Yes, You Can Choose To Be Fit & Healthy
So, you want to lose weight and get in shape? Okay, but why bother? No, really, why bother? Getting fit is hard. It takes discipline, dedication, and sacrifice. I’m not going to lie to you and tell you how easy it is.
Chances are you’re overweight; no offence intended, it’s just a simple fact that more than two-thirds of Americans are. So, do take comfort in the fact that MOST people struggle with this too. But also the chances are, you’re comfortable with it. Or at least comfortable enough that while you wish you were fit, up until now it hasn’t bothered you enough to actually do anything significant about it.
The Hard Truth
The hard truth is, if you really wanted to be fit badly enough, you would be. It’s not hard to start. Get up, right now. Why are you still sitting on the couch? Put down the chips, turn off the T.V. and get up. Okay, standing? Now, go run a mile. Then do the same tomorrow. Cut the crap from your diet, count your calories, and there you go. Give it a few months and you’ll be fighting trim. That’s all there is to it. Really.
Sure, some diets, some fitness programs, might work better than others. You might benefit from dietary supplements, or metabolic boosters. But, all that stuff works at the margins. When it comes down to it, weight loss is simply burning more calories than you take in. And that’s all.
So Why Doesn’t It Happen?
Why isn’t everyone in good shape? Well, because motivation is hard to come by. You’ve probably started to eat right, started to work out a hundred times. But, it always ends the same way, doesn’t it? The couch, a bag of chips, and a cold one — watching re-runs of bad reality T.V. in the middle of the afternoon.
You made a choice. You decided that getting fit wasn’t really worth it after all. You decided that you’d rather relax on the couch and eat some junk food — and who can blame you? Your job is hard. Your time is limited. You just want some down time. Fair enough. But, you did make that choice.
It’s the same with anything, really. Maybe you wanted to be a writer, or a rock star. Well, why aren’t you? Because those things take hard work, and somewhere along the line, you decided it wasn’t worth the effort and gave up.
The truth is, motivation is shitty. It’s almost impossible to keep yourself going through willpower alone. Food is cheap and everywhere. Entertainment bombards us from all directions: T.V., movies, video games, trashy magazines… Not that there’s anything greatly wrong with any of that, but each one presents another choice that keeps you distracted from what really matters.
What Really Matters
So, that brings us back to the question. Why bother? Why is it that you want to give up your comfortable couch potato life and get in shape? Maybe you’re concerned about your health? Maybe you want to get all the chicks (or guys) that you couldn’t get in high school. Maybe you just want to be able to take a walk in the park without losing your breath.
Studies have shown that some types of motivations are more… motivating than others. If you want to lose weight for yourself — so you can enjoy a better quality of life, chances are you’re more likely to stick with it. But, if you want to lose weight just so others will think better of you, then chances are, you’ll lose focus when some other distraction comes along. Like a ship being tossed back and forth by a storm. You should be the most important person to you.
The first step to getting in shape is sitting down and having a real conversation with yourself. Don’t accept any BS from yourself. Ask yourself the hard questions. Why do you want to get in shape? How will your life change if you do? Is it really worth it to you? Only when you’ve done that, can you then move on to the next step.
And remember, no matter how motivated you are, you will slip up. We all do sometimes. So, seize upon your motivation when it’s with you and design your environment for success. Maybe it’s late, you’re driving home from work, you’re starving, and all you see are fast food joints. That’s a recipe for failure. Instead, plan ahead. Take healthy snacks with you. Keep them in your glove compartment. Cook meals in bulk ahead of time and freeze them so you can throw something in the microwave as soon as you get home. Always have a healthy fallback plan.
Don’t make it hard for yourself. It really doesn’t matter if you only have a few different balanced healthy meals you know how to make and like eating. Just keep eating them instead of junk. It makes food shopping easy, and you can always add other variations later.
Relearn Your Habits
We all have bad habits, but they didn’t just appear out of the blue. We learnt them and made them a habit by repeating them over and over. All you need to do is learn the good habit that replaces the bad one. Make healthy eating and exercise a habit. Once you establish a routine, you won’t have to think about it any more. Motivation won’t even be an issue. It’ll come as naturally as kicking back on the couch used to.
Set goals to measure your success and reward yourself when you meet them. Get yourself something nice. Go to the movies. Just remember to make the goals SMART. Simple, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. Simple is self-explanatory. Measurable just means you have a way of knowing when you’ve met your goal. It can be a number on the scale, a waist size, or a certain amount of weight you can bench press — doesn’t matter. Attainable and realistic are kind of the same one. Just don’t go trying to lose a hundred pounds in a week. And timely means just that — have a time frame in mind when you expect to meet your goal. It could be a week, a month, or a year. It depends on the goal.
And don’t think of this as an all or nothing proposition. If you slip up (and you will), don’t write the whole day off. “Well, I’ve already gone over my calories for today, might as well just give up and have a cheese cake too.” NO! If you mess up, move on. Get right back on the horse and do better from that moment on. Don’t beat yourself up, but don’t go easy on yourself either.
Write The ‘Future You’ A Letter
I know sounds wacky – but this can really help. Write a letter to yourself when you start your diet/exercise program telling yourself why it was so important to you that you started this journey. Be really honest in your letter – only you will ever see it. Then pick it up a month, six months, or even a year from now to remind yourself of why you started. It will give you a pep talk for when times get tough. Because they will.
Get Fired Up
Getting in shape isn’t easy. It will never be easy. But, you can do it if you choose to. Remember, you’re not helpless. Fitness is a choice of lifestyle; so make the right one. Take your life and health into your own hands. You are as powerful as you choose to be, you are your own hero.
Audio motivational tapes are also a great way to keep you motivated. One that keeps me motivated each and every time I listen to it is ’19 Minutes That Can Change Your Life’ by Earl Nightingale. You DO have 19 minutes you can spare for this, because it’s important. Watch it right now:-
It Starts Right Right Here, Right Now
Start with putting down the remote, throwing out all the chips and junk food, and getting up off the couch right now. Start with making really sure why you want this to work out (create your “why”). There are many ways to do this, one easy way is to write down as many things as you can:
- If I do this, what good will it give me?
- If I do this, what, if any, negatives will come from this?
- If I don’t do this, what good will that give me?
- If I don’t do this, how will that impact my life negatively?
Make sure that you write anything that comes into mind and you’ll find that every answer will motivate you. There will never be a better time. The choice is yours. Choose to stay fit and it will turn into a habit. And I know it sounds crazy now, but it will be a habit you will learn to enjoy too.