There's no better way to give yourself a post-winter boost than to get active in a way that doesn't feel like a burden. Grumbling your way to the gym every day will get old fast (trust us), so before you sabotage your fitness goals with a humdrum workout routine, do some experimenting. Try an outdoor boot camp at your local park (look for advertisements as the weather warms up, or look online for nearby options) or a new class at your gym, or sign up for a sport you love but haven't played in a while. The more fun working out feels, the more motivated you'll be to burn calories.
Now that it's (finally) nice out, you have the option of moving your fitness routine outdoors — an excellent way to keep things interesting. Whether you start walking to work every day, take up running or join a coed baseball league with a few friends, find a way to get some fresh air as you get fit. Being outdoors can often feel much less constricting than a gym, meaning you'll be more likely to feel better about whatever activity is on your workout schedule, be it playing tag with the kids, a game of touch football or having a yoga session on your deck.
Chances are you aren't the only one with springtime weight loss and fitness goals. Take a poll of friends and family whom you could see yourself working out with, and find out who else wants to get active. Working out with a friend even once a week can go a long way toward keeping you on track. Decide on a weekly fitness class to attend together, meet up for a morning run, or go halves on a series of personal training sessions. Having a friend with similar goals to turn to for support can help keep you going when you start to lose motivation.
Getting to the gym and finding new ways to stay active are important, but burning extra calories isn't the only factor at play when it comes to spring weight loss. What you eat (or don't eat) is equally important. If you want to put the focus on healthy eating, you need to take a closer look at what's inside your cupboards. Make a pile of anything that won't help your weight loss goals, such as snack cakes and packaged cookies, anything made from white flour, sodium-packed canned soups and processed goods, and anything you'll be tempted to eat an entire bag of. Replace the no-go items with healthier alternatives: whole-wheat pasta for white, quinoa for white rice, homemade granola for prepackaged cereals, etc.
Choose quality over quantity when it comes to treats. If you're really craving chocolate, forgo a Snickers bar for a couple of gourmet truffles from a specialty food shop or two squares of high-quality dark chocolate. You'll eat less but enjoy yourself more.
Once you've cleaned out your cupboards, it's time to turn to the fridge. What's in there? Can you make a half-decent salad (meaning a bowl of more than just lettuce) with the contents? If not, get shopping. The more your meals focus on fresh, colourful ingredients, the healthier and more conducive to weight loss they'll be. Find out when your local farmers market opens, and start trying out new recipes based on whatever's freshest when you go.
Setting a fitness goal for yourself is a great way to take your weight loss plan to the next level. It's one thing to say you want to lose 10 pounds by June, but quite another to sign up for a half-marathon you'll need to train for. Decide on something you really want to do that will require some training and commitment on your part, and then make it happen. When you have a goal that goes beyond numbers dropping on the scale, you'll be surprised at how much more motivated and excited you are about reaching that goal.
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