WHY DO I KEEP FAILING?
Most people reading this are asking the age-old question: Why do I seem to be FOREVER STARTING AGAIN with my diet and exercise programs?
I probably come from the same cloth as most of you reading this:
I spent most of my life battling weight, battling smoking, drinking and bad health in general. Sometimes I won the battle for a while but I always came back to where I started. Not knowing where I went wrong:
I was doing so well??
Why is this so hard???
Why can others seem to do it????
Did I really just eat all that????????
My blood pressures what???????????
Between then and now my life has completely changed. My life is one that is happy healthy and more fulfilling than I ever imaged and this change is available to anyone willing to look at a new way of thinking.
This article is hopefully going to help most of you answer this question and set in motion a journey that once it was shown to me changed my life forever and I promise it will change yours too.
That’s right, I’m not proclaiming to have discovered a secret that only I can teach, or a plant I discovered in the deep Amazon rain forest that once ingested (and massively over paid for) you will magically transform your willpower, burn fat, build muscle and make your IQ 280!
There is no diet I have not tried and no new exercise craze I’ve not paid a 12-month membership for, only to last 3 weeks and have been too embarrassed to cancel.
I like you ended up depressed, frustrated and miserable with the belief I was somehow weaker or somehow pre destined to never achieve my goals. The feeling is miserable and just adds to our never-ending cycle of starting and failing, starting and failing.
Well here’s the good news it wasn’t your fault!
You and I were accidently given the wrong book at birth on how to achieve our fitness goals on planet earth so we’ve been following the media and magazines to show us the way and its been hurting us ever since.
Don’t panic I’m not a scientologist or an alien. But my life’s work now is to help others understand that it’s the WAY we go about our goals and just as importantly WHEN and WHY we go about them that fails us, not the other way round.
We’ve done it the wrong way for so long and had it drummed into us so much from all angles with seemingly “good” advice we’re convinced we are failures, well we’re not.
Imagine if you put diesel in your car that needs gas. That car will breakdown every time. No matter how many times you try or how much willpower you have, if you put diesel in a car that needs gas it will still break down every single time.
Well your body (and I don’t just mean weight) but the brain, heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, muscles and for want of a better word your soul or inner peace, it’s all one incredibly complex machine working together in ways we still don’t fully grasp and are learning more every day. In fact it’s so incredible you can beat it up and feed it rubbish for years and years before it breaks down and, for the tiny, tiny, TINY minority, they treat their bodies like a garbage can all their lives and seemingly get away with it. Yes we hate these people but we have to get over it. Your body and my body don’t respond well to abuse and saying you know an auntie who smoked till she was 90 and ran marathons is wonderful, but that doesn’t mean we all can.
How about we start with this question:
Is your Health, Fitness, Body or Mind where you want it to be?
The information you have on fitness and health is wrong or out of date (if it wasn’t you wouldn’t still be reading this) and the right way works the same for almost all of us and no matter how many times you try, with the wrong information you’ll keep falling down.
So let me guess what you’ve been doing based on all the years I spent going up and down myself.
Lets begin with this:
LIFE ISN’T EASY, exams or kids, you work too much or not enough, bills are piling up, girlfriend/boyfriend left you, car broke down, mother in law hates you, your wife has left her high paying job to make her own jewelry with her best friend from yoga class (she only met her last week), or your husbands annoying creepy friend is living in your spare room trying to reinvent Facebook while promising to pay rent and food when he’s a billionaire all the while telling you he’s a vegan and could you not cook meat in the house.
I don’t care what it is, life puts huge pressure on our shoulders and we need an outlet. Without one we’d all be queuing up at the Bay Bridge waiting for our turn to jump.
For a lot of us it’s consumption and ritual we turn to for comfort. That’s either trying to buy material happiness, living on the Internet, obsessing over some new reality show or last but not least eating and drinking away the stresses of life. None of these are bad per say, but if you’re not happy in yourself none of them will help.
Why do you think we keep re-watching episodes of Friends or Cheers or Modern Family?
It’s because there are no surprises. We get to watch people who seem a bit like us live out there lives on a show where in the end we know things will all work out, fairness will prevail and Ross ends up with Rachael.
