when it's either been cooped up in an airplane or in your quarantine space for hours upon hours.
Movement feeds us both by addition and subtraction. We add the things we want - strength, endurance, flexibility, energy - and a subtract the things we don't want - stress, anxiety, insomnia, jet lag, and so forth.
2. Know Your Schedule Ahead of Time
Know your itinerary for the trip, or your at home work schedule and life. This will make it easier to know when you can realistically fit in that workout.
Planning your workout into your day makes it harder to come up with an excuse not to do it. Consider it like scheduling a meeting, but with yourself.
3. Run a 5 Minute Search
Travel: while waiting for your flight, instead of burning time on social media, see what’s in the area you'll be staying. Does the hotel have a gym? Is there a better gym close by? Are there any green spaces?
See if there’s an image of your hotel’s fitness center online. Personally, I am not super fond of hotel fitness centers, so if there is a gym within driving or running distance get a day pass there.
Some gyms will even let your first few visits be free and you end up not having to pay a dime!
Quarantine: what type of odd objects do you have around your home? Is anyone selling equipment on Facebook Marketplace? Is the local Wal-Mart style store back in stock with weight equipment?
You don't need much, so find something that can be multi-purpose.
4. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Be a grape, not a raisin. If you are dehydrated like a raisin, you will feel more tired not to mention staying hydrated also makes you less susceptible to cold and flu germs, and who doesn't want a kick ass immune system right now?!
Travel: light headedness, fatigue, and joint and muscle stiffness can all be attributed to not getting enough water; thus, say no to that cranberry juice and yes to a cup of water on the plane.
Drink at least another 8-12 ounces as soon as you can once you arrive at the airport. A good general rule of thumb would be to drink 250ml of water for every hour flying.
Quarantine: make a concentrated effort to drink at least one glass of water between meals and a glass of water with your meal.
5. Prepare Your Snacks
6. Sign Up Online
Travel: many gyms will cater to potential new members by offering free day or even week passes.
On a recent trip to Seattle, there was an LA Fitness down from where I was staying. I simply signed up online and was given a 5 day guest pass that I could scan at the door.
No paperwork, no loop holes, just scan and go in.
Quarantine: there are countless online workout options out there for you. Structure and routine are absolutely key in long-term success, which are worth investing in. I will take this opportunity to shamelessly promote my own if you feel like taking that next step.
7. Intensity & Variation Over Monostructural Duration
Monostructural duration style workouts are long steady state style workouts such as running, rowing, biking, etc, which are FINE if you love that or want to throw it in every now and then. However, in my experience, variation is the spice of life not only for your mind, but your body as well.
Keep things interesting by constantly mixing up what you do. If you need ideas or want to follow one of the workouts that show up on my whiteboard, check out the Workout of the Week.
8. Accountability Buddy
If you are traveling or quarantining alone, tell your significant other you plan to workout and have them follow up with you on whether or not you did it or not. Or you could download any goal tracking app to help you stay on track.
Either of these accountability options can be powerful motivators for some people. For the lucky ones, maybe you travel with a business partner who is also interested in getting in a workout or two on the road. Use your resources!
9. Make Use of Green Space
Finally, you don't need a gym to get in an awesome workout and you certainly should not just stay in your house the entire two weeks of quarantine.
Go to an outdoor space where you can stay away from other people.
Bring your own jump rope with you, they can be used anywhere and really diversity your workout. Rouge has some really great options for a higher end jump rope, while Bemaxx has an affordable style that works great as well.
Given that the weather is to your liking, find a green space (i.e. a park, field, etc.), and do a workout outside! Too much inside air can make you crazy.