by Robert Reames
Once again, it’s time to ponder those New Year’s resolutions. “I’ll get my finances together this year” and “going to spend more time with the family” and “Leep better contact with close friends.” “I’m going to fix up the house this year.” You or loved one may have these and/or other important resolutions that will become realistic goals and accomplishments for 2008. Then there’s the big one, the granddaddy of all New Year’s resolutions: “this year I’m going to lose the weight. I’m going to find the “diet” that works for me and I’m going to stick to it! I’m really going to make it happen this time.” Momentum will be strong at the onset of the New Year. “I’m going to have the willpower this time and I’m not giving in.”
Many folks all across America and abroad are having sincere thoughts of following through with the commitment to finally lose the weight, to finally be the most fit and healthy version of self. And though these thoughts are true and the desire is deep, the reality is that many and most of all Americans that go on that “diet” this year will fail. Not only will they fail, but at some point within the next three years they will have gained back most if not all weight lost…..AND THEN SOME. The diet industry is approximately a 55 billion dollar industry with a 95% failure rate. Yep, read the numbers.
Think about it for a moment. Think of folks in your life past or present. Those that really are what you would consider fit, healthy and that have total control over their weight and their health. Are they on a diet? Were they ever on a diet? Or do they just live it? Perhaps at some point in their life they just laid down the gauntlet and said “Enough is enough” and changed their lives. Or….they’ve always just lived the lifestyle that supports a healthy weight. They eat, drink, sleep and walk the walk of optimum choices daily and throughout the course of their existence. Less than optimum choices are simply not a part of the plan. And then think about people in your life that have gone on diets. They’ve tried them all and are ever searching for the one that does the trick. Perhaps a day, a week or even months at a time they “stick to it” only to cave once the myth of willpower wears thin and fades away. How they struggle, how they’re looking for the next fad and how they’ve wasted years of precious time, mental anguish and money on a pipe dream that the diet is finally going to give them the results they dream of. Then again they’ll turn around and pump more money into the “diet” industry only to have yet another disappointment. And the diet industry loves the repeat business every year. Do you have picture in your mind of all the above? Are these pictures of friends, co-workers, loved ones? Or perhaps you yourself have been riding the rollercoaster?
Those that go through the “yo-yo” processes of losing the weight on any given “diet” only to gain it back again know exactly what I’m talking about. To see this factor in action just take a look at some of the celebrity magazines and websites on a month-to-month basis. You’ll see this clearly at work. This yo-yo factor of extreme weight fluctuation can increase your chances of heart disease by 70%. And until you get your mind set on the absolute total commitment to be the optimum version of self–or what I call your “Personal Best”–FOR LIFE, your weight and your health will continue to spiral out of control. You’ll be one year older at this time next year still looking for the magic bullet.
So what does it really take to succeed?
Change your perspective, raise your standards and ultimately change your life. Re-think how you see yourself in the arena of health and being the fittest, leanest version of yourself. It is that simple. That’s how it’s done. You must look at the choices you make on a daily basis in the areas of nutrition, exercise, sleep and stress management (Check out my post The Big Four from September) and ask yourself: “What are the consequences of my choices?” If you do this right you’ll only have to do it once and you’ll never have to re-visit this concept again. AND KNOW THAT YOU CAN ABSOLUTELY DO IT. Your daily choices will be automatic and you will have made the permanent changes and altered your perspective to be the healthiest version of you.
But the concept is one thing, your application of the concept of what it takes to be your best in health and at an ideal weight is yet another. For some this may be but a few small but permanent changes. For many it may take a complete 180 degree rotation. And know for sure that if you DO make the life commitment, if it really means enough to you, you’ll do what it takes. That’s worth repeating. It must mean something to you. If you’re wondering why you haven’t had success with your weight in the past, it’s most likely because it simply doesn’t mean enough to you. If it did, you would prioritize, take the action and make it happen. Whether it’s 3, 10, 30, 50 or 300 lbs. you want to take off, and your mindset is everything here. You have to of come to a point in your life where you’re absolutely 100% ready to make a commitment. No turning back. A major shift needs to take place for long term success. Ask yourself, “Do you truly want to take the weight off?”