We already know what’s going to happen and it’s always a happy ending. That’s very comforting in a world where we NEVER know what’s coming our way, especially if I’m watching my show with a tub of ice cream and a pile of cake.
The problem is while these distractions work in the short half hour or so, the long-term effects are clear to see and feel, and if you were like me it didn’t feel good.
So the next stage is you hit rock bottom and decide it’s time to take control!!
This happens around many occasions. You’re getting married or you’ve been asked to be a bridesmaid in a dress made for a size 6 stripper. You’re mates are going on a beach holiday and you know your guts the biggest or, on a more serious note, your Dr’s blood results for you are not good. You have high blood pressure, clogged arteries or have found that you now have type 2 diabetes. All direct factors of the lifestyle choices you’ve been making and constant stress you’re under.
Let me paint you a picture you might recognize:
No 1 with a bullet is New Year Resolutions. Man oh Man it’s a perfect storm for setting you up for another year of yo yo weight or fitness failures and feeling bad about yourself.
December is one long month. Not only is every other day a work Christmas party or a family gathering, it is written right into the calendar that on the 25th and the 31st you must gorge and feast in a Roman orgy of food and drink (on top of all the other parties and feasts). Not to mention you’ve only just digested the Thanksgiving meal from a few weeks ago.
But there’s another part to this story. You have also been reflecting on another year gone down, another notch on the belt gone up, another promise to change your health hasn’t come true and then suddenly the epiphany hits you!
What if on January 1st I put a 30-day plan into action?
Obviously not the same 30-day plan I did last year, no, no, no, it must be different from last year of course. Last year was yoga and hiking that was a stupid idea. I don’t like seeing naked feet and don’t live near any hills. This year I’m doing Crossfit every day for 30 days and some sort of well thought out diet plan, the more extreme the better. Now all I need is to find a magazine, some sort of magazine that caters for my 30 day complete new me transformation?
“Luckily” you found a brand new one!
And so it begins, the preparation for the Brand New Plan that once you’re eyes are opened and you break it down is no different from the old plan. This isn’t just the start of the year, these plans are happening all year round and they are all the same!
The 6 Crazy Rules for a 30-day extreme plan are as follows:
1. Tell everyone a few weeks before about your extreme plan and the “science” behind this magical, fat burning, muscle building just discovered formula.
2. Find someone else whose read the same Men’s magazine or Women’s Weekly and now you can chat all night over BBQ ribs convincing each other of the wonder of this new plan and how great you’re both going to feel in 30 days, yay!
3. Eat and drink as much as possible because this is the last time you will ever eat cake or a burger or drink beer ever again. (Ps on a side note that we’ll get to later you might of noticed the guilt free eating you are now doing because you’re starting a new diet. This is part of the cycle that keeps you trapped because there is nothing as good as guilt free eating)
3. Buy new sports clothes (if you look the part you’ll be the part), brand new foot wear and of course a very expensive Heart Rate Monitor or Fitness Band. You know the one; it works in the North Pole AND at 1500 meters below the sea. You’ll need it for all that free depth diving and ice trekking you’ve heard about. You won’t need that option straight away but surely by the end of the year you’ll need it.
4. Cleanse the house with the same panic as if poltergeists were in there. If you’re to be a fitness guru your house must reflect that. Only tofu and organic tree bark. Anything reminding you of your old life must be eradicated if you are to make the 30 days.
Mark out 30 days and cross off each of those precious days you are going to sweat and starve and sacrifice.
6. Pay for a 12-month Crossfit/Gym/Spin class/Boxing club membership. Make sure it’s one you can’t cancel thus making you positive that you’ll keep going all year long.
Now you’re ready. Just one more giant all you can eat and drink blow out and it’s time to say goodbye to the Old you and Hello to the new!!
Is any of this sounding familiar?
You might not of noticed, but no part of your plan seems to have any mid length and long term goals. Also your plan is either “I want to lose weight” or “I want to build muscle” or “I don’t want to feel bad anymore.”
All good things but if you are hyper focused on one outcome alone then:
a) You miss out on the enjoyment of the journey
b) You will lose focus eventually (as life always gets in the way) slowly letting your extreme plan slip and going back to square one.
