The steeper the mountain, the more difficult the first step is. And if you’re carrying a lot of extra weight, taking that first step toward a healthier lifestyle can be especially daunting.
Without further ado, here are the best ways to get motivated and get started for those looking to lose 50 pounds or more.
1. Hide your bathroom scale.
Getting the weight off—and keeping it off—is a slow process. Watching the number on a scale can be depressing. Plus, if you're focused on losing a set number of pounds in a specific amount of time, missing that goal can wreck 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. For those reasons losing weight should be a secondary benefit to your overall health gains—not your primary goal.
2. That’s right: Focus on your health.
Train your attention on how you feel. When you're physically active, you have more energy and you feel better about yourself. Enjoy the sensations of being active and strong. Instead of feeling like you're suffering through some kind of weight-loss boot camp, you'll actually relish the time you spend exercising.
3. Drink more water.
If you set the bar too high, you're setting yourself up for failure. But rather than gulping a scary amount, start by drinking two liters of water every day for a month. By starting with modest goals, you can avoid the pitfalls of burnout or the debilitating repercussions of missing your targets.
4. Find your happy place.
If you aren’t comfortable with your workout space, you won't exercise. 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. In the beginning, exercising at home or walking in your neighborhood may remove some of the anxiety of working out in a typical gym setting. Finding a workout buddy or a support community online is another great way to make exercise more inviting.
5. Make a plan.
Scheduling your day ahead of time makes it easier to stick to your goals. Start every day or every week by putting your schedule in order, and make training or exercise a non-negotiable part of that schedule.
6. Walk, don't run.
Walking is the number one exercise if you're overweight. Running can hurt, but walking isn't jarring or tough on joints. Also, almost anyone can find time for 20 minutes of walking a few days a week—making that a great starting point when you're trying to adopt a healthier lifestyle. We tend to think that exercise has to be extreme to be effective, but that's not true. Just a little extra walking every day can have a huge benefit, and can change people's lives.
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