Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Are You Ready to Step Off the Weight Loss Merry-Go-Round?, Part 1

The sad fact is that if I set up a website and promised people they would lose 30 pounds in 30 days by doing nothing other than taking my special fat burning pill, I'd have tons of orders. In fact, I could probably charge $100 for a month's supply and still be drowning in customers.

Everyone wants effortless. Effortless riches, effortless weight loss, effortless nutrition, effortless fitness. Well, it's time for a reality check.

Fitness, good nutrition and fat loss take effort. I'm not talking about revolving your entire life around working out and eating right. However, a healthy, fit body will not come in a magic pill.

If you really want to drop fat and keep it off there are certain things you need to do. Some, if not all, you've probably heard before but never really committed to them (or you wouldn't be reading this). So, hang in there with me for the next few days.

Dump the diets and quick fixes.

In people's minds, diets are finite. They have a beginning and end; you don't follow them forever.

What you need is a lifestyle makeover. Good nutrition and regular exercise are not just things you do until you look good for your wedding or class reunion or until you fit back into your smaller clothes. At least not if you have any interest in maintaining your svelter self.

If you're unwilling to make some long term changes than stop reading right now. You're either not ready at this time in your life (which is OK but you should acknowledge that to yourself and quit beating yourself up and wasting money on scams) or you're looking for a quick fix and I ain't got one.

The short-term mindset is what often derails people. They make sweeping changes that are overwhelming and which, sooner or later, lead to a poor choice or a binge. Then they figure they blew it and just give up.

If you overslept and woke up late for work one day would you just throw in the towel and never go back? If you made a parenting mistake, would you decide you're a total failure and put your kid up for adoption?

No one is perfect. Some times we make poor choices. Trying to massively overhaul your life in one fell swoop is a recipe for failure with most people.

"Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently." - Henry Ford

If you are a "failed" serial dieter or someone who has "succeeded", only to regain the weight, start again more intelligently.

If you currently eat fast food almost every day, don't try to eliminate it totally starting tomorrow. Decide to limit yourself to x number of times a week; something that is a challenge but that is also doable for where you are right now.

If you are a second helping guy or gal, cut back to one or at least wait 20 minutes to see if you are truly still hungry before eating more.

If you're a total couch potato, don't start spending hours exercising (you shouldn't spend hours working out anyway but that's a topic for another day) but do commit to exercising for x number of minutes for x number of days a week.

If your regular routine is coming home and downing a few beers or cocktails, limit yourself to a specific number.

Small changes will make a difference, mentally, physically and emotionally. You won't lose 30 pounds in 30 days but you will be forming better nutrition and exercise habits and creating a healthier lifestyle.

Let me be clear. As you progress on your journey, you will need to continually improve your nutrition and to challenge yourself physically but making it a process rather than a one day makeover will be far less overwhelming.


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