First off lets deal with the 30-day plan idea.
There’s nothing wrong in a short-term goal in fact they are very helpful, the problem comes from what you expect to achieve in this 30 days? We have become a nation (I’m originally from England but we’re just the same as the US) that believes if it can’t be done quickly it’s not worth doing. We are also led to believe from shows like the biggest loser or magazines that anyone can achieve anything in 30 days and if you don’t you did something wrong.
You haven’t, it’s just you can’t expect years of an inactive, unhealthy lifestyle to turn completely around in 30 days. Yes if done properly and safely you can expect great changes in mood, health, brain function, slimmer waist or stronger arms and a wonderful feeling of accomplishment. But if you have a waist size of 50 inches it will not be 30 inches four weeks later and if your arms look like bean storks they won’t look like Arnold Schwarzenegger in four weeks of training.
So even if you make it the full 30 days (a lot of times we don’t), you’ve put yourself and body through so much pain, holding on for dear life counting down those days like a death row inmate. It’s no wonder you implode on yourself and crumble to your knees, head in the freezer licking the insides in the hope of tasting the ice cream you threw away 30 days ago.
It also never occurred to you when you threw all the “bad” food away that you could drive to the shops and buy it all back.
Day 31 in the big brother house:
“Jake has stolen all the house mates food and is hiding in a corner scooping mayonnaise from a jar with his fingers”
The aim of what I’m trying to achieve is to get you to look at things with fresh eyes. So if you’ve reading this you’ve told me something invaluable, you’ve told me you want something better for yourself and congratulations on taking the first step. If you’ve come this far I ask only one thing. Put aside all the myths that have been ingrained into you and keep you trapped and have an open mind.
So lets begin with this:
100% you should have a 30 day plan but:
a) Make it realistic (I’ll help you through that plan later)
b) Here’s the first really important part in changing the way you do things.
UNDERSTAND THIS IS THE START OF A LIFE LONG CHANGE
I know, even typing that made my stomach turn. How can I wait a whole year to achieve my goal!!!?????
Well take a look at all your attempts so far in achieving your goals. In the words of Dr Phil “How’s that working for you?”
Here’s a second idea in changing the way you think:
IMAGINE THE GOALS YOU WANT ARE SECONDARY TO THE ACTIONS YOU TAKE
What I mean by that is, if you joined a running club or boxing lessons or rock-climbing classes because the idea excites you and then you choose to ADD good food into your life rather than TAKE AWAY food you think you love, just think about the all pressure you’ve taken off your shoulders.
I assure you if you go down this path you can’t fail, because now there’s nothing to fail there’s only things to achieve and improve on.
I know this might sound strange but once this sunk in to my brain it completely changed the way I’ve lived my life forever (not over night) but over time. Not only has my life changed but far more importantly than that fact is I’ve completely exceeded all the goals I used to have long ago and now I do things I never even dreamed were possible. Not only that but I have also had so much fun and gained tons of new skills and friends in the process.
Not every day is fun I can’t lie. There’s always some good days and tough days when it comes to change but now I never experience the feeling of failure and that alone is worth reading on right?
Most people are looking for basic things when they get to the desperate stage.
1. I want to lose weight I’m too fat
2. I want to gain weight I’m too thin
3. I have to get fit or I will die or live with sickness
4. I’m miserable and I believe that by changing my outsides I’ll feel better inside
One or most of those choices has forced us to choose some kind of plan in the hope of solving No 1, 2, 3 or 4 as quickly as possible
People like you and I have never really chosen our plans based solely on enjoyment, community, sense of adventure or new skills. We chose a plan based only on solving what we see as wrong with ourselves.
But what’s going to change your life is No. 1, 2, 3 and 4 can all be solved without spending every waking hour thinking about them, they can be solved as a by-product of our new lifestyle choices.
Lets look at some basic examples to prove my point.
What’s the definition of insanity?
Answer: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
So if our way isn’t working who’s is?
That’s one of the mystery’s to us, we know our goals are possible we are surrounded by people we see every day doing or being the person we think we want to be, but they seem to be able to do all these things so easily, why?
