About 71 percent of Americans make it past the second week of their New Year's resolutions, with 38 percent of those intentions being about weight loss. Only 8 percent are successful in keeping their resolutions through the end of the year, which is why we instead propose focusing on building a foundation of resiliency. In a four-part series — with this week offering the second installment — the ColoradoFit team of trainers, nutritionists and mental health experts offer their best tips for being stronger in every way possible so that you can bounce back from whatever life throws your way in 2014. To read earlier installments in the series — about coming up with a game plan and paying attention to what you eat — visit denverpost.com/fitness.3. Love yourself
Love the one you're with, Rudy McClinon Jr. says, because that person is always going to be you.
“We all are unique, and we seem to have such a tough time just saying, 'This is what is special and good about me,'” the certified fitness trainer says. “Instead, we waste so much time worrying about what other people have. Meanwhile, they're doing the same thing, and no one is getting the most out of their amazing gifts.”
If we can accept our bodies — and even appreciate them — then we can focus on reaching our highest physical potential, rather than trying to turn ourselves into something we can never be, he adds.
“I'm not saying you shouldn't try to achieve incredible feats, but you have to work with what you have,” McClinon says. “You have a body type that God gave you, and you can only change it so much within that framework. Genetics do have something to do with some of the things you're going to be able to change, and it will help to come to an acceptance of that. But take that further and just love what you have.”
McClinon didn't always feel that way about his own body. When he was 48, the former NFL player had both hips replaced and was nearly crushed by the resulting depression. “I couldn't run, I couldn't jump. I thought I was done,” the owner of R-U-A-Pro Fitness ( ruaprofitness.com), now 60, says. “What helped me get out of it was just getting out there, doing what I could do. I started feeling progressively better and better, and that kept me going forward.”
McClinon lists three things you can do to help improve your self-image.Focus on what you can do, not what you can't
“When most folks start a workout program, the first thing I hear from them is, 'I can't do this or that because I have this issue or limitation,' ” McClinon says. “They wind up putting a lot of energy into that, energy that could be put into succeeding.”
He instead has them list all the things they can do, and immediately gets them started on that list. “It's amazing, because you'll see progress right away when you just go with the things you can do. And then when you see results, there's momentum and it just keeps building.”Be realistic about your body
If you have a short, wide body frame or are curvaceous, embrace it rather than fighting it.
“Find out what the best ways are to use the body you have, how it can move and what it can do for you,” McClinon says. “Spending time being sad that you aren't taller is such a waste.”Watch what you say about other people's bodies
“When you put other people down, most of the time it's because you have a low opinion of yourself,” McClinon says. “If you find that you are constantly pointing out when someone else is overweight or too skinny, stop for a minute and ask, 'What does this say about how I feel about me?'”
Do the opposite — concentrating on what you find appealing about others — and you may find that you start to notice your own body image improving. “Studies show that positive thinking is linked to better self-esteem and better health,” McClinon says. “And it will rub off on other people; they'll pick up on it.
“When you give good things to other people, good things come back to you.”4. Just say “No, thank you”
A client of personal trainer Jamie Atlas had been working out with him successfully to get ready for her wedding when she called him one day in tears.
“There was an office birthday party, and her co-workers all called her over to have a cupcake,” says the owner of Bonza Bodies Fitness ( bonzabodies.com). “She didn't want to have a cupcake. But you know how this goes — they're all like, 'Come on, it's a special occasion, and we made these.' And it's high school all over again.
“So she had the cupcake, and then she feels terrible,” he says. “One cupcake isn't a big deal, of course. But it's this feeling that you're going to keep running into this situation, and not being able to deal with it, that's an ongoing problem.”
The person offering the food feels as though he or she is giving a gift, Atlas says. “By turning it down, we feel as though we're being rude. They're trying to show us that they care about us, and we want to reciprocate. But then we're sabotaging our plans, and not doing what's good or right for us.”
It's not just food — Atlas says that we run into this scenario with exercise, as well. “Sometimes people feel as though we're offending them by wanting to go out and go for a run or work out instead of spending time with them,” he says. “They may have set aside time to be with us, and then we announce that we're headed to the gym. We need to be clear about why this is important to us, and communicate with the people we're close to so we don't hurt their feelings.”
Atlas recommends that you anticipate situations where conflict could arise, and focus on what you can control.Share your healthy goals
Tell your friends and family your goals and ask for their support. Tell them how much it means to you, and make sure they understand that it's about you and not them. Offer suggestions for ways they can encourage you, such as eating their favorite junk foods when you're not around or going for a walk with you instead of out for a carbohydrate-laden brunch.Before the next party or get-together, call ahead
Ask if you can bring something. At impromptu office events, saying, “No, thank you, but you go ahead, it looks delicious,” is usually enough to “let people feel as though they're off the hook,” Atlas says. “No one feels bad in that case.”Communicate your needs
Tell your needs while also acknowledging theirs. “Saying something like, 'I'm really stressed out and I need to get a workout in, but I know we haven't spent time together; is there any way we could reschedule to make that happen soon?'” Atlas says. “Invite them to come along, but if that's not their thing, make sure they know you value them, but need to do something that's important to you.”Keep judgment out of it
“Sometimes the conflict comes from people feeling like they're being put down. Make the emphasis on why you're doing this for yourself.”