Tips From The Biggest Loser to Aid Your Fitness Journey
Going on a fitness journey is a tough road to travel. Roadblocks, challenges, temptations, self-doubt, old habits, mistakes — sometimes it seems like the whole world is against you. It's even harder if you don't have the right information.
These tips from The Biggest Loser have been used by people who’ve been through the show’s weight-loss process before, and they’re geared towards helping you succeed as you start on your own fitness journey.
Don't Watch Commercials
Taking a break to watch TV is fine, but you don't need to stay seated while there are commercials playing. When a commercial comes on, get up and walk around.
Start Meal Prepping
Usually, when you’re reaching for that unhealthy frozen meal, it’s because you’ve had a long day or are stressed and don’t feel like spending extra time cooking a full meal. Or, you might want to stop eating lunch out while you’re at work. With meal prep, these problems are solved.
Find Your Personal Mantra
Have a go-to phrase when the going gets tough. This should be something inspiring to rekindle your motivation and remind you why you’re working to change for the better.
Keep an Eye Out for Hidden Sugar
A lot of foods seem healthy, but they’re actually full of sugar. This is especially true with cereals and "health bars" or products labeled "low fat." They’re full of sugar to make up for the flavor they lack when they’re missing other nutrients like fat and protein.
Make Your Social Media Feed Motivational
There are tons of fitness influencers to follow on just about every social media platform. Seeing these inspirational people on your feeds when you check social media can continue to motivate you to make choices every day that align with your goals.
Get a Fitness Buddy
You’re more likely to follow through with a fitness plan if you have someone there to hold you accountable. Yes, going for a run at 6 a.m. doesn’t sound like fun, but in this case a little guilt can be a great motivator. You don’t want to let down that friend you made exercise plans with, right?
Don't Step on the Scale Every Single Day
One of the biggest discouragements is not seeing quantitative progress for all of the doughnuts you dodged and workouts you completed. Your weight loss progress is probably not going to happen in a straight line, though. While weighing yourself every day is tempting, it’s not a very good idea. It can lead you to obsess over the numbers, and they’re not a holistic picture of your overall health.
Try a New Workout
Another roadblock that people on a fitness journey might face is boredom. Doing the same workout routine day after day isn’t good for you because your body can adapt. Your progress might start to stall.
Keep Track of Your Wins
Whether you keep a full-on diary/journal or just a list, make sure you’re keeping track of all of the times that you won when it came to sticking to your health and fitness goals. Make a note every time you resist the urge to eat something unhealthy and instead eat fruit or veggies. Give yourself credit when you feel too tired to work out but do it anyway.
Do the "Must Dos" First
Of course you want to veg out and watch your favorite TV show. But that’s not a priority right now. Do the things that must get done (like your meal prepping and your workout of the day) first so they’re over and done with. You won’t have these tasks weighing on your mind for the rest of the day.
Sometimes "I want to get fit" is just too broad of a goal to have, and it's not too helpful if you don't have any visual cues to motivate yourself to see what exactly you’re working towards.
A lot of us sit all day long at our jobs. Even when you’re working out every day, prolonged sitting isn’t good for you. If you can, try standing while you work. Or, get an exercise ball to sit on instead of your chair so while you’re sitting, your legs are working to keep you balanced.
Try the "Top of the Hour" Workout Challenge
The challenge here is to do a short exercise for one minute of every hour. So, every time the big hand hits the 12, try doing 10 sit-ups or holding a plank for 20 seconds and then doing 15 push-ups. You don’t have to follow that routine exactly. But the goal is to do something simple that, when added up over the entire day, essentially is a bonus workout.
Have a Contest With Your Grocery Cart
While it's not necessary to fill your shopping cart with vegetables, challenge yourself to buy more fresh foods than packaged foods every time you go grocery shopping. Keep a running tally of how many fresh fruits and vegetables you have versus how many packaged foods you’re purchasing.
Use Smaller Plates
Sometimes, we get fooled into eating more because our plates are so big and we think we need to clear them. Using a smaller plate can trick your brain into thinking you’re eating more food than you actually are consuming.
Change Just One Thing at a Time
Often, when people decide they want to change their habits, they tend to try and tackle all of them at once. This is an unsustainable tactic that can leave you feeling overwhelmed and discouraged when you can't stick with every new habit in one day.
Don't Dwell on Your Mistakes
While it's not fun to make a mistake, it's not good for you to dwell on that mistake and get even more discouraged, either. Humans make mistakes. It’s inevitable that you’ll have setbacks or make choices you’re not totally proud of. That’s why it's good to prepare yourself to deal with these situations.
Recognize False Hunger
Sometimes when we feel hungry, we actually aren't. First, make sure you’re well-hydrated. The feeling of being hungry or fatigued is sometimes due to dehydration. Next, check in with your feelings. Are you stressed? Upset? Angry?
Be Honest With Yourself
Whether you made a mistake or overestimated your ability, it’s important to be honest with yourself throughout your fitness journey. Ignoring warning signs is only going to hurt you in the end.
Try Interval Training
Interval training is one of the most effective calorie-burning workouts you can do. That doesn’t mean that you must only do interval workouts, but try to do at least one interval workout per week. This type of workout involves doing intervals of several different activities during a set period instead of just doing one thing, like walking on a treadmill for 20 minutes.
Take on a Challenge or Set a Goal
Having a goal or challenge to work on is another great motivational tool. Set a goal like fitting into your old favorite pair of jeans. Or, take on a challenge like training for a half marathon.
Whether they’re motivational quotes or pictures of what you’re working towards, little reminders can go a long way. Place progress pictures on the wall next to the mirror in your bathroom, or place some pictures of outfits you want to wear in your closet.
Give Yourself Some Love
Taking care of your body means taking care of your mind, too, so treat yourself at least once a week. Have a spa day, take yourself out to lunch, take a bath... Do whatever it is that makes you feel refreshed and pampered.
Try the Candy Bar Challenge
Pull out a candy bar and split it in half so you can see the deliciousness that’s inside. Then, take the candy bar and put it on the table in front of you. Your goal is to resist the urge to eat the candy bar.
You might be thinking this sounds cheesy, but it will make you feel fantastic! When you find yourself doing something well, take the time to compliment yourself on your performance.
Be Aware of Your Movement Throughout the Day
If you don't have a special watch or fitness tracker to keep tabs on how many steps you take during the day, just use your phone. The health apps that are built into most smartphones have step trackers. Keep a log of how many steps you take each day, and try to take at least 5,000 daily (or more!).
Avoid White Foods
Eating properly is all about balance, but there are some foods that you should try to avoid when possible. Those foods are usually white in color and contain lots of sugars and carbs. They include white rice, white bread, pasta, crackers and most cereals.
Make Promises to Yourself — and Keep Them
When you promise yourself something, you’re assuring yourself that you’ll take care of your body and mind. Promising yourself that you’re going to make the right decisions can motivate you to actually make those right decisions. But make realistic promises to yourself, or else the effects will be the opposite: You could get discouraged.
Make Your Lunch Break Worthwhile
If you’re going out for lunch, try to make yourself work for it. On one episode of The Biggest Loser, the contestants had to walk a few miles to a sandwich shop to eat half a sandwich and then walk a few more miles to another shop to get to eat the second half of the sandwich.
Break the Fast Food Habit
If none of these other tips sound like a starting point for you just yet, try to challenge yourself to only do one: cut out all fast food. The meals at fast food locations are sometimes not really even food. They’re high in calories, preservatives, sodium — you name it.