You see, people who are fit and healthy generally follow the same basic principles as I’m going to help show you through these articles.
These are the basics for Fitness and Health:
1. Exercise of any sort, usually a mix of weights and any kind of sport is best.
2. Eat healthy food, e.g. lots of fruit and veg, meats, grains, oils, nuts seeds etc and also enjoy the so called “bad” foods on occasions, even once, twice a week. If 80% of what you’re doing is in the right direction then the other 20% isn’t going to stop your progress.
3. The results of 1 and 2 above mean you’ll be Fit, Healthy and generally happier inside. It’s the ACTIONS of 1 and 2 that lead to 3
Well that seems simple, so what’s the difference between THEM and US?
It’s the THINKING and ACTIONS behind the sporty, healthy people that are different to our own.
Let me explain:
Its not exercise to them. They love the sport they are doing, be it martial arts, biking, football, ballet or swimming. They add in weights to help them improve on their sports or they solely do weights because weights are the sport they enjoy. They practice their sport to improve their performance and find great accomplishment and happiness in watching their skills develop and the fun of training with friends or a club of some sort. It’s not a chore if you love what you’re doing, it becomes something you want to do and you make time for because not only does it improve the quality of your life it’s something you can look forward to. These people look at their sport as their outlets to stress on life, not an additional stress too their lives.
We take on exercise as a job. Often when I meet a new client looking to lose weight they will tell me they want to start running every day. I ask the question do you like running? 9 times out of 10 they say no I hate it but they read somewhere its great for losing weight.
Kaboom! Has a light gone on?
If you hate running but are only doing it to lose weight you will never keep it up, why would you? If you decide to do something you dislike for the sole purpose of achieving a goal of weight loss then you add stress and another chore on the growing list of things you have to do that day.
They eat healthy foods because they enjoy them, it’s not a daily battle to choose the healthy options if that healthy option is delicious to you. They only have a pizza and drinking night once in a while not because they are so disciplined and good it’s because:
a) They aren’t eating a whole pizza or drinking loads of beer or wine to numb their feelings or to solve their problems
b) They don’t like the feeling the next day of being bloated and sluggish and hung over so they CHOOSE not to have big blowouts every week
Again we will get deeper into this but the simple point is, if you slowly start to add healthy food to your life then that food becomes tasty, don’t believe me?
Lets imagine a seven year-old little Jake. If you tried to get me to drink a large glass of aged brandy, smoke a cigar knocked back with an espresso and a plate of brussel sprouts and bacon (apart from the police being called in) you would of watched me vomit, turn blue and cry my eyes out. Fast-forward to my twenties and that list is what I call a really good starter at a lovely restaurant. We learn and then ritualize our food and drink choices and you can unlearn them just as easily by making slow additions and changes into your lifestyle.
We find it hard to stick to healthy eating because when the “new” diet kicked in (Monday morning everyone’s favorite time to start a diet) we went full force and removed every food we enjoy and then sit there tears streaming down onto the organic raw carrot smeared on your chin thinking I can’t do this forever!! At least the tears on your cheek will add some salt to the carrot for flavor I suppose. That’s the problem, it’s right in the word Diet (DIE), which is what we want to do when we do these extreme crazy programs. The body hates extremes in any form and will rebel against them no matter how much will power you think you have.
Here’s what I discovered, THEY are just the same as US!
They too have huge pressures and stresses the same as us, the only difference is their outlets for these stresses result in them being LESS stressed, Healthier, Fitter and more at peace within themselves thus making it look easy. It’s not that they are better it’s only the fact they truly enjoy this lifestyle that they stick to it year in year out and you can too if you follow this plan. Stop being so hard on yourself and take things a little more slowly.
SMALL STEPS LEAD TO MASSIVE JUMPS
The way we combine 1 and 2 leaves us hungry, depressed, sick, over weight and miserable and in a constant trap that we seem to never escape.
Don’t feel bad because here’s the great news.
ANYONE CAN CHANGE THEIR THINKING OVERTIME
Not only that but you can change your thinking without doing anything extreme or giving up all your favorite foods!