Health is A Journey Not a Destination
Any of us can find ourselves in a situation where we want to lose a little weight, or to eat healthier. Or, maybe we just want to feel stronger. Maybe we are wanting for the number on the scale to go up — or down, depending upon our goals. Having health and fitness goals are an important component to leading a healthy, happy and active life.
However, there is a common trap that people fall into — and one that is making the supplement industry millions of dollars. What is that trap? The desire to get fit or see results very quickly.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to see results. Especially if you have tried out a lot of different systems, diets, gyms or products before. However, without realizing it, you have been feeding the very beast that brings you back into the cycle and primes your desire for the next thing that promises a fast path to the goal that you are trying to achieve.
Maybe you have been up late at night, you know that hour when nothing good is on TV. You’ve seen those late-night TV infomercials, promising you “results or your money back!”. Or, you have watched certain TV shows, where the contestants only job is to lose weight — and to do so in a rapid fashion, week after week. Or, your Social Media timelines have filled up with shakes, teas, powders, or pills that promise you a changed life in just X days!
It all sounds very enticing, doesn’t it? Here’s the key: It is supposed to! All of those things, even if they have a shred of good in them, are meant to sell something: Air time for advertisers, commissions for a sales team, or an entry into a scheme that has you eventually signing up to recruit other people to sell a product.
This is not to say that all supplemental products are bad, or that all weight loss products are inherently evil. However, the truth about losing weight or even starting on the health journey — just for the sake of being healthier — is much simpler than that.
Healthy weight loss is one to two pounds per week. This means if your goal is to lose 10 pounds, then it can happen safely and steadily in 5–10 weeks. Any product promising your rapid weight loss in just days likely contains something unhealthy that facilities rapid weight loss.
What’s wrong with losing weight in a quick fashion you might ask? Sometimes people want to lose weight for an event that is fast approaching and because of these sinister products, they are convinced that they have to meet an unrealistic goal by a very tight deadline.
Some of these products go along with a Starvation diet. Other products contain unregulated components. While some people can lose weight fast, they can wind up with other issues such as gallstones, an electrolyte imbalance, or simply find themselves in an unsustainable lifestyle, which causes them to put the weight right back on, and possibly gain more.
A Healthier Mind for Healthier Weight Loss
In order to create lasting and sustainable health, regardless of whether you want to lose weight, maintain, gain muscle, or whatever health goal you may have, it all starts in the mind.
Before rolling your eyes at another ‘mindset first’ cliché, know that this is not just some hocus pocus, there is actual science behind this.
Approaching your health journey as a positive is a huge step towards success. Thinking of your health journey in terms of deadlines, avoiding bad foods, and equating exercise to torture are going to hinder your progress.
A lot of those products that promise fast results are banking on your fear, shame, and negative feelings towards traditional solutions in order to get your mind into a place for making a quick purchase in the hope of a speedy solution.
Instead, start with curiosity. Curiosity is linked to better overall health, a more positive outlook on life, and having an attitude of curiosity can help you deal with stress. Making changes in your life or health habits can cause stress — and by maintaining an attitude of curiosity, you’ll be more able to combat that stress with more flexibility.
Stop Putting Unhealthy Deadlines on Your Goals
Let’s say you’ve already started on the journey to a healthier you, and you get an invite for a social event — such as a wedding or reunion — and it’s only two months away. “Great,”
you think, “This will totally motivate me to lose forty pounds!”
We’ve already covered what a healthy weight loss rate looks like. That is not the only reason that this type of thinking is actually counter to the health goals you are trying to achieve. When you set a super tight deadline, instead of remaining flexible and being present for the journey — you invite stress.
Stress is a definite enemy of weight loss, and it’s a formidable foe. It’s well known that Cortisol, also known as the “stress hormone” is linked to abdominal fat in both men and women. However, chronic stress produces an even greater danger.
If you continue to live in a constant state of stress, your body could begin producing Betatrophin, which is a protein that makes it more difficult to break down fat.
If you allow your extra body fat to stress you out, it creates a feedback loop that can release the stress response in your body and give you more of what you don’t want (body fat and difficulty in losing weight).
How to Counteract the Stress Cycle and Make Forward Progress
Maybe your goal isn’t to lose weight, but simply to maintain the journey you have begun, or to lift heavier and get stronger. You’ll still benefit from counteracting negative thought patterns that can produce a stress response — because those ways of thinking can still keep you away from your goals.
We covered how releasing your hold on strict deadlines and maintaining an attitude of curiosity can help your health journey. Here are a few more pointers to help you head in the right direction or stay on the path.
Set smaller, measurable goals and reward yourself (not with food!). Have you heard of SMART goals? SMART goals — Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound. Instead of setting the goal, “I need to lose 40 pounds in time for my sister’s wedding!” Set a goal like this, “I want to lose 10 pounds in two months. I will weigh myself once per week and plan my meals and workout routines in advance.” In two months, when you meet your goal, or slightly exceed it, give yourself a small reward such as a new workout outfit.
As you focus on achieving your goals, you’ll need something to carry you through when you have small setbacks or down days along the way.
Yes, you want to achieve your goal. Yes, you are dedicated, have enthusiasm and are taking the actions you can to reach the destination.
There is something more important than just checking off a box next to a goal. That more important thing is who you are becoming along the way. In health, in business, and in life — simply having the courage to begin, and to keep going when things get difficult, and to restart when things go sideways — is the real key.
No ‘get fit quick’ scheme is going to bring about that kind of change. Maybe the placebo effect of a short-term change will have you on a temporary high, but the true and lasting joy comes from committing to a health journey, not chasing after the latest product or diet
Choose the health journey, not a ‘Get Fit Quick Scheme’ destination.