When we’re struggling with weight management, there seems to be some kind of “magic” involved for those who successfully manage their weight. The only “magic” is the choices that we make. Your choices will determine your outcome.
A person or a group who will hold you accountable is an incredibly helpful part of a successful fitness program. Without accountability, you can have the best of intentions, buy the best work out gear, plan to work out, make time to work out, plan your meals, buy the right groceries to cook, instead of eating junk and then abandon it all for an afternoon in a cupcake shop with a not so well-meaning “friend”. Our best bet is to have like minded people as our closest friends and ditch the ones who actively try to sabotage our efforts. People who work against our goals are not our friends.
If we truly desire to make progress towards our health goals, we will extract the negative people from our lives. Negativism causes a release of adrenaline which can burn us out if we allow ourselves to be caught up in drama. The adrenaline surge from negativism can cause a release of cortisol and in turn the cortisol can increase belly fat and cause us to become insulin resistant. Positive, supportive people increase our feel-good neurotransmitters which helps us focus on our goals without so much distraction. These people can be true friends, supportive family members, weight loss groups or supportive social media. The idea is to find people who understand your efforts to be healthy.
Even if we have an accountability partner, we make most of our decisions alone. Others can’t police every move that we make. Technology engages our mind and in the absence of another person, the smart gadgets can keep us focused on our project at hand. Apps that help us track our food, online workout videos and a plethora of health and fitness information is all right in the palm of our hand. If we fail to avail ourselves of every advantage that we have access to, if and when we fail, we have no one to blame except ourselves. We can find the nutritional information for any food, lengthy discussion about any exercise and a demonstration of that exercise, healthy cooking shows and recipes in a couple of minutes, so ignorance about what it takes to be healthy is not a reality unless we want it to be. Google knows everything, just search a topic of interest and see!
Wait for It
One of the biggest challenges to fitness is the habit of instant gratification. When we just “want what we want”, we are unwilling to forgo any pleasurable thing in the present. A fitness program works in the opposite way. We give up unhealthy foods and a lazy lifestyle for the long-range goal of good health and a body that we like to inhabit. To push past this tendency to go for short-range gratification we must (1) Make a clear decision about what we want (2) Make detailed plans for the way to accomplish that goal and (3) Take the first step. Instead of vaguely stating that we need to lose weight, we need to state how much and why and then make menus and a grocery list, cook the food, decide what and when our workout will be, and make arrangements for a gym or whatever home equipment that we need. To work out, we must actually begin. All the gym memberships in the world won’t help if we don’t use them. A good pair of walking shoes may be the only provision you need, if you use them. Putting our plans into action is being proactive as opposed to reactive, which is merely being unhappy with our present state of affairs but being unwilling to do anything to change it.
Decide and Implement
What we must decide is what do we really want? Most of us want to be healthy and attractive but want it to come easily. The truth is, we are so accustomed to bad health practices that merely making good food choices usually seems hard. Committing to a regular workout seems hard in a sedentary culture. The road to success is challenging but the alternative is certain destruction. I’ve heard it said that the harder the battle the sweeter the victory, I believe that is true. When we work hard to reach our goals, there is nothing any more fulfilling than the moment those goals begin to materialize. Do you believe that you can change? It is necessary to believe that you can accomplish what you set out to do, otherwise when it gets hard you will quit. Do you have support from others? If not, find it. You will need it.
When I first began lifting weights, I bought a kettlebell that had variable weights up to 50 pounds. After working with that for just a short while, since I was committed to getting strong, I invested in my first bar bell weight set in many years. It was 135 pounds maximum and David told me that I would soon outgrow it, and I did. Before moving on up though I spent several months stacking big, plastic tote boxes for a squat rack. Again, as a reward for being diligent, I bought a weight rack. As I progressed, I realized that I needed the safety of a power rack. It looks like a cage that will catch your weights if you go to muscle failure. That rack was an investment, but a very good one. It gives me the confidence to push a little harder when I would otherwise quit. I moved from a standard bar to an Olympic bar for most of my lifts and added a Power Tower for incline sit-ups and hanging knee raises. I got a pull-up bar, a lifting belt, “Ninja Straps” for the Power Tower and a new pulley system along with other odds and ends. These “Rewards” accelerated my progress. Sometimes people think that returning to old eating habits is a reward. It’s not. The same cupcakes that made you their slave before are waiting to do it again. Don’t give them the opportunity. Reward yourself wisely with things that will build on your progress.
While the deciding factor in weight loss and healthy living is the decisions that you make, if you implement these tips, you will achieve much more than you have ever dreamed that you are capable of doing. The choice is yours and whatever you do, DON’T QUIT. The difference between a winner and a loser is that the winner gets up one more time.
Do you want to change?