Anyone can sustain the diet for a short period of time. It’s those like I mentioned above that you know who live it. They’re the folks succeeding in this arena of their life. Take yourself there and you’ll be where you want to be. Two to twelve weeks of the latest fad will give you some short term results but will not permanently do the job. Just like holding the standards high for your job, your business, your relationships, your ability as a parent, as a friend or any commitment that you hold high; this has to be a standard you hold high and true to yourself. And if you do, you’ll reap the benefits. In your job or career you take responsibility, meet deadlines and perform to a certain standard. You strive to continue to move up the ladder of success, have security and feel good about what you do. That’s why you have the job or that successful business of your own. There are other areas as well in your life where you would absolutely not compromise a given standard that you have set for yourself. Add your health to this list. You give 100% you’ll get that back. You give 50%….25%….that will be your return. Your results are always a direct result of your efforts and action. You can’t phone this one in and expect long term success. With permanent changes and unwavering commitment your process will be effortless and easy. You’ll be on automatic. And keep in mind that “Commitment IS the magic bullet” here.
To begin, get the concept of the “diet” out of the picture. Most are temporary plans with temporary results. You may find a certain diet that can give you a good kick start. This can work and be okay. It can give you a start plan and some encouragement from the get go. It will get the ball rolling. But ultimately your long term answer is to incorporate what you already know. Weight control is not as much about food as much as it is your attachment to food. At any given time whether it’s stress, food becoming your friend and counselor, or just “something to do,” food becomes a quick pleasure that temporarily masks the pain or discomfort of a particular situation or time. Weight in many instances is a metaphor for life. You are what you eat. Keep in mind that the food that enters your system is ultimately the “fuel” that drives you, that runs your show. Every meal counts. So begin to create an environment in your life that supports the healthiest version of you; the ultimate version of self. Again your health, your weight and your waistline are all predominantly a result of your entire lifestyle. Does your lifestyle support that of an overweight 40 year old that rarely ever really “feels good”? or the vibrant, healthy, vivacious adult that you know you can be.
And our bodies were made and engineered for locomotion. We have a genetic predisposition for movement. Exercise and physical activity must play a role in your life and at every stage of life. If you sit for most of the day it’s imperative that you get up and move either before, during, after work or at some point during all the above. And you don’t have to be the elite athlete. Stay in your world on this one and do not compare yourself to someone that is totally not in your place. And a little insight here: even some folks you would consider avid gym goers don’t always love going to the gym or grabbing a workout at home or work. But they’ll stay consistent on this train because it’s part of the plan. Again it’s just automatic and wired in as part of the ongoing process. And honor your abilities, your current fitness level and be blessed that you have the physical body that God gave to you to be active. Incorporate your “Personal Best” here at activities that you enjoy. (or dislike the least!) Learn to make this the norm. And if you miss a workout….you’ll make it up.
And get your rest. Folks think they can get by with 3, 4, 5 hours of sleep per night. You can’t do it long term without consequences. Your body absolutely needs nightly rest and recovery. You cannot expect your body or your mind to be at peak levels if you are constantly sleep deprived. It will never happen. Rest your body. Shoot for 8-9 hours of sleep every night. Take a nap when you can. I fully realize that this is not possible to achieve every day in our fast paced and demanding world. My goal is to simply make you aware of it and just how important it is so you can put the concept to work. Studies confirm the link between sleep deprivation and weight gain. Just take note of how much less you crave sugars and starches on a good night’s sleep. Lack of sleep and chronic high stress levels are linked to weight gain as well. Notice when you’re not properly rested, your “fuse” is much smaller and your patience, your stress levels and ultimately your perception and your reactions to what goes on during the course of the day can be dramatically different.
Nearly 70% of adults in America are obese and or overweight. Can we make a significant improvement in these numbers? I believe we can. Centurions (people l00 years and older) are one of the fastest growing segments of the population. Truth is you may have yet another 40, 50, 60 even 70-75 more years on this planet. Question is, what are you going to do with these years? Are you going to be pro-active and possibly avoid or diminish the impact of health issues down the road? Or will you wait for a crisis to make you see the light and then play catch up?
Begin the year 2008 with a new lease on life. Go beyond the New Year’s resolution. Make this a New Life resolution. What’s stopping you? Take control of your destiny. It is that simple. But again I say the concept is one thing but your application of the concept is yet another. Your ultimate health awaits you. You, your family, friends and loved ones will all benefit from your efforts and the high standards for which you hold for your physical body; your health. Have a happy, prosperous 2008 and enjoy your success!