What is it?
You ate the salad. You ran the mile. You skipped the chips. Why, oh why, are you not at your weight loss goals yet?
Ever had some of those thoughts run through your head? You are not alone.
We are a culture of instant gratification and instant access. We would love a magic bullet, a delicious tea, or a secret ingredient that puts us on the fast track to weight loss and muscle gain, but here’s the truth. That tea isn’t the golden ticket. Consistency is.
Not so glamorous, eh?
We tend to ebb and flow with our feelings but, to be honest, even the fittest among us have their days (probably more than you can count) of simply not feeling like going to the gym or tracking what they eat…but they do…and that’s ultimately why they are where they are. It’s not the one day or the one meal that gets us to where we want to go. The little decisions that we make each day that compound over time and lead us to one of two places: success or blame. Check out Joel’s favourite book,
The Slight Edge
, to learn more about how small decisions each day move us in one direction or the other. We are in a constant state of motion.
Consistently taking manageable steps toward your goals pays you back in dividends. Here’s how:
: Drastic weight loss and gain is hard on your body. The National Institutes of Health has even found that yo-yo dieting often leads to higher body fat percentages, as body fat is more easily gained than muscle mass in the weight gain phase between diets. The higher that body fat percentage becomes after a series of gains and losses, the more at risk you become for metabolic syndromes that can lead to heart attack, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. Gradual and committed change may not be as satisfying as a quick 50 lb weight loss to start, but the likelihood of keeping off excess weight and making healthy, long-term lifestyle changes is MUCH higher.
: Nobody likes to be called a quitter – least of all, perhaps, when it becomes the narrative that we regularly tell ourselves. Starting and stopping healthy lifestyle choices can lead to a dangerous internal (and external) narrative. “I’m a flake.” “I can’t keep it up.” “I always quit.” Those thoughts become our words, which become our mindset, which influences our choices. Over time, the battle to get healthy becomes just as emotional as it is physical. Tell yourself instead that you can flexibly pursue your goals with determination. Drive toward those goals knowing that seasons of life and unforeseeable circumstances may throw your course for a loop, but you are elastic. You will stretch and find room to pursue your health and you will celebrate your victories even if it isn’t how you thought it would look when you started.
: The cost of health care and treatment for highly avoidable illnesses like metabolic syndromes is consistently under scrutiny, and the impact is extraordinary. But the financial burden of unhealthy lifestyle choices impacts not only our communal economy, but your individual one as well. Meals out. Replacing clothes. Health care costs. Start-up fees. Wage loss from sickness. Life insurance premiums. Productivity. It takes just $27.40 of miscellaneous spending each day to waste $10,000 a year. How much of that random spending goes to meals out, sugary coffees, and beers with friends? Save your wallet and your health by making consistently healthy choices that leave you eating fresh and local food (mostly) at home, making your own coffee and tea without the extra sugar, wearing the same clothes year and year, and being around to support and care for your family.
Like we said before, it isn’t always glamorous to show up day after day doing the things you know you should. Your kids aren’t up cheering for you when you leave for the gym at 5:00am so you can be home on time to put them on the bus, and no one pops the bubbly because you chose to fill your plate with more veggies than dinner rolls (honestly they might even laugh that you bring a food scale to the table).
BUT consistency does pay.
It pays in body fat loss and muscle mass that lasts, it pays when you call yourself an “athlete/runner/CrossFitter.” It pays when your momentum takes you against the current and toward your goals. And that’s not all, find a community that will celebrate your consistency even when you forget to. You’re stronger than you think, but even the best of us needs a cheerleader every once in a while.