According to Women’s Health magazine, close to 80 per cent of women say they would feel better about themselves if they could lose a few pounds.
Not overly Earth-shattering. Most people would like to lose a couple pounds. The interesting thing about the research, however, was that more than half of women who exercise become depressed after losing five per cent of their weight.
I guess you can think of it this way: You’ve decided to scale an imposing mountain slope while your friend reclines at the chalet, enjoying mountain views through the golden hues of her chardonnay.
At 100 feet, having scaled five per cent of the distance, you look up and see nothing but more hard work. Glancing back, you see your friend, glass raised, pointing to an empty seat. This doesn’t help – nor does the 120-pound, 20-year-old skipping down the mountain in the opposite direction. “That was fun! Check out my selfie from the top! Hey, weren’t we in the same group?”
You know, nothing worth having comes without a fight.
“Yes, yes, thanks for the sage advice. I’m eating lettuce, dragging kettlebells around the room and you want me to be patient … stay the course … keep my eyes on the prize. Grrr! Maybe, the prize is a big hunk of cake waiting for me in the fridge.”
Weight loss is never easy, but developing a long-term vision with tactics that address setbacks can help remedy a lot of short term frustration. Whether you’ve lost five per cent of your bodyweight or you’re sitting at the chalet contemplating a summit push, consider these pointers to help with your climb.
1. Sometimes climbing solo can be a lonely trip. Well-meaning friends and family who don’t share your vision can unintentionally derail your efforts. If the common element in your relationship is eating and drinking, there is a sense of loss. They want the old you back. Find someone to share the journey who has similar goals and challenges. They can offer much-needed support and companionship.
2. Never scale a Class 5 slope without a guide. Share the cost of a trainer with a friend. One-size-fits-all routines pulled from magazines or shared from YouTube aren’t the answer. Exercise should be tailored to your present conditioning (or lack thereof), goals, motivation, knowledge and experience.
3. Maybe you weren’t fazed when that first person handed in their paper 15 minutes into the final exam — just a harrumph as you continued reading the instruction page. As numbers dwindled, panic set in and confidence melted like ice cream on a two-year-old. Never measure against accomplished high performers or the genetically gifted. Focus on your own work. Comparing yourself to others will rock your confidence and bring you down. Go directly to point four.
4. Don’t fixate on setbacks. Stay focused on the positive, as negative thoughts have a way of coming true. Even if you have to fake it, send affirmative messages to your brain. “I can do it” will be perceived as truth. Keep telling your brain where you’re going even if you’ve taken a step backwards. Eat too much on the weekend? Great, now back to work. Guilt adds calories.
5. Special occasions such as destination weddings are a great but false motivator. When margaritas stop flowing, motivation dries up and exercise routines disappear. Those who lose weight and keep it off are in it for the long haul. If a specific event is spurring your exercise routine, ensure you hit the gym as soon as you return to “normal life” to re-establish healthy habits. Good news! You haven’t lost any ground as conditioning will still be relevant — and a few pounds of fun are easily burned off.
After the initial excitement of starting a weight loss program wears off, you are left with the sober reality of hard work. Prepare for this inevitable lull. Resilience is a skill that demands practice. Give in too early and you may never discover your potential.
The turtle wasn’t fast or strong. He simply kept going. The more you stick at it, the better you become at moving forward during tough times.