The media is full of sample workout plans and the latest diet suggestions. Do this, cut out that, only eat this, you’ll die if you eat this. It’s overwhelming. It’s impossible to know what to believe. It either paralyses us into doing nothing at all or we try all sorts of things trying to find something, anything, that will make us feel better. After all, that’s all you really want – to feel better.
The trouble with a lot of the stuff out there in the mainstream media is that the weight loss and fitness industry is pretty much ALL about selling the quick fix. They tell you how easy it can be and how amazing you will feel if you just buy their product.
Desperate to see the results depicted in their ‘before and after’ shots, it’s hardly surprising that you find yourself handing over your credit card. You meticulously attempt to follow their plan (it might be nutrition-based, exercise-based or some combination). It works! Yay! At least it does initially.
The scales may have started to go down, you may have start to feel better in some ways – but then you start getting tired, you don’t want to have to think so damn hard about food and exercise every minute of the day, you’re hungry, you start craving foods you’re meant to be avoiding. Whatever it is, you eventually ‘give in’ to the exhaustion or the burning desire to just eat something (quite often it’s one of the things you have been fixating on for days because it’s on the no-go list). You binge, you skip workouts – you have strayed from ‘THE PROGRAM’ – that one that promised you the results in the photo.
Naturally, you blame yourself and your lack of willpower. If the person in the photo could do it, it must be YOU that failed right? Today, I need you to know that is wrong. It’s absolutely not your fault. The diet or the gruelling workout plan (or both!) failed you. You did not fail it.
Those diets and training plans out there? They are almost NEVER sustainable. The industry thrives on that natural instinct of yours to think that it was YOU that messed up. They know that before long they’ll be able to entice you back in again. Where is the incentive for them to sell you a product that will solve all your problems quickly and permanently? They want you to come back – I mean, it WAS working before YOU messed it up, right?
So what’s a better approach if all these weight loss plans aren’t sustainable and are very unlikely to see you attaining long lasting results?
It’s ALL about making manageable steps over a period of time and being consistent with them. Once you’ve worked your initial steps into your life, start to build upon them. Above all, consistency and moderation are key. Don’t place severe or dramatic restrictions on yourself or place unrealistic requirements on your time. Start with things you know you can implement and achieve based on your current lifestyle. Implement them consistently. Once you have that happening as habit, expand on it a bit or add something new to the mix. Just keep going – step by step.
The first step toward success is taken when you refuse to be a captive of the environment in which you first find yourself – Mark Caine
Will this approach be as fast as the diets and weight loss plans in the magazines and on TV suggest it will be? Almost certainly not. However, which path sounds less emotionally and physically taxing?
1. Trying one of these types of weight loss plans, losing a handful of kilos before stopping because it’s just not sustainable and gaining it all back again plus a bit more. While you’re following the plan you’ve got specific “rules” and restrictions you must follow if you want to get the results in the photos.
2. Taking much smaller but manageable and sustainable steps toward your goal, implementing them consistently without placing restrictions and unrealistic expectations on yourself. Moderation is a big focus. It can take a while but the cumulative effect of your consistent efforts starts to bring about changes in your overall health and wellbeing (including your body composition). It’s a way of life you can see yourself continuing indefinitely, not just for a few weeks.
I’m sure most of you will agree the second path sure sounds a lot less stressful. What’s more, taking a slow and steady approach means that you can take the time to learn about how your body responds to different ways of moving and different ways of eating. This allows you to make truly lifelong changes to your lifestyle. You’ll be creating a lifestyle that you will actually love, not one that you find a chore – it will just be second nature.