The information available on health & fitness is insane. There are so many articles, videos, personal posts & opinions, apps, websites, books, gurus etc. You name it, someone has an opinion on the best way to lose 10lbs, or the must-do diet or 6 week plan.
If you’re like me, over the years you’ve tried many things to get in shape, lose some weight, eat better and generally live a healthier life. Maybe you tried a weight loss program or done a cleanse or detox. Maybe you’ve tried a challenge where you had to drink shakes in place of meals. You’ve likely tried spin class, maybe joined a bootcamp class or signed up for a run, gone to some yoga classes etc. As much as we are creatures of routine, we also crave some variety (or maybe that’s just me and my super strong A-type genes?)
Here’s the thing. Most of us are busy buzzing around looking for the next best thing to get us to where we want to go. The grass is always greener on the other side.
- ‘That co-worker of mine just dropped 20lbs? Oh, I should find out what she did and try that. If it worked for her, it will hopefully work for me.’
- Your best friend just did a cleanse and feels better now than ever before. ‘Great, I want that too – where can I buy it?’
We, as humans, have shiny object syndrome and are constantly distracted by the latest craze, tool, diet, or quick fix that comes in front of us.
Will any of the previously mentioned techniques work to help you lose weight? Very possibly, yes. However the #1 reason why you haven’t seen the results you desire today isn’t because you haven’t done what has worked for John or Sally or Geoff or Barb, it’s because you haven’t been consistent with what you have tried in the past.
Far too often the cycle goes something like this
- Wow, I really need to do something about my health. My clothes are fitting tighter/ I am getting some back pain and I’m too young for that right?/ I feel uncomfortable with how my body looks/ I can’t keep up with my friends or kids or grandkids etc.
- Ok, this is the week. I am going to go to the gym four times, make some healthy meals at home and bring my lunch to work.
- Week 2 – Got to the gym 3 times last week and brought my lunch twice. I sort of overdid it on the weekend, but it’s a new week and a new start to get back on track.
- Week 3 – Life got crazy last week. I got in an accident/work was really stressful/my kid ended up in emerg/ I got in a fight with my partner/the new episode of _______ was on Netflix and I really needed to binge watch it all.
- Week 4 – Still feeling the effects of the craziness of last week. Things are starting to settle though, I will let myself relax and recover this week and I will get back on track next week.
- Week 5 – Refer to #1
Often when we try to do everything at once, we end up doing nothing well.
This is the true problem I see with all the quick fixes out there. They require drastic changes to your current life. Sure, if you stick to them for a week or two or 30 days you will see some results. But the true magic is finding something you can stick to for 6 months, a year and then a lifetime. I believe to be successful at changing your health in the long term you need to make small changes that don’t feel like you are overhauling your life. The results won’t be as dramatic as the quick fixes. I don’t know about you, but I would rather opt for long term health vs short term success and a continual ride on the diet roller coaster.
So here is my suggestion. Pick ONE THING. Just one. One simple thing that you know you have a 90% chance of success of sticking to for the next two weeks. Something that even when life goes sideways (because doesn’t it always?) you can commit to doing at least that. Practice that new habit everyday. When you are consistent with it (and only then), you can add a new habit.
There are no end to the options you could chose to focus your attention on for the next two weeks. Everyone’s life is different, as will be everyone’s focus. The key, as I mentioned, is to chose something so easy that you are super confident you can do it.
Don’t worry if it seems too small or too simple. If you are currently not doing any exercise, commit to doing a 10 min walk a day. You can find 10 minutes to focus on your health right? If you rely on fast food & restaurant meals most days of the week, see if you can commit to cooking one (or two?) meals at home next week. Make it easy on yourself to be successful.
If you need some suggestions check out this PDF which gives 7 easy ways you can Change your health, not your life – 7 tips
Marisa is BCRPA personal trainer and a fun-fitness-fanatic living the active dream in beautiful Vancouver, BC. She hikes, swims, runs, bikes, bootcamps & yoga's as much as possible, outdoors when possible, and believes everything is possible. Find her on the web at www.motivatedmovementpt.com and on Facebook and Instagram.