Just the right push to succeed!
Write it Down
Most of us will avoid the scale, mirror, being in pictures, and the nutritional facts when we’re in a fitness lull. Sometimes the truth is easier to ignore than it is to face. And contrary to popular belief…ignorance is not bliss!
A recent article in the August issue of the American Journal of Preventative Medicine reported on a study of weight loss techniques. It found that dieters who kept a food log six or more days a week lost twice as much as those that did not! That’s hard evidence to ignore. Those that keep food diaries lost 18 pounds during the 6-month study while those that did not keep food diaries lost 9 pounds.
If we don’t record our workouts and what we eat, how will we ever know if we’re improving? It’s a hard habit to get into. I’ve probably started and stopped a food log about 20+ times in the last 5 years. But I can attest to its effectiveness. Simply cutting back is very subjective and not near as effective. Don’t be afraid of the truth. Stare it down. Analyze it. And make a plan to improve.
Most successful companies use metrics to measure their success and plan improvements for their future. Why not use the same logic for our health and fitness. Make up some fitness metrics and do your best to stick to them. Write a pact with yourself, a mission statement or whatever will forge your commitment. I know it sounds corny, but what better cause is there than life?
Writing down exact amounts and calories can be painful, but over time it will change your habits. The study referenced above might be new, but its findings should not have surprised us. The difference between writing down the food that we eat and not writing it down is dedication & commitment to ourselves. If you want it to work, make it a priority and DO IT. Recording calories gets easier over time and before you know it will become part of your daily routine.
Recording calories will shine a bright light on areas to improve. For example, it only takes a few 1500-calorie entries for a fast-food meal for you to realize that it may be better to pack a lunch. And after a few straight days of writing down that mid-afternoon 240-calorie soda, you might think about switching to water of diet soda. Once we see our habits written down on paper, we’re more likely to change the bad ones. And be sure to write down every bite!
Your actions could lead to a longer and happier life, be an inspiration for others, and serve as an example for your children and loved ones to follow. Nothing feels better than measuring improvement. Write it down and watch your weight and food bill go down…and your self-esteem go up!
Some heroes get a certificate, medal, trophy or an award. But there are other heroes that quietly walk among us that you may not recognize. In their humility, their stories are slow to come out, but once told it makes you realize the strength and resolve of the human spirit, and the fact that there’s very little that we truly can’t accomplish.
Coach Jim has such a story. Jim is one of our community baseball coaches, but he’s not just any coach. He’s the kind of guy that goes to the field 3 hours before the game to make sure that all is in place. He’s the kind of guy that holds special one-on-one pitching practice for nervous little leaguers taking the mound for the first time. He’s the kind of guy that has plaques made for no-hitters and has the kind of team parties and award ceremonies that make the kids yearn all year for the next season. And if his story stopped there it would be an incredible one, but it doesn’t…
Four years ago, Jim was a smoker and over 40 pounds heavier. Having his own construction company, he got used to meals on the go and a lifestyle that was far from healthy. A former high school track star, he remembers looking at a picture of himself at a water park and wondering, what happened to me?!
Coach Jim changed. He hasn’t smoked in over 4 years and has taken his running routine from leisurely jogs to 5ks and now to long distance running. Last winter he finished the Disney World ½ Marathon (at a sub-7 minute pace)!! He has inspired many other neighborhood runners and kids to get into fitness and running. He also changed his eating habits and even coaxed our local pizzeria into coming up with low-calorie menu items! Next on his to-do list: qualify for the Boston Marathon. Go Jim!!
What makes Jim so special (aside from his selfless and gracious character) is the fact that despite many obstacles, he succeeded and continues to succeed. Not because he had it easy…far from it. He quit smoking and stopped a frightening weight gain trend. He found time to run in an industry that has little or any “free” time. Jim ignored the trap of complacency and embraced change. Jim makes time to exercise and to live healthy because it’s important to him, his future, and to his family and friends. He’s committed to it. Coach Jim is a role model and an inspiration. He succeeded because he wanted to succeed and because he works hard at it.
So the next time you struggle getting out of bed for a morning run or ponder skipping that set of push-ups and crunches, think about the people that you may inspire and the success story that you have yet to write. The world needs motivators…more success stories….more people like Coach Jim.
Exercise of the Month:
Take the Stairs!
Do you take the elevator or escalator on a daily basis? Do you pile things at the bottom of your steps to “save” yourself the trip? If so, than the stairs may be an easy and convenient calorie-burner addition to your daily routine. You can burn 100-150 calories for every 10 minutes of stair-climbing that you do. By walking up stairs for only 10 minutes a day, you’ll be burning 10-15 pounds of fat per year! Look at your daily habits and see where you can fit some extra stair-climbing in through your day. Take the longer path to your office…walk up and down a few sets of stairs at lunch….take one pile of laundry up the stairs at a time (instead of 3 baskets ;-)….think about your day, and I’m sure that you’ll be able to find lots of ways to add some stairs. Taking the stairs may seem like a small and insignificant task, but the benefits of this exercise really add up over time and could be a real difference-maker in your life.
If you have any feedback (positive or negative), success stories to share, or suggestions for future articles, please feel free to drop us a line. We’d love to hear from you and we take all feedback, suggestions...and yes, even criticism very seriously. We’ll use this information to improve our newsletter and The Fitness Motivator site to help you and others like you attain your fitness goals.
Encouragement to Succeed!
P.S. - Please feel free to forward this to a friend!