"It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop."
STEP 4: PERSISTENCE, PERSISTENCE, PERSISTENCE
This is the most important step of all bar none! It doesn't matter how hard you work out, or how well you eat, if you only do it sporadically. If you really want to see changes in how you look & feel, then you have to stick with it at least 5 days a week. When I first started off, I was even doing six days a week. I was gung-ho and was anxiously trying to see results as fast as possible. However, always take one day a week off. I always take Sundays off. Not only is it the Sabbath for me, but it's also proven that a day off is essential and helpful for your body to achieve the results you want.
This is where the power of positive thinking really comes in handy. Remember I said this is a mental game. You will constantly be bombarded with thoughts of giving up. It's simple though . . . DON'T! Just focus on how strong you are becoming, not just physically but mentally. Refuse to entertain any "cop out excuses". If you do, you're only selling yourself short! You are only hurting yourself if you give up. All your hard work will be for nothing. You are worth this. You do deserve this! You CAN DO THIS!!
"When you feel like giving up, remember why you held on for so long in the first place."
-- Author Unknown
STEP 5: PATIENCE, PROGRESS & SUPPORT
Let me reiterate. This is a long, slow process. I'm not claiming you will look like a swimsuit model in 4 weeks. I have been going for almost 7 months and am still chugging away at my goals. Be prepared for this. If you're not, it is very easy to become discouraged. I like to tell myself that the slower it comes off, the more permanent it will stay off (or at least the slower it will come back on right?) Remind yourself constantly that even if the pounds aren't flying off, you are doing your body good. Just because you can't always see the results, doesn't mean they aren't happening. Discouragement will just lead to despair and you'll give up & quit. Stick with it. It's like the story of the Tortoise and the Hare. It will seem slow & arduous and that it's not worth it sometimes, but just keep your goals in mind. Remember why you started in the first place! Think of how nice it will be when you reach your goals. Visualize yourself with that dream body. Most importantly, when you see small changes or results, celebrate them! Not with food of course, but allow yourself to feel good about your accomplishments. When you are feeling discouraged, remember how good it felt when you did see that scale drop down or feel a new muscle emerging under your stomach and remind yourself that it will keep happening - just not always in the time frame you may want.
Just a small tip that I do: I don't weigh myself every day. I do it every couple days AT THE SAME TIME OF DAY and keep a little log of all my weights. When I don't see changes for awhile, it's at least comforting to look back and see where I started at so I can visually see that I have made progress. I also take measurements of different areas of my body every other month. Sometimes you don't even realize that your waist has shrunk an inch or two until you write down the numbers. Another thing some do (and it takes bravery & guts) is to take a "before" picture in your underwear. You don't have to share it with anyone, but keep it for yourself. Look at it periodically to remind yourself why you started. Every couple months take a new one & see how you've changed ever so slightly.
And lastly, don't be afraid to involve those close to you in the process. Spouses, family & friends are a vital support in the process. They will be the ones that will encourage you to not give up when you are disheartened. They will be the ones that will listen to you. And most importantly, they will be the ones that notice the changes and make you feel so good about all of your efforts. Compliments from your closest circle are the best kind. You know they are genuine and they mean so much more. I can't tell you how good it felt to hear my sisters praise my legs the other day when we went swimming. I have to admit, it made my whole day. I still think my legs need a lot of work and that my dark, Jamaican tan made all the difference, but to hear them go on and on about how great they look really made the last 7 months worth it! My sisters have been such a big support and inspiration to me through all of this. They are the ones who got me to finally start, they are the ones who motivated me, and they are still encouraging me to this day. I love them with all of my heart (which is hopefully a way healthier heart now)!