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Friday, March 23, 2012

Fit Friday - You Gotta Have A Plan!

I'm learning that it's not enough to say "I'll lose weight" or "I'll exercise more."  Those are great resolutions, but with no execution of the resolution you've got no solution.  Enter - a plan!

More than half Most Almost all of what I write here is encouragement for me.  I'm certainly not in a position to be speaking from a place of knowledge.  Having said that, a plan is in order - for me or whoever wants to be successful in getting healthier.

It takes 3 weeks or more to develop a habit.  Until then, you probably need a strong routine.  For exercising, it means scheduling a specific time each day during the upcoming week when you will exercise.  In fact, you should also plan exactly what exercise you will do.  Hopefully, after the 3 weeks of the routine, you will be in a place where you will know when and how to exercise regularly.  I'm still waiting for that to happen.

With weight loss for me, it's all about accountability.  I need to weigh myself every day at the same time.  I know many people strongly discourage that, but for me, if I don't do it every day I won't understand and recognize that the extra helping of mashed potatoes I ate yesterday resulted in the extra pound today.  It can also go the other way - that hour on the treadmill resulted in a bonus pound loss.

Most importantly, you need goals.  The long term goal of 30 pounds by next November is great, but how do you get from Point A to Point B?  How do you know if you're on track?  I recently sat down with a calendar and determined how much weight I wanted to lose.  I don't have a particular timeline - a class reunion, a wedding, whatever, so I don't have a specific date that I need the weight gone.  I do know that I wanted to take a slow, sensible approach (especially after a stint on HcG).  I figured that for the first half of my weight loss I could do a rate of 2 pounds per week (which is pretty ambitious over time), but the second half I would do at 1 pound per week.  I figured out how long it would take me and marked the ultimate deadline on my calendar.  Then, I wrote the goal weight for each week on the calendar.  Now instead of thinking that 6 months is a long way off, I know I need to lose 2 pounds before next Tuesday.  Every "Tuesday" I plan to mark down my actual weight under the goal weight for that week.  If I'm ahead (I lost 3 pounds instead of 2 this week), I just got a cushion!

The same is true with exercise.  (I'm really paying attention to my own advice here.)  Identify the days this week you will go to the gym and the time.  Initially don't worry about what you do there or how long - just GET THERE.  Later you can set the goal for time and exercises you will do each time.  Finally, you can just identify the number of hours per week you need to exercise - how much cardio and how much strength training.

Wow, I have a lot of work to do.  Get out that calendar and get a plan!

Don't forget to check out the Fit Club every Monday for more inspiration.