Having worked in the fitness industry for over 10 years now, this is a frequent topic and something I have often wrestled with too.
My own thoughts on this, which are taken from personal experience with myself and clients and from hours of reading, is that it seems to come down to having the wrong mindset

I hear all the time that people need the motivation to exercise, eat healthy, plan meals etc. But, because of an apparent lack of willpower comments are made like it’s too hard, there’s no time, our lives are busy and it all seems so far out of reach. Although we all know that improving and/or maintaining good health always makes us feel so much better and will be good for us, in the long run, many still cannot seem to maintain it long term.

For example, say someone puts on weight due to poor food choices, a stressful job, being sedentary, etc. and then goes on a weight loss shake diet and joins a gym for 12 weeks, loses some weight and reaches a goal, now what? Well, invariably they then go back to what they were doing before, put weight back on (and usually a bit more for good measure) within a few months and end up back at square one. When questioned why this happened they usually blame it on falling off the wagon, kids, job, motivation… yet in my mind, the plan was a means to an end and they never learned anything about changing their lifestyle for the better which is usually the underlying problem. I don’t think that we are all inherently lazy, it was just that the 12-week program was unsustainable and it was temporary easy fix. I guess we as humans are also like water, we will take the path of least resistance, old ingrained habits are easy and we find solace in the familiar, we do the same things each and every day because it takes less conscious thought and considerably less effort and maybe despite being overweight and physically unfit we still feel relatively healthy, so why worry about it now, there’s always tomorrow!

Make it normal.
People always say to us it’s easy for you! Well, it may appear so from the outside, but like everything worthwhile it does take work to maintain, whether it’s a house, car, marriage they all need attention to stay working. The thing Karen and I may do differently is that we make it “normal”. Exercising 3-4 times per week and eating a healthier diet and not making it a temporary thing for a while to achieve a goal, has worked for us for years. Now admittedly if you’re reading this and weight loss is the primary goal then you have to be strict initially, but later down the road maintenance does allow for some leeway with the 80/20 rule applying in most cases. It just seems counterintuitive to us to have the opportunity to lead a healthier lifestyle and yet choose to not do so. It also pays dividends to relax a little and get past the minutia of worrying about hitting 10,000 steps each day or worrying about 10 calories here and there by taking a 20,000 ft. view of what you’re trying to achieve long term. Leading a healthier lifestyle can also empower you to be an educator and role model for those around you too.

Making it a normal part of life can attract some comments and looks from people but believe me, it really is ok to be different!

Richard Insley PTS, HWL, OAS

2016-11-02 21:33:34