How could this happen?
I assure you, it’s NOT a lack of willpower, or about laziness, or genes. Nor is it because you lack one thing: one special herb or seed or extract, or special piece of equipment, or a celebrity trainer’s program or a celebrity’s meal plan.
Two thirds of us are overweight and it’s NOT because we need any of those things that are so heavily (as in BILLIONS of $) promoted as solutions.
Rather, it’s the result of combining these 5 factors:
1. cheap, high calorie “nonfood” available everywhere +
2. too much sitting (jobs/driving) +
3. marketing and advertising posing as education +
4. a lack of knowledge about how our bodies really work +
5. less leisure time.
How do we overcome these factors? By deciding to changes things and then committing. With a plan.
But all too often, we fail to plan. It’s not easy. Staying where we are is easy. Change is not. Partly because change always precipitates more change. But if you make a plan, it will make a difference.
To make a good plan, one you can actually execute consistently, you need 5 things:
1. Get educated. For real. Pick up a current text book (a lot has changed in terms of research) on human physiology and read it. Everything you need to know is there. Then, when you see a product ad, you will know if it’s legit without having to “buy and try.”
If you haven’t time to read the text, hire a professional. This knowledge is so important, my trainers have degrees in Physiology and Exercise Science and Personal Trainer Certifications. We are professionals committed to this field. In other words, this is our day job. Keeping up is really a 40hr/week job. That’s what you should look for if you turn to a professional.
2. After you’re educated, make a plan. And plan big. Plan your workouts and your nutrition. Not just for this week, but for the next few months. Know that it will be harder than you think. Plan for that! What obstacles will you run into? Rain? Cold? Weddings, birthdays, holidays. It’s easy to get derailed.
When you get offtrack, re-take the reins. Miss a workout? When’s the next one? Party coming? Decide ahead of time what you will indulge in–one (small) piece of cake, one glass of wine–or 2 plates of food and one drink–and then absolutely enjoy it. If the big picture is healthy and well-planned, one piece of cake isn’t going to destroy your progress. Imagine ahead of time how much you will enjoy what you’ve chosen. And when the time comes, do it. You already gave yourself permission. You’re not cheating. It’s part of the BIG plan.
Most important thing: DO NOT GIVE IN TO SELF-LOATHING.
3. Spend enough time practicing for pitfalls. Figure out ahead of time how you will react if you miss a workout or eat junk one day. Make this part of your plan: Forgive yourself, press reset, and get back on track.
4. Let go of perfection (see self-loathing above). We are mere mortals, imperfect by definition. Expect things to go wrong occasionally. They always do. If you can learn something from a failure, great! If not, move on. It’s already in the past and no longer exists. Press that reset button and start fresh.
5. Be kind to yourself. It’s very difficult to make good choices consistently when we are swimming in bad choices. Keep in mind, it’s all advertising, designed to push your Buy Now button. And it’s everywhere: on every screen we look at, on every package we pick up, in every restaurant or grocer we visit, in all print media. It’s exhausting. Really. If we allow ourselves to float aimlessly on this sea of disinformation trying to make sense of it, we fatigue and eventually grab at SOME thing. Something feels better than nothing. That’s how we develop a trial-and-error-drain-our-bank-account practice when it comes to our health and fitness.
To re-cap, here’s what we need to do more of:
1. Eat only whole, real food
2. Move as much and as intensively as possible
3. Educate ourselves about how our body really works; or hire a professional to help with numbers 1-3
4. Ignore all advertising and marketing
5. Work smarter, not harder. Work the plan. Nothing else matters.
Choose, commit, educate, plan. And do the best you can. You CAN do this!