You lived through fiscal cliff, but are you dropping off the fitness cliff? Gold’s Gym did a study to see how long new gym membership sign ups lasted after New Year’s Eve and tracked the biggest drop off in attendance to February 7th, which they deemed Fitness Cliff Day.
Why the sudden lack of interest in getting fit after just 38 days of a lifestyle change? Belisa Vranich, PsyD, a clinical psychologist and author explains, “A lot of people have a mindset where they think, ‘Well, I just went through this 30-day ordeal, and now it’s not working.'”
Vranich makes a good point. We’re surrounded every day by tempting foods and exhaustive schedules. Takeout is a lot more convenient than cooking healthy, and watching TV on the couch sounds much more appealing than an hour huffing and puffing on the treadmill after a long day at work.
Vranich cautions that permanent changes take more time to stick with and recommends these four tips to keep you making healthy choices all year long.
1. You Need to Eat!
If you want to lose weight, you may think limiting your food intake is one way to start. But there’s a difference between cutting back and cutting off. Vranich says when you starve yourself you’re more inclined to make poor food choices and binge on high-calorie foods. She suggests packing nutritious snacks for work like almonds, Greek yogurt, string cheese, and fruit. If you’re going to be on the road for several hours, pack foods that travel well like protein bars, apples, beef jerky, and plenty of water.
2. Have a Backup Plan
There are roadblocks to every carefully thought-out plan of action, and don’t let anyone tell you differently! The trick is to have a backup. Maybe you wanted to take your workout outdoors but it rains instead. Head to the nearest gym or an outdoor venue with an overhang and you can do some circuit training. Your favorite healthy restaurant dish has been discontinued? We hate that! Discuss possible variations of it with your server and see what the chef can whip up for you.
3. Use Control Words
There are certain words that can trigger a resolution relapse like “I can’t” or “I deserve.” If you feel deprived from something you’re more likely to overindulge. Try re-framing your word choices. “I don’t eat donuts because they don’t keep me full until lunch.” Or “I can always go back for seconds if I’m still hungry.” The control is always with you just give yourself permission to say “no,” or “not now.”
4. Make Exercise a Treat
If you dread something you’re not going to stick with it long-term. Choose something you’ll look forward to doing every day. Vranich says be realistic about your limits and your schedule. If you’re not an early riser, a 5:30am boot camp class probably isn’t your best option. But a noon cycling class may be just the ticket to getting through the day. Buddy up with a neighbor, friend, or co-worker to socialize at the same time.