Most of my life I would start a “diet” and/or exercise program that would last a week or two or maybe three, but honestly I don’t think any of them made it beyond three weeks. I thought that I wanted to be fit but the truth is, I didn’t want it enough now, did I? That’s what it comes down to, what do we want the most?
What makes us commit and follow a program diligently? By way of trial and error and finally finding David’s Way, I have learned a few things. Quite often we take on too much, too fast. You know, the “I’m not eating anything except cabbage soup until I’m skinny.” mentality…it will insure failure. This all or nothing thinking exhausts our best efforts early and there is no energy left for the long haul. When I first began lifting heavy weights, David had me on a short program because I was neither fit enough nor did I have the dedicated mindset to do the long program that I do now. I would have gotten exhausted or hurt and burnt out and quit. Take it easy and set a goal to lose about one pound per week. Think about it this way, losing one pound per week is progress. If you set your goal too high and quit, there is no progress and you will most likely rebound and gain. Your health and fitness will suffer.
It is common for people to try to do something that they hate in the hopes that they will somehow magically learn to love it or become brainwashed into being an Olympian by “Just Do It.” Honestly, if you hate running, for God’s sake don’t run. If you are afraid of putting your face in the water, don’t swim laps. Do something that feels right. Do something that you can work into your life. While I swam laps for years, it was a true aggravation. I had a membership in a great facility but it took my entire day to drive there, shower, swim for two hours, shower, do my hair and make-up and drive home. Although I loved the water, it was impractical to do this and sometimes I would miss going to the pool for weeks and get depressed and eat everything in sight for days. It didn’t work. I could never maintain fitness for very long doing something that just took over my life. Now I have my gym at home. I just go downstairs and get to it. Other than my weights there is no special clothing or accessories required. I used to carry a bag full of junk to the pool. It was so cumbersome, suit, goggles, fins, swim block. shampoo, conditioner, bodywash, face cleanser, make-up, hair dryer and hair products. Prepping to go to the pool was an ordeal. Now, I pull on my favorite leggings, and a tank top usually, because the front squat requires bare arms with lots of chalk, and I’m lifting. No prep, no drive. I always wanted to be this kind of fit, strong and muscular, so the effort required is so worth it. I love what I’m doing, and it’s convenient, so I do it.
Sometimes people choose to do an activity that is actually painful, in a bad way. The old adage, “No pain, no gain.” is ridiculous. If I feel pain in my workout, I’m doing something wrong. I stop and figure out what I did wrong and then resume. There is a profound difference in “hard” and “painful”. If your workout is painful, you should, and most likely will, stop.
In the “All or Nothing” school of thought there are those who will abandon their program unless they can do it perfectly all the time. I’ve got to tell you if I only worked out when I did it perfectly, I might not work out very often. While perfection is not a requirement, persistence is. I work out when I don’t want to work out. I work out when I want to work out. I work out when it’s convenient and when it’s not convenient at all. I work out when I feel strong and when I feel weak. My ego sometimes takes a beating when I feel weak but then other times, I may feel weak and set a PR. I have increased my deadlift by about 175 pounds in two years and that has involved a lot of imperfect sessions.
Time Management is imperative to have longevity in your workouts. When I first began lifting, David told me to decide what days that I would work out and consider working out to be my job those days. I had to commit to do it and then manage everything else around my workout. I do that to this day. There is a saying, “Life Happens.” Yes, it does and you may have variations occur in your life that will cause some variations in your schedule. The important thing is to know that you will get it done, all of it, on a regular basis. Consistency is key to making positive changes in your body and health.
Write it down. From the very beginning of learning to lift, David has had me write everything. I write the day, date, time, calories, protein, carbs, hydration, sleep and state of mind. I write my exact workout down as it should be and then write exactly what I accomplish. I write random thoughts because our mind will either make us or break us in the middle of a hard workout.
Whatever you do, get rid of distractions. I put my phone on silent and only allow a limited number of people to ring through. I let my dogs out and back in and make sure they’ve been watered and fed. My adult, special needs son knows that I will deal with anything that he might want after my workout. I generally won’t even answer my door during my workout. You have to make it a priority and focus.
While safety is of the utmost importance, don’t ever assume that you can’t do something. When I first started lifting, I feared that 100 pound deadlift. I believed that I could do it because I had faith in my trainer and he seemed to believe that I could. Now, at more than double that, I know that if I had limited myself with anxiety, I would never have progressed to where I am and there would be no hope of attaining the goals that I want to attain in the future. Where your mind goes, your body will follow. Take your mind to victory.
Ask for input from respectable, reliable sources. Read everything that you can find on your chosen activity and nutrition. Study to be healthy and fit. When you stay mentally engaged with a subject, ever learning and digging out new information, you will stay physically engaged.
Avoid people who want you to abandon your health initiative. Sometimes these people are in our own homes. If that is the case, you simply must control the extent to which they can control you. One time when I first began eating healthy a former family member ordered pizza within 15 minutes of learning of my new commitment. When my home was destroyed by tornadoes and I had my Iron laying on the ground beside my car to go to the motel with me, he tried to take it. No way was I being separated from my weights. They saw me through a very trying time and strengthened me to make extreme changes in my life that were long overdue. Choose your friends and extended family wisely and even then, go your own way.
Don’t ever think that you will get this done. No, you won’t. Fitness is a lifetime commitment. David says that we don’t own our level of fitness, we’re only paying rent. Don’t pay your rent and you get evicted. Just accept that this is not a get fit quick project. If you are to be truly successful at heathy, this is the rest of your life.
Everyone struggles with the choice between instant gratification and working towards long-range goals. I remember the night that I cried because I wanted to eat chocolate ice cream. I had thrown every other food out of the house that I saw as a stumbling block. That forgotten ice cream was the only source of refined carbs in my house. I had forgotten to throw that out. As I hung on the door of my refrigerator freezer and sobbed, I had to ask myself, “What do I want MORE, ice cream or health?” I made my decision that night and have never turned back. My progress has not always been linear or perfect but when I abandoned refined carbs and added sugars, I was through with them and my health testifies to my healthy nutrition. You simply have to decide. That does not mean that it will be easy. It means that you will be victorious. I know your struggles and so does David . We have both been there. What I can tell you about this is that it will get easier over time. Now I would no more consider eating ice cream than I would consider bungee jumping off of the Empire State Building. Some things just don’t make sense. It’s not healthy.
As you go forward with your health initiative, read this website. We have articles here on many topics that can help you on your journey. We have all kinds of healthy, delicious, sugar-free recipes ranging from pizza to brownies and many exotic dishes. Go to the search box and search for what you want to read. We’re here to answer your questions and help in any way that we can and this website is always free. If you would like to see an article on a specific topic let us know. We will research for you. If there is a recipe that you would like to have or see made over into a healthy version, just notify us in comments or contact or start a conversation in the Forum.
Let 2020 be your year to learn healthy. What have you got to lose?