“It’s a Lifestyle, Not a Life Sentence!” 

1- Practice “positive self talk”. Whether your fitness goal is to lose weight, improve your health or improve your athletic performance, be aware of your attitude about yourself, your fitness goals and what is possible. Use positive affirmations like, “I can do it.”, “I love how I feel when I exercise.”, or “I like my body more and more each day.” Be kind to yourself. Remember, “To think is to create.”

2- Stop “diet mentality”. When a client talks to me about being on or off a diet, I remind them that eating healthy is a lifestyle change, not something we go in and out of. Being on or off a diet suggests that one has not absorbed the concept of a lifestyle change. In the dictionary, the word “diet” means, a way of eating. We, at Freedom of Fitness, suggest that your “way of eating” be  healthy, most of the time, not a diet that changes dramatically from one extreme to the other.

3- Lose weight for the right reasons. Your spouse is constantly nagging you about your weight. You want to impress the new guy at work. Your mother is always reminding you of what a nice figure you used to have. There are plenty of things that motivate us to lose weight. However, before you start a weight-loss program you have to want to do it for yourself. If you’re trying to shed those extra pounds for someone else, you may not be able to stay the course. Look within yourself and realize that losing weight is going to lead to better overall health and improve your quality of life.

4- Focus on the journey, not just the destination. Health & fitness is a lifestyle.  Once you establish your goals, make it fun. Smile! Enjoy the journey! Choose foods and exercise that you like so that you are more likely to be consistent. Don’t make this incredible opportunity to be healthier, leaner and more vibrant be ruined with “Die” with a “T” attitude.

5- Avoid being a victim in your own life! Since the world is not always set up to accommodate our perfect food needs, it is best to be prepared. Cook in bulk, think ahead and plan your eating & exercise day (or week). If you eat donuts off ofNancy’s desk at work, it is not her fault! This may have been your solution, at the time. Maybe you didn’t eat breakfast. Instead of playing the victim or taking out that “guilt hammer”, accept responsibility for your behavior, learn from it and move forward.

6- Here’s an easy way to deal with challenges & obstacles. When you encounter a challenge or obstacle that interferes with following your exercise or nutrition program, all you have to do is “get back on track”, as soon as possible. Consistency is key! There is no need to do extra cardio if you gave yourself permission to have a small piece of cake at a birthday party or made a poor food choice. What is in the past stays in the past. Focus on what you can do now to move towards your goal.

7- Treating vs. cheating is the way to go! Cheating has a negative ring to it while treating does not. If you want to deviate from your nutrition program, because it is a special occasion, give yourself permission first, quantify the treat, and enjoy it thoroughly with no guilt, then get back on track at your next meal with healthy food choices. Obviously, treats are not everyday, especially if the goal is weight loss! Be reasonable with how frequent you “treat” (not “cheat”).

8- Avoid commercial diets! With all the infomercials, diet books, and media hype about the latest diet, it is no wonder that people are confused about how to eat. Some of my new clients tell me about their experiences with five or six commercial diets before we even begin. With all of the myth-information out there, it can be challenging to get individuals to open their minds to a healthy, lifestyle approach. If the past diets were successful, the weight would stay off, you would feel energized and you would be healthy. Most commercial diets leave people with short term success only, lowered energy, nutrient deficiencies, and often, poor health. Open your mind! Be coach-able!

Sandra Blackie is a CPT (A.F.A.A.) and Sports Nutritionist (N.A.S.N.) and owner of Freedom of Fitness, San Diego. For more information about Sandra’s products & services, visit www.freedomoffitness.com

Be sure to check out her new DVD, “Feel the Freedom of Fitness: 10 Steps to Living Lean & Serene”.