I remember when I first started this struggle of developing a healthy lifestyle. It was the summer of 2006 when I woke up one morning and looked like I was the pregnant one in the family (my wife was six to seven months pregnant with our daughter at the time). That afternoon I went to the local gym where I had a membership and they were having a contest, so I signed up. The contest cost $200 and the winner of the contest was refunded their money. I was determined to win because we didn’t have an extra $200 in the budget. I was focused for that month and lost over 20lbs and won the contest. It only took me eighteen months to gain that weight back along with a few additional pounds.
But, what I remember most about that short time working with a trainer was our conversation after my first workout. He asked me, “What are your goals?” I answered, “I don’t know, lose 10-15lbs.” Then he said, “I don’t mean your short-term goals, what are your ultimate goals? If you got serious about your health, what would happen?” I think I gave him a weight goal that day. It really didn’t have the impact on me that it should have had.
Since then my path to a healthy lifestyle has been like the Texas Cyclone, the roller coaster I grew up on at the Six Flags amusement park that was in Houston at the time. If you were one of my friends that used to live our summers at the park, you would know what it was like…the slow climb to the top, the view of the Houston skyline, then the sudden drop and for the next 90 seconds we were being jerked around (especially if we were in the last car) and going up and down hills faster than we could imagine, only to end up where we started. That’s been the story of my weight loss journey for the last five years. I’ve slowly inched up the mountain thinking I was finally reaching my goals only to take a huge drop by going back to bad habits and gaining all my weight back again.
I’ve done everything. I’ve restarted P90X so many times that I can do Phase 1 in my sleep. I’ve vowed to never eat at another fast food restaurant, only to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner there for a week (to make up for the two weeks I actually held to my commitment). And as I was on the four hour slow-carb diet I turned a cheat day into a cheat month. This past month I have gone back up to 235.8lbs (the most I’ve ever weighed is 236lbs).
Can you relate? Have you set goals for yourself and might have even started a program only to abandon it and return to the old way of life. Let’s face it; developing a healthy lifestyle is hard. If it was easy there would be no multi-billion dollar fitness industry.
This past week I’ve made some commitments and changes that I will help me get back on the right path in this journey.
I’ve had a wake-up call. As I write this post today my dad is in surgery having a defibrillator inserted into his body. Dad should be okay. He’s resting right now and has to stay overnight for observation. Since I’m now over forty, these things affect me more than they would have ten years ago. I know you can’t prevent every illness in the world from happening (it seems like EVERYTHING causes cancer in today’s world), but I want to do what I can to improve my quality of life.
I recommitted myself. Do you realize how a healthy lifestyle affects every other area of your life? I’m not just talking about how eating healthy makes you feel better. But, I also realized how much more productive and energized I am throughout the day by just spending twenty to thirty minutes doing some type of cardio in the morning. I’ve learned these lessons the hard way over the past month by missing them when they weren’t there. Not to mention the mental state you go through when you see your stomach blowing up like a balloon. It was hard to look in the mirror over the last month, until the other morning when I made myself look and ask, “Is this what you want?” That morning I looked at myself in disgust for several minutes and made the commitment to change.
I took time to answer the question, “What are your ultimate goals?” I actually thought about it this time and came up with the following five things:
(1) I want to weigh between 150-160lbs.
(2) I want my cholesterol rating to be under 150.
(3) I want to hike the Grand Canyon.
(4) I want to take an extended bike trip on the road.
(5) I want to participate in a triathlon.
I decided to make a game out of it. This is how I overcame call reluctance in my sales career and still use this technique when I get stuck. I make a game out of it and compete against myself. I set up a scoring system and always tried to score more points than the week before. I’ve applied this principle with weight loss. I created a series of thirty day challenges to help me stay motivated. I will share more about this in the next post.
I found some accountability. I got an e-mail from a local trainer having a special this month. He needed a beta group for a 28-day flat belly program he’s creating. I had some extra birthday money, so I signed up. I don’t have the budget to make this a long-term solution, but it will give me a push in the right direction. During the next month I will build some more accountability into my system.
I got off the couch. This is the most important factor. I could do all the things mentioned above, but if I don’t get off the couch and start making changes then it’s all for naught. In fact, when I signed up for the program I mentioned above I made the conscious choice to get in the 6am class to help break my habit of getting up in the morning and getting on the couch for a nap.
That’s it. It’s simple, but hard at the same time. I’ve also recommitted myself to this blog, because it is a form of accountability. What are you doing? Have you failed several times like I have in this weight loss journey? Don’t give up!!!!
What’s your process for developing a healthy lifestyle? If you don’t have one you can use the process above or at least do the following three things:
- Admit you need to change. Even if it takes several minutes of staring at yourself in the mirror.
- Decide on one thing you can do within the next week to start the process.
- Then GET OFF THE COUCH!!!!