It’s January. You’ve made up your mind. You are tired of being overweight and unhealthy. You’ve seen all the ads. You’ve been in Wal-Mart and saw all of the displays of detox products and weight loss supplements. Your co-worker just lost 80 lbs. on Jenny Craig. Your cousin had lap band and looks fabulous. You have decided to stop eating sugar and fast food, join a gym, take every group fitness class you possibly can and hire a personal trainer.
And that’s when the fight started.
It doesn’t take long for you to realize that sugar acts on the system like opium (read the book “Potatoes Not Prozac) therefore causing you to go through withdrawal (and depending how much sugar you ate, the withdrawal could be very unpleasant) and only then do you realize it is in just about EVERYTHING commercial. It also doesn’t take long for you to realize that you don’t really cook, eat fast food for every meal, the cost of gym memberships have went up since you last belonged to one ten years ago (and the good ones cost more), you cannot wear your cute little tennis shoes you got from the mall to the fitness classes and personal training is not cheap. Now what? You make a vow to do it yourself, save the money, go buy a SHAPE or Men’s Fitness Magazine, buy a cookbook, a set of hand weights and a jump rope from the Dollar Tree. It lasts about a week. Next thing you know, you’ve gained another ten pounds because you’ve been eating so much lately as you are depressed about your weight.
This is a cycle that I have seen too often. It is one that I do not speak of with arrogance as I have lived it more times than I would like to admit. I will be the FIRST one to tell you that you do NOT “necessarily” need a personal trainer to lose weight. I’ve NEVER had one. I was a single mom who couldn’t afford one. However, I had a reduced rate at the YMCA (because of my income. If you are on a fixed income, check out the YMCA and ask about the “Open Doors” program. This was several years ago so I do not know if they still have it.) and it was not some run down gym. It was clean. It was safe and there were benefits to belonging there, including getting to work out next to Natalie Cole’s then husband. 🙂 However, in hindsight, I wish I had had a personal trainer. There was no one to tell me to increase my cardiovascular exercise (which I only did maybe once a week and I only used the bike. I used the elliptical to warm up only). No one told me to increase my weights or how/when to change my program. I stumbled into a Pilates class by accident. I did figure out, after losing so much weight, that weight training was what worked best for me but maybe if I had done more cardio and not drank and ate like a cave women when my then-boyfriend-now-husband came to town on the weekends, my six-month-forty-plus-pound weight loss could have been more.
On the diet side, I started out using Slim Fast. Those shakes and bars added up but I never went without them. I just went without other stuff. I eventually started eating “real food” in place of the shakes and found out that I could eat healthy on a budget. I didn’t start spending my entire life savings on food until much later on in life. 🙂 Those changes occurred because I was READY. I was willing to sacrifice what I needed to in order to get where I was trying to go. There was nothing in the world that could keep me from Andrew’s 12:15 Pilates class on Tuesdays and Thursdays and IF, for some reason, I was forced to be in a meeting, I was NOT a happy camper. I, too, had hair and a body that needed to be tended to and I would just get a brush, wrap this hair up, put on a scarf and be done with it. I could take a quick shower at the gym, put my clothes on and get back to work.
I have said all of that to say some of us want things to be so easy and perfect that if it doesn’t flow the way we think it should, we just won’t do it. And what that means is that you simply aren’t ready and that’s o.k. Think about what it was like when you were pursuing that man or that woman you wanted so badly. There is nothing in the world that could have stopped you from doing the things you did to try and win over their affection (me included!). The only thing easy about this whole process is the weight gain. You, honestly, may not be able to afford a personal trainer. ( I wouldn’t suggest calling one thinking it’s going to be $10 a session either.) You may not be able to afford Jenny Craig. However, most of the people I come in contact with who claim they cannot afford things are really saying “it’s not a priority and I am not willing.” If you don’t know how to eat correctly, why not pay a health coach or a dietitian to help you now instead of later? ( It’s sort of like calling a beautician AFTER all your hair has fallen out because you decided you could do it yourself and now you have to pay extra for them to do damage control.)
And, if you’re not ready yet, acknowledge it. Sit with your feelings and investigate your resistance. What is it about changing your life FOR REAL that causes such anxiety? What would it mean if you really took a giant step towards better health? Work through your emotions. Honestly, it COULD mean losing friends and changing your social circle. It COULD mean having to face issues that you have buried behind your food. It COULD mean facing issues about your body. But it COULD mean living a longer, healthier, stronger life.