It’s back to school time. And for many of us, that also means back to a routine (which is like music to the ears for some, and fingernails on a chalkboard for others). Many people thrive on a routine, while others seem to abhor one and prefer a rather free and spontaneous approach to life. To each his (or her) own. But believe it or not, a routine can be a very beneficial part of life. Think about parenting, and how helpful it can be to keep your children on a set schedule: set meal times, set bed times (which are helpful for adults too, not just children). Or how about the increase in productivity most people seem to experience when they carefully plan out and follow a routine? Sure routines can be taken too far and result in staleness or a lack of spontaneity in life, but in general they can a be a great thing.
And this is no less true when it comes to weight loss. Weight loss and the journey to a better, healthier you is not an easy task; few people can simply “wing it,” and be successful. For the average person, when it comes to weight loss and healthy living, careful planning and commitment to a routine can mean the difference between long-term success and a sporadic, unsuccessful, and frustrating attempt. So let’s think for a moment about some different helpful routines.
- Water: Water is essential for life. Your body is made up primarily of water. Drinking your daily recommended amount of water (64-100 oz.) is important, but few actually regularly do this. Most, when they are thirsty, opt for a bottle of their favorite soda, or a can of their preferred energy drink. And how convenient this is! Most restaurants are equipped with numerous soda options from the soda fountain; some even have those super-soda fountains with all the different flavors to add in. Gas stations usually have entire walls designated to soda choices. If you are going to overcome the convenience of drinking your calories each day, you will have to plan. So develop a routine. Get a giant bottle (or numerous smaller ones for those worried about tackiness), and each morning, before you leave the house, fill those up to take with you. Even better, fill them the night before so they can chill in the fridge overnight. Then botta-bing, botta-boom–you have your water for the day.
- Food: Food is much the same as water. Without adequate planning, you will find yourself out and about, and all of a sudden it’s meal time and you are hungry. What are the options? Very little that is any good for your health. So the better option would be to plan. Most of us don’t have time to cook a meal every day. So plan a couple of days each week that you can set aside an hour or so to cook a nice, healthy meal. Cook enough to last a few days. Then immediately portion it out into individual meals, each in its own container, and refrigerate or freeze accordingly. Then you have your meals for the next day or so, and you don’t have to be caught off guard and settle for fast food.
- Exercise/Activity: Many people understand the benefit of having a set regiment when it comes time to exercise. Do 20 sit-ups, then 20 push-ups, then run one mile. However, it’s not only helpful to have a routine within the workout session, but for the workout session itself to be part of a routine. Exercise, like so many things in life, is one of those things that everyone needs, but few enjoy. And it is those type of things that routines are so helpful with. So set yourself on a schedule. Pick certain times and days that are most convenient for you, and set those times aside expressly for exercise. Don’t plan other things in those time slots! This is also when joining some type of regularly occurring workout class can be helpful, be it Zumba, yoga, martial arts, or whatever else you would enjoy. This gives you certain times to exercise that become part of your regular weekly routine.
- LetsLose visits: Last, but not least (you knew it was coming), here at LetsLose we stress the importance of regularly, weekly visits–even if it is just to weigh in! The sense of accountability created each week by knowing that you are going to have to come in and step on that scale can go a long way when trying to make serious lifestyle changes between visits. Also, on a more positive note, the feeling of success each week as you see those pounds shed off one by one, week after week, can be a much needed encouragement along the long journey to health. So come on in. Come see our staff and let us serve you and help you in any way we can along the way. Long journeys are best taken with company.
As we all move out of the freedom and spontaneity of summer and into the routine of fall, let us together develop good habits and good routines that will help us arrive at the place of health we desire to be.