It’s that time of year where we overcome the fatigue from holiday eating and traveling. Now it is time to get back into that healthy lifestyle of eating healthy foods and working out. However, one question to ask is: How many times has “Diet and Exercise” been on your new year’s resolution list?
For many, it is an annual “renewal” of contracting yourself to exercising like crazy, eating salads and cutting carbohydrates. To soon find that this lifestyle is challenging, and once March rolls around, it is time to go back to old habits. If this is the case, ask yourself: What has not worked?
Typically, one of the most common mistakes is that people go to the extreme and go from 0 to 60 mph in a couple days. For example, let’s assume a 50 year old man who weighs 250 pounds wants to lose weight. He has been sedentary for 10 years and has a desk job. He says, “Tis the new year for a new me.” He goes out and buys a pair of fancy, barefoot Vibram five-finger shoes, purchases a gym membership and starts the Atkins Diet. With good intentions he goes to the gym five days per week and works out between 60 to 75 minutes per day. After six to eight weeks, he is tired, his knees hurt and he’s dying for a pizza.
If this sounds familiar than here is some of the reasoning and ideas to help alleviate persistent struggles:
1. People go from nothing to the extreme something. Hence the 0 to 60 mph example.
2. A 50 year old man has 50 years of eating carbohydrates, walking on cushioned, modern running shoes and being sedentary. It would be best for this guy to keep his regular running shoes, and commence an exercise regimen of three days per week and regulating portion control before drastic cutting of food groups.
3. The “It’s a marathon, not a sprint” metaphor truly is the case for many lifestyle changes. Gaining 50 pounds does not happen overnight and neither does weight loss.
4. Start with one goal and once this goal is becoming “routine” or effortless, then try to start a change in another area. Doing too many things at once and too fast is similar to “Information overload”, which may lead to disappointment.
Remember start small and pat yourself on the back for making the effort. That in itself is the toughest place to start.