Are you trying to lose weight?

The number one reason most people improve their eating habits and start exercising is to lose weight.  Sometimes the inspiration is spurred when clothes no longer fit, or when one sees a photo of themselves and are shocked at how they look.
There’s nothing wrong with having a weight loss goal, or weighing in on a regular basis to track progress.  In fact, they’ve shown that the people who weigh in on a regular basis are the ones who maintain their weight loss.   Weight loss is exciting- and it should be!  The problem, however, occurs when the number on the scale is your only gauge of success, or is the only source of motivation to exercise, or if the number determines how you feel about yourself.
If weight loss is not as quick as expected, or if one experiences a weight gain, self-defeating and thoughts will undoubtedly surface.  It’s easy to become discouraged and believe that any attempt to lose weight is futile.
So how do you stop focusing exclusively on weight loss?  Easy.  Set a fitness goal.
A fitness goal creates purpose to your workout.  Having a purpose and plan to your workouts is way more satisfying than simply exercising to burn the extra calories.  Examples fitness goals are committing to exercising 20 minutes per day, 5 days per week, training for an event, or being able to complete 10 push-ups from your toes.
Once you have a fitness goal, think about food as a way to help you get to your goal.  Instead of food being there to help you distress or to comfort you when you are sad, food is used to fuel your body to reach your goal.  You don’t eat veggie because they are low in calories; you eat them because they are a great source of vitamins to keep your body in peak condition.  Instead of skipping breakfast you enjoy your whole grain toast and egg for because it will give your energy for the day.  For your afternoon snack you choose to eat a banana because you’ll soon be going for a run and you want to make sure your energy stores are topped up. You choose nutrient rich foods (such as nuts, fruit and lean protein) over empty calories (such as pop or donuts) because what it does for your body.
The result of reaching a fitness goal, and fuelling your body correctly to get there, is usually weight loss.  However, instead of focusing simply on a number on the scale, you’ll focus on becoming a strong, fit person. Now that’s inspiring!
Tanja Shaw is a Kinesiologist and Fitness Coach, specializing in weight loss, group fitness, pre and postnatal fitness, and health and wellness programs.  She owns Ascend Fitness Coaching, home to Ascend Fitness Boot Camp, Stroller Boot Camp, and personal training programs.  For more fitness tips go to

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