Step 1: Schedule It

The most difficult challenge to weight loss is also the first you will come across, actually doing something about it. You’ve taken the first steps to acknowledge that something needs to change. You’ve let that sit in the back of your mind as your muffin top slowly engulfed your waist line. You’ve finally heard and accepted as true the word “overweight”. You’ve convinced yourself that now is the time to finally do this! You’ve (tentatively) decided to take action! And now, you have no idea what to do next. Which brings me to step 1.

The single most important thing you can do at this point is to schedule in work-outs.

Let’s face it, telling yourself that you’re too busy, or that you’ll get to it, or you’ve had such a long day at the office and maybe tomorrow will be a better day, ends up with you on the couch watching Game of Thrones and cursing Daenerys for being so darned skinny while eating a whole bag of chips and lamenting the growth of your recently named gut, Georgeita. (Kudos to Serious Tom who first named his beer gut George.)

Now, I have set myself the rather enthusiastic goal of devoting 5 hours a week to fitness. According to the Canadian food guide recommendations, adults should be active a minimum of 2 and a half hours a week. So I figure if I want to counteract the 40+ hours a week I spend sitting in a cube and if I want to actually lose weight, I would need to overshoot that target.

I just don’t have any time.

This  is probably the most used excuse. And I will have none of that!

If you manage to schedule in time to binge-watch Orange is the New Black on Netflix, you can schedule in time to be active. Now, I am not asking for you to devote 2 hours a day, 7 days a week to “lose 30 pounds in 3 weeks while doing this ridiculously over energetic spandex-clad work-out video”. I am asking you to a) be realistic and b) don’t be so realistic as to not schedule in any time at all.

I’ve broken my days down into two main time frames, AM (before work) and PM (after work). To start things off, I’ve picked activities that I am most comfortable with, eg. activities that I have tried to do in the past with some measure of success. I’ve also kept my weekends free, because the last thing in the world I want to do is hit the gym instead of my sacred Sunday morning Starbucks.

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If you’re any good at math, you’ll notice that I’ve only scheduled in 4 hours a week. I’m all about baby steps, and want to give myself room to grow. And also room to fail. I don’t expect to be able to jump into this schedule full swing right away. I figure it will probably take a month or so before I actually manage to roll out of bed early enough every work day to roll out the yoga mat, but I’m all about setting goals that I can work towards. Take a look at what your weekly obligations are at the moment, and work around them to try and integrate something as seamlessly as possible.

If you are desperately struggling to find time in your days, I would also suggest that you reconsider sleep obligations. Most of us have been lead to believe that you should ideally hit 8 hours of sleep a night, but recent studies show that the ideal amount of sleep for adults is 7 hours. With that in mind, you might be able to find an extra hour a day to devote to sweating instead of sleeping. And if you find that your 5 hours of sleep a night pattern has suddenly been banished, you might want to reconsider how much time you spend a night in front of a screen. Sorry.

Finding a set schedule creates an obligation that would otherwise be lacking. Putting off workouts to tomorrow is no longer an acceptable excuse. Treat your scheduled in time like any other appointment you make, and try your best to stick to it. If possible, you can even set times to stick to in an attempt to keep things on track. And if you’re as OCD as I can be, you can even schedule out everything else in your life, including dinners, blogging, and time with the hubby. No really.

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