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                      The days get warmer, people start wearing t-shirts, and slowly, collectively, millions of us start to look in the mirror with a critical eye and then we tell ourselves, “I need to go on a crash diet, summer is here!

Every year as one, we start to envision ourselves at the beach, strutting along the sand, looking taut, trim and terrific, glistening pecs and abdominals, the envy of every other person that didn’t have the willpower that you have to get fit.

Welcome to diet season, arguably the busiest time of the year for fitness coaches and gyms everywhere around the world!

But is it good for us, really, this collective dismay over body shape and size?

Spring is a wonderful thing, and there’s nothing wrong with wanting to get fit for summer, but it’s important to be doing it for the right reasons, otherwise your chances of success diminish considerably.

Let’s face it, you did same thing last year right? Got all excited about the potential of your new body?

So what are you seeking to accomplish or tackle regarding your self-image?

Let’s go over it quickly, take an objective look, and see whether we can’t get you on the right track, for the right reasons, and maybe we’ll even get some long term results!

1.  You didn’t get here overnight.

It’s taken you years to get here. Fat doesn’t just ‘pack on’ overnight. You’ll have slowly but surely eaten 100 – 500 extra calories a day (equating to roughly 8-45 grams) and slowly, month by month, those kilos or pounds would have silently been gathering on your body as fatty or adipose tissue.

As nice as it would be to wish otherwise, but you’re going to lose fat the same way.

Yes, exercise will speed up the process somewhat, but ultimately it should take at least a year to lose 10 – 20 kilos if you’re losing weight in a healthy way.

Crash dieting is bad for you, and has a host of dangerous and not so dangerous side effects, such as organ failure, heart attack, acne, loose skin and the like, and is unnecessary.

After all, what’s the rush? You’ve been like this for a while, why not sit back and enjoy the journey of getting healthier?

So gear up for the long race, and not the short race, and make sure that you give yourself realistic expectations.

2.  A beautiful body should be the by-product, not the goal.

Do you remember why you looked so much better when you were younger? Because it was effortless, right?

After all, it’s not like you consciously said to yourself “I want to pack on excessive weight. Sometimes it just happens and before you know it , “wow”, I really need to do something about my physique.

When you were young, chances are you moved around a lot more, and did regular exercise with friends, even if that was just walking around.

You were probably more energetic! And then again, your lifestyle and job may have been some contributing factors in your present physical condition.

Less responsibilities meant that overall you had less stress in your life and so you were more relaxed, and just plain got more out of life.

And as a result of this relatively relaxed, healthy lifestyle, you looked great!

And that’s my point here. Looking great should be the by-product of a healthy, fit and mentally relaxed and refreshed you.

Yes, it’ll be great to look in the mirror and see a flat stomach, but wouldn’t it also be great if that flat stomach came accompanied by boundless energy and joy each day?

That’s the goal. And as you work towards it, you’ll not just feel better, you’ll look better, and as your outlook improves, chances are you’ll be more motivated and successful in everything you do.

That’s the power of a healthy body and mind!

3.  Be kind to yourself, but firm too.

Once we’ve acknowledged that we didn’t get here overnight, and that the goal is to be healthy and fit to increase our energy levels, two things become very important.

The first is that you shouldn’t go into any heavy soul searching as to how you ended up here in the first place.

Don’t worry about it! You’re here, that’s the fact, and you’re now setting yourself a goal to move to a new destination, which is a healthier life.

Looking back and agonizing over all of the Snickers bars that you now wished you hadn’t eaten won’t help at all, it’ll just demotivate you, and let’s face it, you enjoyed it at the time, so acknowledge that, and be fine with it!

That said, the second is that you now need to create a plan, a realistic plan, and stick with it.

This plan should acknowledge where you’re starting from, and where you want to go. It should involve setting realistic targets and milestones, with rewards along the way that you’ll be motivated to work towards.

4.  It can really help to be accountable to someone.

Losing weight and getting fit, or indeed any long term endeavor, can be difficult to stay on track for.

It’s not that you’re necessarily weak minded, it’s just that you’re adding this new goal as an extra ‘layer’ over your current life, and it’s very easy for that current life to ‘swallow’ up your goals and devour them whole.

Work, kids, money, responsibilities that you love having, but that are all very demanding!

That’s where a professional certified coach who has an understanding and knowledgebase in the areas of weight and stress management. You have (in me) also a trained social worker who in addition understands the complexities of human behavior and life in general.

 

If getting healthy and having more energy and focus in your life (and as a by-product looking great as well) is a real goal then you’ll want to achieve it, and the best way to do that is to be held accountable by someone for your new pre-conceived future.

Each week we’ll talk about your short term goals for that week, whether you achieved them and what the game plan should be for next week.

I’ll support and push you when things get difficult and you need a mental hand to lift you back up. And that will happen, believe it! I will listen with and for you along the way.

And slowly but surely, day by day, month by month, you’ll start to feel better, stronger, healthier and full of energy. A consultation awaits you because I want you happy and healthy no matter what season it is! The total package is what I’m referring to here: your body, mind, and ego.

Curt Canada, Board Certified Coach advises and coaches clients in Washington DC at Adapting2change, a DC Chamber of Commerce Member.