These days it’s difficult to find someone who does things the slow and steady way. Our need for instant gratification is ruining us, and it seems to be getting worse; this is especially true when it comes to losing unwanted body fat.
The extreme fitness movement and extreme diet approaches make everything else seem ordinary. Our need to lose fat fast trumps our desire to stay the course and “exercise” the long-term approach to being healthy.
We eat unhealthy for months and then try to quickly cleanse our way out of it in 10 days. Usually when we get this burst of motivation, it comes from some celebrity endorsing a miracle solution. We join a gym and, little by little, we’re back to square one.
When we are “on,” we do cardio seven days a week. When we are “off,” we stuff our face with food because we “just love food so much” and we “deserve a reward.” We drop our calories so low hoping to lose fat when all we are really doing is losing energy and muscle.
We envy those who look fit and slim and question why they work out so intensely and often. Meanwhile, our lives are stuck on repeat, losing and gaining the same five pounds over and over. Our busy schedules get the blame as to why we are still fat and unhealthy.
It’s time we quit the blame game and take our lives back. It’s time to recommit to being fit.
Long-term health benefits require an investment in your body that might not pay noticeable dividends for weeks or months after you begin a lifestyle makeover. Our expectations have become unrealistic, partly because of extreme televised fitness shows. We look in the mirror every day and get frustrated when we don’t see immediate changes. We forget that these fitness shows are a compilation of scenes, not a true reflection of the everyday struggle those people go through to reach their goal. Real results cannot be summarized.
If you’re struggling to stay on course, do not give up hope and don’t abandon the reasons why you started in the first place. You might just need some guidance, wisdom, and inspiration from a few fit friends.
If you’re on the brink of jumping ship, use these tips to stay afloat:
1. Set specific goals. Posting on Facebook that you’re going to the gym isn’t enough. Setting quantifiable goals like doing a full body weight chin-up is a prime example. The amount and effort that goes into training to be able to do this far exceeds any booty shaking fitness class.
2. Stay grounded. Setting lofty goals is one way to set yourself up for failure. If you make smaller, incremental goals and conquer specific markers, it will almost guarantee your success.
3. Take the healthy approach. Don’t think of training as a way to lose weight. It’s an unsustainable mindset. Instead, viewing it as a way to feel better and prevent your body from breaking down is a much better mindset.
Commit to the long haul. Treat training like an important errand and fuel your body with nutritionally dense food. Value consistency more than intensity, walk more often, get more sleep, eat more vegetables, wake up early, eat breakfast, and drink plenty of water.
Before long, these new activities will become habits and you’ll be on your way to a better, healthier you.
-Tim Hlivia is the owner of Leverage Fitness Studio in Forty Fort.