STEP ONE: Give Yourself a Reason to Make a Lifestyle Change - Make It Important and Attainable
First things first. Never ever use the "d" word - make a permanent lifestyle change.
As the New Year approached, I found myself cringing every time the "exercise gurus" and weight loss junkies hit the TV with their difficult diet changes and excessive workouts. In addition, their goal always seemed to be weight loss, weight loss, weight loss. Now I know weight loss is critical to improving your health but there are other goals that you can measure more quickly and may be more attainable or important to you in the beginning. And that's the key...the beginning... Make your initial goals more attainable so that you don't give up. Let's face it. We are people and while many of us like a challenge, if the challenge is constant, too time consuming, and too difficult, we will not prevail.
My goal in the beginning had absolutely nothing to do with weight loss and I've lost 23 pounds by default. True story. My goals were to get off of asthma medicine, get off of cholesterol medicine, and make sure I'm not any more crippled up than I need to be now and when I get older. The quick reward if I was successful - two less prescriptions. Not only did my goal hit my wallet but it improved my health by eliminating muscle pain from the statins (cholesterol medicine side effect) and eliminating temperament issues and breathing issues (yes breathing) caused by the asthma medicine. Moreover, if I can stay off of the cholesterol medicine, my liver isn't taking a beating and that's important for the future.
Make your goal important and something that will make some difference within two to three months. Most people would likely stick to a goal if it hits their wallet or means 20 more quality filled years in their life for either themselves or their families. If you have back issues, joint issues, fatigue, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, are always sick, etc., you have numerous possible great reasons to get started. Your goal may be as simple as feeling better. Great! I can assure you with some simple exercise and minor diet changes, you will feel better in short order. And the unexpected side effects will be abundant - weight loss, more quality time with family, less time home sick unable to do things, better mental health, etc.
Keep in mind that the "hardcore abs" guy may have an hour or two a day or the funds to do a complete overhaul of his life but odds are that you don't. Do not let these people or your family and friends discourage you (yes, that happens). You can start slow and small and get results. Make a goal and make it important.
I'll talk more about how I got started and what I still do daily in another post. You will be thoroughly surprised and encouraged!
Have a healthy and blessed day!