This is a cautionary tale. A parable, if you will. All across America, men and women will be vowing, no, promising to finally lose the weight and get in shape. And this very scenario will become a harsh reality. Be prepared. Be informed. DON’T be another failed resolutioner………..
You’re sick of it. Finally done. Tired of being tired. Sick of being out of shape.
Done with not being able to play with your kids for more than ten minutes.
You desperately want to be able to take your shirt off in the pool this summer without feeling like you need some extra support.
And you’re bloated. Last night you had yet ANOTHER holiday party.
Every single one you tell yourself, “I’ll just eat some turkey and a salad.” And at every single one, you end up eating four pieces of pie and drinking way too much.
Every. Single. One.
“What’s wrong with me?” you ask. “Where’s my self control?”
And you know what’s coming up in the next week and a half.
Christmas Eve. Christmas Day. Another 3 or 4 holiday parties. Multiple nights eating out at restaurants. New Year’s Eve. The food fest while watching the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day.
You know it’ll be fun.
But you know it’ll be another 7 or 8 times you’re going to stuff your face silly.
You know you will. Why even try to stop it? You’ll just give in anyways. Might as well not even fight it.
But 2014 will be different.
You promise. You swear. You’re gonna finally do it. For your kids. For your wife. For your family.
And you have a plan this time.
You’ve seen The Biggest Loser.
You’ve watched the P90X infomercials. You know what it takes.
Hard work. Discipline. Dedication. Commitment. Work ethic.
And you’ve got it. You’ve got all of that and then some. You have to. You have no other choice.
You begin the week after New Year’s. Game on. Let’s do this thing.
The first week passes, and you barely make it through. This stuff is hard work.
You can barely get through the workouts. Pull-ups? Are you serious?
You can barely do a push-up, let alone a pull-up.
But you keep at it. You keep bustin’ your ass. I mean, come on, the saying is “Do your best and forget the rest,” right?
So you do. And you start to eat a little better, too.
More fruits. More veggies. No more pop. Gonna finally do this thing right.
You’re feeling pretty good about yourself. Two weeks pass. You step on the scale. You’re down 9 pounds.
“Holy crap!” you think, “If I keep that pace up, I’ll be down 50 pounds in three months! I’ll be trim in no time!”
So, with motivation at an all-time high, you keep at it.
The workouts are a bear.
You find yourself cussing at the television screen on an almost daily basis.
Some mornings, you can barely roll yourself out of bed you’re so damn sore.
But it’s worth it. It’s totally gonna be worth it.
You know how awesome it’ll feel this summer to be able to take your shirt off without embarrassment?
So, two more weeks pass. You step on the scale again.
You were on point with your diet for the entire time. Your workouts have been better and better.
You feel like you’re getting stronger.
You predict a weight loss even greater than the 9 pounds you lost in the first two weeks.
Grinning, you step on the scale. And you look down. And you’ve lost………….
……….one more pound.
Huh? What? What the hell happened?
How is that possible? You busted your ass for fourteen straight days! Are you freaking kidding me? You’re barely eating!
You’ve even been eating KALE for pete’s sake! How did you only lose one pound?
Whatever. Who cares. This sucks. Screw this. You get pissed. And pick up the phone. “Hi, I’d like to have a pizza delivered, please…….”
You’ve been good for a month solid.
Just one night. You’ve earned it.
So you order a pizza. And breadsticks. And a 2-liter of soda. And some cinnamon sticks for dessert.
And damn, it sure tastes good.
Stuffed and happy, you go to bed.
“That was soooo good,” you say to yourself.
But you’ll be back on track tomorrow.
No more crap food; that was a one-time thing.
You’re gonna re-dedicate yourself to the plan. Game on. Again.
The next morning, you step on the scale to see what damage you’re gonna have to undo. And you realize…………….
………you’re right back where you started. You gained back every single one of those ten pounds in one night.
You feel dejected. Defeated.
Is this really what it takes? One month’s worth of progress completely wiped out by one night’s worth of food?
Unreal. You feel like crying.
Maybe it’s impossible to finally get lean.
Maybe it’s too damn hard. Maybe this is just simply what “adult life” is like. You’re never gonna lose that belly. You need to accept this as reality. It’s just not going to happen.
You can’t eat healthy, bad-tasting food and workout like a mad man for the rest of your life, can you?
So you shrug your shoulders.
And jump in the car to go get some donuts.
This very scenario plays itself out to many, many New Year’s Resolutioners. If it sounds familiar, you’re not alone.
Most resolutioners have some issues with weight management.
There’s a few things you’re going to need to know in order to make your weight loss permanent. And here they are, in no particular order.
1. Make your fitness plan sustainable.
Do not tell yourself you’re going to run five days per week if you’re not a runner.
Don’t go buy an infomercial product starring Shaun T or Tony Horton.
Don’t tell yourself you’re going to “elliptical” for an hour each day.
Make a small change. You can add to it later.
Jumping into the fitness game going from 0 to 60 in two seconds all but ensures you’ll burn out quickly.
2. Realize that you WILL lose weight quickly if you change your diet – for a week or two.
But it’s quite simply NOT fat.
It’s water weight from eating more whole foods and less processed crap.
It’s the fact that you’re probably consuming less carbs than you used to.
It’s the fact that your cells have less glycogen in them.
It’s the fact that your stomach simply has less food in it.
It’s the fact that you’re eating less sodium than you used to.
But again, it is NOT fat. And since it’s not fat loss, your weight will NOT continue to fall like that forever.
So when it only decreases by a couple of pounds in weeks 3 and 4, don’t get upset.
It WILL happen. I promise.
3. When the weight loss slows, accept it as part of your reality.
It’s not a reason to abort mission or change course.
If you are substantially overweight, you can lose up to two pounds of fat per week.
But most of us probably want to cap our weekly weight loss at around one pound. Perhaps less if you’re a female.
Every time you step on the scale and you’re less than you used to be, it’s a success, no matter how small the difference is.
Besides, scales are faulty anyways.
4. When you do “crack” for the first time on your new diet – everybody does – and you step on the scale – the number you see isn’t fat gain, either.
Remember how you lost 9 pounds in two weeks?
Do you really think you gained 9 pounds in one night?
Do you really understand what 9 pounds of fat equates to, calorie wise? That’s roughly 31,500 calories.
Unless you ate pounds of pure lard, that quite frankly did not happen.
When you see the number after your “cheat meal”, be rational. Be informed. It’s water; it’s not fat.
No reason to do anything differently.
5. If you have an end date in mind for your program, you’ve already lost.
This is so important it needs repeating.
IF YOU HAVE AN END DATE IN MIND, YOU’VE ALREADY LOST!!!!
Fitness is a journey. It’s not a destination.
Should you have goals? Of course. But once you accomplish them, simply make new ones.
No fit person ever said they were going to “get in shape for a wedding”, and then stop.
If you truly want to win the battle of the bulge, it’s gonna have to be forever. Not just today.
So be rational, informed, and intelligent with your resolutions this year. I wish you the best of luck. Hopefully 2014 will find you in good spirits, good health, and ready to conquer the world.
All anyone can ask for is that each year is better than the last. I know mine sure was. And it’s my sincere wish that yours is, too.
Happy New Year’s, everyone!