he first thing we do when we decide to get in shape is to start running or working out hard. The harder and longer we work out, we reason, the more weight we will lose and bam!
Eventually, we either tire out and make up excuses for why we cannot keep up such a crazy routine, or we do that routine for months and months and get no where.
Let’s take a closer look at the roadblocks holding us back.
Notice we must first decide to get in shape. This is critical.
Deciding is thinking. Thinking begets doing. Doing begets results. Results are what we want. But without the proper thinking, without the proper way of thinking — attitude — we will not get the kind of results we want.
Sure, we burn off some of the calories we ate that day but it’s what we tell ourselves later that sabotages any of those positive steps.
See if you have any of the following attitudes toward getting in shape.
1) I can’t.
Now let’s stop right there. “I never say that to myself,” you may say. But do you think it?
How many times have you walked past a magazine rack, looked at all those toned-up rock-solid models and just thought, “Must be nice. I can’t look like that.”?
What I am about to say next will evoke this same exact attitude I am taking about. You can!
2) Diets don’t work for me.
You may have tried more diets than you’re willing to admit. You abhor them.
Some may have even worked. But you didn’t understand why they worked. You didn’t incorporate them into your lifestyle.
Each one was a project: Get in shape. Check.
When you decided one wasn’t working, which was probably around the time you started telling yourself, “I can’t,” you stopped and went back to — what wasn’t working.
Your doing followed your attitude.
The reality is, unless you determine that a positive attitude should be a part of your life, making positive progress is extremely difficult.
The right diet can work for you. A “diet” works for me. I call it eating.
Staying healthy is a lifestyle. A philosophy. An approach to life.
In other words, it’s sustainable over the long term. It’s not a fad.
A great diet of natural food without much human processing is a small part of that lifestyle.
Training your body physically in the proper way is another part of that lifestyle.
Proper sleep, low stress, relational health, spiritual health, all play a part.
Diet doesn’t adequately describe the sum total of the habits and thinking that get you to your best. It’s one of the reasons they so often fail.
If the word “diet” makes you uneasy (and there are a lot of diets to feel uneasy about), forget it. Change the way you think about it.
I am not going on a diet. I am making better choices about what goes into my body.
You don’t even have to tell anyone you are doing it. Just do it.
It will be our little secret.
If you get flack from friends and family, that’s their problem. Not yours.
One useful phrase my wife uses to deflect comments about diet, since in her experience people cannot handle the idea you are actually trying to better yourself, is “I’m detoxing right now.”
It has less drama tied to it and sounds less threatening to people.
The next time you are at a birthday party and someone hands you a piece of cake that you just have to eat (says who?), keep passing and smiling. If someone gives you the what for, just politely decline. No reasons. Keep smiling.
Only party poopers will press you any further.
Or how about this? The next time your office refills the candy jar, put it out of your view and find a buddy to hold you accountable to not chowing down on it all day. Good choices. Better eating. No diet.
3) My genetics won’t allow me.
This one is hard. What you are really telling yourself here is that being out of shape is “not my fault.”
If the responsibility is not yours, you become the victim. And we all feel sorry for victims, including ourselves.
Depressing thoughts lead to a downward spiral of defeated thinking. Defeated thinking leads to defeated living.
Genetics is the excuse that excuses our negative attitudes and behavior. No guilt but no power.
Certainly we cannot change the way we were born, we reason. We just happen to be genetically destined for obesity. In rare cases, this is true.
In your case? Highly unlikely. Some try to blame hypothyroidism, the most common form of thyroid disease. One symptom is a tendency to gain weight.
There are over twelve more; you’ll know something is wrong. If you don’t have a doctor’s slip, let’s rule that out.
If you do, recovery is goal number one.
Another defeated thinking phrase I hear a lot is “big boned.”
This is street talk for the word endomorphic, which means you are naturally round and soft.
There are two things I’ll say about this. One, if you are indeed an endomorph, why not be an in-shape healthy endomorph with toned muscles?
Two, does someone of shorter stature try to become shorter when they cannot become taller? Neither should an endomorph decide to get rounder and softer.
