How to Stay Motivated With Your Fitness and Weight Loss Goals

by - January 10, 2009

Tips from Oprah's trainer , Fitness Guru - Bob Greene

1. Ease Into Weight Loss

When most people decide to lose weight, they typically go cold turkey on the Chunky Monkey and chips and dive right into a Spartan menu highlighting vegetables and cottage cheese, determined to do an overnight overhaul of their diet.

Wrong approach, Greene says. Gradual is better. "Don't radically change your entire diet overnight," Greene says. Phase in healthier foods a little at a time.

"Don't give up all your comfort foods at once, and don't look at snacks as foods that get you into trouble," Greene says. Eating right can and should include snacks, he says. "Snacks are effective weight loss tools. They bridge hunger and help you not to overdo it at a meal."

2. Skip the Scale

It's a knee-jerk reaction. You've been on a diet for oh, 24 hours, and you're eager to see your progress. Of course, you'll weigh in.

Think again, Greene says. "Stay off the scale for the first month to six weeks," Greene suggests. This will be a challenge, he knows, for most people, who can't wait to see the pounds drop off quickly.

But the scale actually gives you a somewhat inaccurate idea of what is going on -- you may have lost water weight only, for instance, or you may get discouraged if the downward slide is not as great as you hoped for.

If you are dying for feedback on how your weight loss goals are shaping up, focus on how your clothes fit, Greene suggests.

3. Shift the Diet Focus

"Instead of focusing on cutting calories [only], which drops your metabolism, focus more on activity levels," Greene says. "It's the bigger of the two." Activity burns calories. Exercise such as weight training also builds lean muscle, boosting your metabolism long-term. So it offers a short-term and long-term advantage to meeting your fitness goals and your weight loss goals, Greene says.

Although many people plan to diet first, then incorporate exercise, Greene says if you have to do them one at a time, try making exercise a habit first, then focus on cutting calories.

4. Make Your Workout a Meditation

It's easily done, Greene says, just by listening to great music when you walk or jog, for instance. If you are on a treadmill, watch a show you enjoy.

Find an exercise that takes your mind off the exercise, such as being in a beautiful outdoor setting. "When Oprah and I meet in Hawaii and we are hiking, it's hard work going up the mountain but it's joyful," he says.

5. Build Exercise Into Your Life Creatively

One of Greene's business partners built a desk on his treadmill, taking phone calls and working while he works out. "He's writing, he is making his marketing calls, and he is on the treadmill," Greene says.

Greene adapted the idea himself. "I was training for a cross country ride, and had the phone by my indoor bike," he says.

Those examples are extreme, Greene says, but it can get you thinking about weaving exercise in when you have even a few spare minutes throughout the day. The more you do that, the more you can expect to meet your fitness goals.

6. Focus on the Outcome

Focus on how you know you will feel when you're done with your workout. "Everybody loves exercise when it's done," Greene says with a laugh.

"Focus on the effects," he says. He doesn't just mean tighter muscles or flatter abs. "I've never had anybody say they don't feel better, sleep better, after exercising," he says.

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