First off, HAPPY NEW YEAR! It is the time of resolutions and at the top of the list is weight loss. Recently, I've a had few friends ask me for suggestions on how to get started so I thought I'd share the tools I used when I first began my fitness journey. I hope you find some of these tips useful.
There is an app for everything, and there are a ton out there, but the one I found helpful was Lose It! It lets you set goals, establish a daily calorie budget, and you can also log your workouts. I mainly used it to see what I was eating so I could modify bad eating habits. I don't use it as much now but it's great when you are getting started to see if you drink your calories, are eating too much fast food, etc. Another popular one is My Fitness Pal, which is similar to Lose It!, but is also an online diet and exercise journal. You can link to your Facebook and Twitter to share your progress.
Calculate Your BMR
Your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) is the number of calories you burn at rest. I used this BMI calculator here. This is a great tool to make sure you are getting the right amount of calories for your fitness level. After having an exercise routine for a few weeks I plateaued and didn't understand why until I found I wasn't eating enough calories. Once I adjusted to the right amount of calories I began to see results again.
I created a goal board to help keep me motivated. I put up quotes and ads that inspired me, pamphlets for upcoming races and workout cards from magazines. I hung it where I'd see if first thing in the morning. Now it's filled with racing bibs and medals from completed races. Still gets me going every time I see it.
Music is a great motivator. Make yourself a fun playlist or ask a friend to make one if your sick of your usual songs. (For ideas, check out the playlist to the right.)
Set Mini Goals
I was overwhelmed when I thought about how much weight I wanted to lose so instead I made small goals. My goals were ten pound increments and this eased the anxiety caused by the larger number I had originally set for myself. Take things one day at a time, results don't happen overnight.