Have you ever been on a health and fitness rollercoaster? I’m sure many of you have, me being no exception. You hear about a great new diet or fitness trend from a friend, or see it on the internet. You do some minimal research, but really get convinced by the dramatic before-and-after photos, along with amazing testimonials. This prompts you to get new workout clothes, and maybe even gets you to get rid of all the sugary foods in your kitchen in preparation for your new, healthy lifestyle. You just know that this is the one that will work!
You’re pumped! You feel great about this new healthy venture. You’re happy…on a mission…committed. However, after several weeks of being “all in,” the numbers on the scale have hardly moved. You stare at yourself in the mirror, but you’re not really sure–do I look different?
The novelty of this new routine has worn off…you’re not seeing the dramatic changes you thought you would see from the before-and-after photos. You’re finding it more difficult to get up early to get to the gym. The diet you were sticking to so diligently is losing its luster, and the foods you were able to limit early on in your “new you” lifestyle are now more tempting than ever. Are you forever doomed to failure? It doesn’t have to be this way…
Why don’t diets and training programs always work?
The harsh reality is that all diets and training programs require work...hard work! It means working out when you don’t always feel up to it. It means staying committed beyond the initial 2-4 week “honeymoon” period. It means staying motivated. But the fact of the matter is that many individuals are sucked in by the marketing efforts you may fall victim to. You are led to believe that these before-and-after photos are the norm, that you’ll be buying into a fail proof plan to achieve your healthiest dreams, that you’ll see life-changing results in no time.
Imagine if you saw before-and-after photos of people after 4 months, and the photos looked identical…or photos of individuals eating their favorite snack food…or photos of people who were struggling to make it through the simplest of workouts. Think you’d shell out some big bucks for that dream lifestyle? Of course not! But what you end up buying into is the ultimate outcome, the dream! That’s what the marketers are hoping you’ll do…but when you get a few weeks or a month into this new, amazing lifestyle change and you’re not seeing the results you thought you were buying into, then you start having self-doubts…and you start to lose your motivation, and you slowly revert back into your old habits…”maybe that wasn’t for me” you say to yourself.
So why doesn’t one size fit all?
You really have to go back to the basics here–everyone is different, and it’s especially true with health and fitness. Your stomachs handle food differently…your bodies react differently to certain types of training. While one person may love a particular type of workout, another person may dread that same routine. Unfortunately, the advertisers leave out these nuances, leading you to believe that their product or trend is just what you’re looking for, regardless of who you are or what you need.
So what’s the answer? What is the best workout routine on the market today? The answer is quite simple...the best diet and the best exercise program out there is the one you can stick with! Every one of you needs to find a workout program that you can do on a consistent basis. You have to get your bodies in the habit of moving daily. And that goes for diets as well–you need to find a way of eating healthy that fits your lifestyle each and every day.
In order to get healthier you need to be able to try different things, and you have to be able to listen to your body in order to make the positive lifestyle changes that you can stick with for the long haul. So as you can see, there really is no such thing as “one size fits all” in the health and fitness world. There is only that which will work for you as individuals. I’m by no means saying it’ll be easy, ’cause it won’t! But the end result will be oh so worth it!
So how do you go about determining which workout program and which diet will really help you to feel happy and healthy for the long haul? Start by asking yourself 4 simple questions to determine what is right for you:
1) Is it something I enjoy?–Notice I didn’t say “obsessed.” But you do need to enjoy it enough to get past the resistance your brain will give you once the novelty of it wears off. And along those same lines is asking yourself the opposite question–“Is it something that I dread doing?” If you answered “yes” to this question, then this truly isn’t the diet or workout program for you.
2) Can I stick with it?–I get it–everyone has different schedules. Even though you may absolutely love what you’re doing, the time commitment must be sustainable, otherwise you’re going to burn out. An hour of cardio or 45 minutes of meal prep every day may not be right for you. So start with a time commitment that you know is manageable beyond a reasonable doubt–you can always add additional time down the road at a later date.
3) Do I have like-minded people in my network to support me?–This doesn’t necessarily mean physical, in-person individuals, but you should have access to some type of community. Maybe you like to run–there are hundreds of running forums online where you can learn from and support other individuals who are pursuing a common goal. If you lack this type of community support, you may tend to feel isolated, thus making it easier to quit if you feel like you’re going it alone (and the same goes for dieting as well–you will benefit from a community of like-minded individuals who can provide recipes, tips, and support to keep you motivated).
4) Is it working?–Check your progress after 2 months or so–go back to a workout you performed early on in the beginning of your program. Can you complete it faster? Are you lifting heavier weights and performing more reps? You may also want to check physical markers such as blood pressure, body measurements (body fat), weight, cholesterol, etc.
Do you or someone you know have questions on how to get started with a fitness program? Call my office at once at (302)691-9055 or visit my website at www.wildermanphysicaltherapy.com to schedule your FREE 30 minute consultation to see how Physical Therapy can help. Don’t delay–schedule now