Remember, being healthy is not just about looks, it’s about attitude and actually being healthy!
I’ve known some very athletic endomorphs blow right past me in basketball. In other words, they didn’t let this negative attitude about their genetics stop them from being their best!
4) Big is beautiful.
This attitude takes an unhealthy extreme and turns it into something divine. With this attitude, being obese means being desirable and sexy.
The fashion world has entire clothing lines for plus-sized women, and plus-sized models are a sought after group.
Whether this idea was born out of a mindset of futility or out of a boardroom seeing dollar signs, I don’t know. But I can guess.
What I do know is that if you are choosing this attitude to cope with or excuse your weight, I am deeply concerned about your health.
We weren’t meant to tax our bodies this way, and if you threw some of that swagger and confidence behind the true beauty of your heart, you would find all the strength you need to reflect it in your body.
5) I don’t care.
By the time you get to this attitude, you know losing weight is hard.
Apathy wipes its hands clean of responsibility as well. The truth is, you do care.
If you didn’t, you wouldn’t take care of your body in the most basic ways. You wouldn’t eat, sleep, shower, or clothe yourself. You would neglect yourself entirely.
When something gets too difficult for us to handle, we sometimes give up.
The moment we give up, however, is the moment we fail.
If you never stop trying, you never fail because setbacks only make you stronger with the right attitude. They allow you to do better next time.
By giving up and copping this attitude, we try to cover the fact that we even cared in the first place enough to try to change.
We want to be admired for being so confident in who we are weight and all. The only problem with this is, if you ever do decide to do something about your weight, you have painted yourself into a corner.
All those supposed admirers out there who applauded your lack of care now realize your were a fraud the entire time. On the other hand, if you hold to not caring your whole life to save face, you may be forced to care about complications that arise from your weight. And who admires that?
You know what I admire? I admire anyone overweight or obese working out in the gym. Stepping one foot in there among all those staying in top shape is a huge feat in and of itself. Wow.
Bottom line? Care. It’s more authentic.
6) I don’t have the time or money.
When people tell me they don’t have time to talk to me or money to spare on me, I get one message — I am not important.
A close friend to the “I don’t care” attitude, this attitude puts other goals ahead of losing weight and building the foundation you need to become your best. Let’s put this one in perspective.
We’ll start with time.
This one is true. You don’t have the time. Research shows clearly that those who are overweight do not live as long as those in shape.
You better get to whatever it is with a higher priority. Fast.
The only catch is, by the time you achieve it, you will most likely be suffering from the effects of being overweight, and the entire time you will have been operating at less than peak performance. That doesn’t sound like a good position to me.
Money. Really? Let’s do the math.
Let’s say to eat great healthy food each week, it costs you roughly $100. And a gym membership costs $30 per month.
For one year, that’s about $5,560 (52 weeks in a year times $100 + 12 months times $30).
Now let’s say you tragically get diabetes from being overweight, as just one example.
According to the American Diabetes Association, the annual cost of health care for people with diabetes in the United States in 2007 was $11,744.
Diabetes wasn’t their only health concern apparently either, as the diabetes care alone was $6,649. This amount is still more than our figure, and it doesn’t even come close to one visit for a possible heart surgery or cancer treatment later on in life.
What you really don’t have the time or money for is to wait any longer to get in shape!
7) I am doing everything already.
“Yes, I run five miles every day. I eat salads for every meal. I lift weights three times a week,” you say, “And look at me. Nothing changes!”
These facts are so positive! When this attitude shows up, you are almost there. You are so close.
You have decided in your heart to make a change. You have disciplined yourself. You have committed to doing what is hard.
You have kept at it. Now you need to tweak your plan. Sometimes by a lot; sometimes by a little.
To get rid of this attitude is to become a student.
Once you regain a teachable spirit, you will find out why nothing is changing.
You will seek to go deeper. This positive attitude will then not only serve you in attaining your goals physically, but it will also allow you to conquer other areas that are holding you back from being your best.
It is part of the cure to wish to be cured.Seneca
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