You have a goal. You have a deadline. You plan your workout and subsequent weight loss to coincide with your event. It doesn’t matter if it’s a wedding, a graduation, or any other event sometimes your body doesn’t
cooperate. Normally we latch onto a goal, and start working out maybe 4-6 days a week. Full tilt, all out, like there’s no tomorrow. We cut back so drastically on the food we’re eating that we probably aren’t eating enough. The pace is frantic because we have a JOB TO DO! This is the first mistake.
An unrealistic exercise plan is a recipe for disaster. Your body won’t be able to go from no exercise to 4-6 days of all-out training. This approach can lead to injury and bench you while that deadline approaches. Be reasonable with what your body’s limits are now. Don’t revive your old workouts from cross-country or lacrosse when you were in school. Begin walking, join an exercise class and do what you can for the duration of the class. If what they do is out of your league — march in place moving both arms and legs! You should try to do some movement each day. If one day is abs, another is walking, another is a Jazzercize class — It’s all good, but be sure you can stick with the schedule you set. Write it in your day planner. Recognize that life is for the long haul. Quick isn’t how we want to live.
Another mistake is in stopping at the point where you set a goal. Beyond the goal — Let’s discover your real Motivation. You have an event. You don’t like your body. You want to make changes. Well, people in hell want iced-water. Wanting isn’t enough to get you there. It’s the WHY of wanting that will keep you from cheating. The process of finding your real motivation takes very little work. The amount of time you need is minimal provided you’re honest with yourself. This is private. A personal self-evaluation. It demands you analyze who you are and what you represent in this world. It sometimes means admitting to faults and shortcomings. That’s why we keep it private. Just because we come to recognize some blemish in our otherwise stellar personality, it isn’t anyone else’s business. To begin get a 6×9 notebook and a pen, sit comfortably in a quiet space where you won’t be interrupted. Practice deep breathing to bring your heart rate down, become aware of your surroundings. You will not be able to quiet your mind. Rather you just want to notice your thoughts. They’ll lead you in this exercise. Write this sentence in your journal and finish it with the first thought that comes to your mind.
“I want to lose 20 pounds because _________________”
Once you’ve answered then ask yourself “But WHY? What’s the big deal? Why would it make a difference if I was 20 pounds thinner?” Write your next thought. Continue this process until your response has an emotional flutter to it. You might cry, laugh or just get goose bumps. That physical response is an indication that you’ve hit on feelings that are closer to the truth than what you wrote first. That surface level desire is a reflection a deeper need. This isn’t a life’s path realization. It’s a self-esteem building exercise. Let’s say the first response goes something like this: I want to lose 20 pounds because summer is here I’m tired of being the heaviest person at the pool. Why? Because everyone else is jumping and laughing and I’m afraid if I move around too much people will notice my fat legs. Why? Because I don’t think they’ll like me if I’m fat. Why? If I hate my legs and myself. . . I’m afraid they will hate me…once they notice I’m different and I’m fatter.
This might be a good stopping point at first. It’s about more than losing 20 pounds, it’s about being liked. We all want people to like us. It validates us as people, and keeps us from being lonely. The process continues and a metamorphosis occurs. The WHY changes as you lose weight and grow in your emotional maturity.
The final mistake is to try to modify your diet all at once. Your diet is like a run-away Thoroughbred. You’ll lose if you try to jerk your diet-Thoroughbred to a halt. More than likely if you tried to stop a real horse all at once you would be thrown off immediately. Instead, pull the reins back gently. To be successful in changing your eating. So conduct an experiment in eating. Look at the food you eat. Give up one thing you know you shouldn’t be eating. Stop the love affair you have with that food. It probably isn’t good for you, contains no nutritional value and makes you fat anyway. As the days turn into weeks your diet should change from the one that made you fat to the one that empowers you to move and live and be fit. Write down the food you eat and note how your body responds to the changes in your diet.
The final step is to start over. Do it again and again until you reach your fitness and weight loss goal. It’s really about much more than diet and exercise.