Clients commonly tell us how every aspect of living a healthy lifestyle is “hard.”
Working out is hard. Eating right is hard. Staying on track is hard, and life itself is hard.
Usually, when someone says this to me, I ask what specifically is hard? The answer is usually an issue over time or effort. But, is it truly too hard?
Let me tell you about “Samantha.” Samantha joined our gym a few months back having to lose about 100 pounds. And, to her credit, she’s dropped about 40 in only 15 weeks — or approximately three pounds a week. But, after two weeks of seeing no loss, she said, “I’m so frustrated trying to get the weight off. I should just give up.”
Believe me, I’ve been there myself.
A few years back, I lost 120 pounds. It took me nearly 15 months to do it. And, I had weeks at a time where I didn’t lose a pound. Frustrated doesn’t even begin to describe it.
So how did I get through it? With a little advice from “Star Wars.”
Star Wars creator George Lucas incorporated just as much philosophy and spirituality into his sci-fi fantasy as he did conflict and drama. As an example, a mentor speaks to his struggling apprentice and shares the advice, “your focus becomes your reality.” For context, the apprentice was a young Anakin Skywalker, and for those of you who have not watched the films (the statute of limitations requiring a spoiler alert has long since expired), Anakin fails to heed his teacher’s warnings, focuses on the negative, and becomes the evil Darth Vader.
And, as I struggled with weeks of not losing weight, I remembered those words and that lesson. You see, like Samantha, when I struggled I realized I was focusing on the immediate struggle of having not lost weight, instead of remembering the success of having lost 50 pounds. In Samantha’s case, she viewed herself as a failure because she was focused on only those two weeks and lost sight of her overall success. That was, it was getting harder for her for her to accept that what she was doing was working. And because of that focus on the negative it became her reality.
We teach our clients that when losing weight your goal should be to lose one to two pounds a week. That is success. And, Samantha not only had done that, she had exceeded it.
Yet, she felt like she had failed because her focus on those two weeks without losing weight had become her reality. (“I’m a failure because of the last two weeks.”)
Samantha is not alone. We see it all the time. Let’s face it, when someone says it’s hard to lose weight, they are right. It’s not easy.
It takes hard work and dedication, but the truth is, if you stick to it, you will get there.
The problem for most is sticking to it. For you to see to see results, you have to accept the inevitable reality that there will be weeks when you won’t lose weight. In fact, there will be weeks when you will gain weight. It’s a fact and one most people have a hard time accepting.
And, if they don’t accept this fact, then what? Well, no doubt many of you reading this know what I’m going to say, because you’ve done it yourself.
They give up.
Why? Because their focus was on the negative.
So, if you have struggled with sticking to a weight loss program, if you’re the type of person who gives up easily when the going gets tough remember those words and focus instead on how far you’ve come.
Decide for yourself to keep going and you will succeed in spite of the obstacles. You will get the weight off no matter what it takes. You will focus on long term success. Because when you do that, focus will lead to success.
Dan Romand is co-owner and operator of Full Circle Fitness-NY in Colonie, where he is also a certified personal trainer. You can read his Health & Fitness column here and online at The Spot518.com.