And sometimes, I'd stick with it. Maybe a day or a week, maybe even a whole month. But then, I'd "slip" up and eat 27 cookies or skip a workout, and think, "To hell with it, it's just too much work."
Eventually, I got my act together. But, I failed many, many times before.
As 2012 approaches, I am sure that some of you are vowing to make changes for the better: exercising, healthy eating, etc.
But, what will make this time different than all of those other failed attempts?
The only way this is going to work is if you want it badly enough. Sure, I admitted I was trying to impress some dude when I first started losing weight, but I REALLY, REALLY wanted to impress him. You have to WANT this. You have to want it more than reruns of The Office, more than an extra hour of sleep, more than office birthday cake, and so forth.
And if you don't? Then it won't work, and obviously, you have priorities that mean more to you, and that's fine. It's YOUR life.
But if you do? First, find some kind of exercise you don't completely hate. I am terrible at anything involving coordination, so I don't do Zumba or kickboxing (but I know plenty of people who adore both). I'm a triathlete at heart, and I've discovered that running, biking and swimming are not torturous to me, and I actually (gasp!) enjoy them.
Now, you have to find time to squeeze that workout in.
Most people don't like getting up at the crack of dawn to exercise. I get that. It's cold, it's dark and your bed is so warm. I get up around 5 a.m. every weekday to swim, and I have a few tricks that help me stick with this routine. First, I repack my bag every morning as soon as I get home from the gym. Then, I know I have everything I need, and I won't be half-asleep trying to find my goggles in my closet.
As soon as my alarm goes off, I get RIGHT up. The snooze button does not exist. There is no stretching, no groaning and rolling over, I immediately hop out of bed and turn all the lights on to get myself moving. Turning all the lights on at that hour may annoy your significant other, so just remind them how svelte you're going to be soon or, even easier, just stay single like I do.
Also, have a plan. I like to split up my workouts, so I don't get bored. I swim in the mornings, and then I run or do something else after work, but I construct a week's worth of workouts on Sunday nights and stick with it to the best of my ability. Sure, life happens, but I do my best to stay as close to my schedule as possible. Also, having a schedule prevents you from being half-asleep at the gym staring at all the machines and wasting time. Some people find having a buddy for their workouts helps. If so, harass your friends and repeatedly phone them at 5 a.m. until they join you. Or until you have no friends.
If you just can't swing the morning workouts, I get that. But it is tough to be motivated after a long day at work, especially in the winter. By the time you get home, you're tired, you're hungry, it's cold, it's dark, but you have really good shows DVRed, wah, wah, wah.
I use a similar trick to my morning workouts for my evening workouts. As soon as I get home, I immediately put on my workout clothes and just go. I don't even give myself enough time to make an excuse or a snack or to touch the TV or my laptop. And you know what? I've never regretted a workout.
As for eating healthy, it's 2012. I think you all know what's good for you and what isn't. Choose wisely. Like I said, you have to want this more than that muffin or that ice cream. If you're confused about how to change your diet, there are plenty of resources available to determine what best works for you.
If you miss a workout one day, it's okay. That is not a reason to quit. Just make sure you get up and give it an extra "oomph" the next day. If you give in to temptation and accidentally eat a large order of McDonald's fries after a night on Second St., … well I am sure your stomach will make you regret it enough, but it is okay, just get right back on track.