You can't start a journey without taking a step. But when it comes to weight loss, the more you have to lose, the more difficult it may be to feel motivated at the start.
"I think people who've never been overweight don't understand how intimidating it can be to start losing weight," says Louise Green, a trainer, fitness writer, and founder of Canada's Body Exchange exercise programs and retreats, which are designed for plus-sized clients. If this sounds like you, Green has this to say: "There’s a lot of fear surrounding fitness... But you're more capable then you assume."
Green and other experts have provided you with these tips
to get going when you have 50 or more pounds to lose:
1. Hide the bathroom scale
Weight loss is a slow process. Watching that number on the scale too closely can be depressing. If you are really set on losing a certain number of pounds in a certain period of time, missing that mark can be enough to just obliterate your motivation. "Some people are just born bigger, and they won't be able to lose a lot of weight without taking unhealthy, unsustainable measures when it comes to diet or exercise," Green adds. Because of this, Green says that losing weight should be a secondary benefit to your healthy lifestyle and not the main goal.
2. That's right: focus on your health
Michelle Steinke, founder of One Fit Widow recommends that you focus on how you feel. After the death of her husband, Steinke lost 80 pounds. When you're active, you'll have more energy and feel better about yourself. "Enjoy the sensations of being active and strong," Green says. Don't treat exercise like some bootcamp hellish nightmare, have fun with it. For over 80 hours of fun, on demand, workout options, check out SweatFlix℠
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3. Drink more water
If you set the bar too high, you're opening yourself up to failure. Dyan Tsiumis, founder of GET FIERCE Training in New York, who lost 70 pounds, says, "I often have my clients start by drinking two liters of water every day for a month. They're amazed at how good they feel." Give yourself a modest target and then you will avoid burnout and the disappointment of not meeting your goal.
4. Find your happy place
"If you aren’t comfortable with your workout space, you won't exercise," Tsiumis says. And Green says that feeling comfortable with your trainer is just as important. "Trainers who aren't used to working with overweight clients will often recommend exercise or programs that aren't right for their clients' bodies, and can even be painful," she says. Working out at home or going for walks in your neighbourhood may relieve some of the anxiety that might pop up over going to a gym. Finding a workout buddy or an online support community is also a great way to stay motivated.
5. Make a plan
If you schedule things in advance, you'll be more likely to stick to it. "Start every day or every week by putting your schedule in order, and make training or exercise a non-negotiable part of that schedule," Steinke says. "I have an alarm that goes off three times a day," Tsiumis says. "They're reminders for those times when I know I'll need them—when I'm hungry and might slip, or tired and might skip a workout, or I just need a little inspiration."
6. Walk, don't run
"Walking is the number one exercise if you're overweight," Green says. "Running can hurt, but walking isn't jarring or tough on joints." How hard is it to find time to walk for 20 minutes a few times a week? "We tend to think that exercise has to be extreme to be effective, but that's not true," Green adds. "Just a little extra walking every day can have a huge benefit, and can change people's lives."
Have you lost over 50 pounds? How did you keep yourself motivated?