Psst! Come here. I have a secret to share. Listen up!
For just a moment block out all the millions of images and bits of information that come flying at you about losing weight, gaining fitness or transforming your life. The complicated messages and rules in magazines. The endless ’thinspirations’ on Pinterest and Tumblr. Ignore all those late night TV ads screeching at you to buy some ridiculous piece of equipment or the latest daily deal email peddling some de-fat-ifying wrap or machine. Perhaps for you it’s a case of tuning out your colleagues who have a new quick fix fad diet or soup recipe for you every Monday morning as the weekend’s excess is being felt by all!
It’s all noise to me. It’s pretty much all crap.
I could go all Ben Goldacre on your arses & systematically breakdown why all those things equal Bad Science… something for another time! Today I want to cut to the chase and get something off my chest – a bit of a rant – a bit of a summary of things I have learnt and regularly remind myself of!! I will save the Sheldon Cooper style science lesson for another day my lovely Blogettes.
Block all that noise and crapola about weight loss quick fixes out and we are left with some other information that is credible and works: For me, based on my experience, Michelle Bridges’ methods outlined in her books and even more so, Michelle Bridges’ 12 Week Body Transformation online program, are sensible and effective. That’s what shifted my brain into the right gear while giving me some guidance on nutritious food and teaching me how to exercise. Evidence-based, practical and feasible to do while carrying out normal (busy!) life. Friends have had success with other programs… or seeing a dietician… or getting a good personal trainer… or committing with family or friends to reach their goals together.
These things are all fantastic – all ways that we can gain advice and support to reach our goals. Different things suit different people. The first step is working out what is bullsh*t (pads that vibrate your fat away perhaps? foot detox baths in shopping centres?) and what has some evidence of effectiveness (decreasing calories if you eat too much, eating clean and moving your body more).
From there I find I am left with four key themes: Eat, Move, Support & Mindset.
EAT: Having a balanced, healthy and nutritious food is fundamental whether you are aiming to lose weight or maintain a healthy lifestyle and increase your level of health in the years ahead. Clean eating is the cornerstone. It’s not just about an appropriate number of calories per day to fuel your body, it’s also the appropriate sources of calories.
MOVE: Moving your body is a must- not just for weight loss, not just to build muscle, increase tone or shape your body – but for warding off musculoskeletal issues, staying psychologically and emotional well, increasing bone density and, of course, reducing, risk of chronic, preventable conditions like cardiovascular disease and diabetes. It does not have to be a marathon every week – just start moving more today than you did yesterday and keep doing that.
SUPPORT: Firstly, back yourself! Also, creating the right environment as much as you can (We don’t control the world, Maccas ads will be on TV! Colleagues will bring cake to work!). Surrounding yourself with people who encourage you and lift you is important. Reciprocate the support you take from others. Look beyond your own belly button and reach out to encourage and support others. Create two-way streets. When you act to lift others you cannot help but lift yourself in the process. Associate with those who share the desire to genuinely work toward your goals together. I hear lots of stories about saboteurs. I observe it happening – they need to stay outside your door. Not welcome. Perhaps they’ll sort themselves & their issues out… you have no control over that. Avoid the one-way streets and dead ends. Avoid the emotional vampires who will suck you dry before moving on to the next person while they make no real changes in their life. That is draining and discouraging to be around. Learn to recognise a healthy relationship that has appropriate boundaries and is based on respect. Nurture those.
MINDSET: I would say that having the right mindset is crucial – real, sustainable change to any behaviour needs this as a baseline. Doing the hard and often confronting mindset work is the key to the the transformation I have made. It was the key when I quit smoking years ago. Your mind has to be in the right place, you have to get your head screwed on straight! Else are you only eating clean during a set time? For 2 days after seeing your dietician or the 2 days before 12WBT weigh in & after that gorging?! All the while feeling deprived, sad, empty? I know this sounds familiar to some of you. Are you only training because you paid a PT to kick your arse?
Those four things are really important but they are not the secret. You can read about those things over and over. THE SECRET IS GOOD & BAD. I don’t usually like to talk “good” or “bad” but it’s appropriate in this case.
THE SECRET IS BAD in that it leaves you bare… it leaves no place to hide…. no scope to blame anyone but yourself…. it points the finger squarely and accurately.
THE SECRET IS GOOD in that you have total control. The secret stops all the bullsh*t that you spruik to yourself and others.
The secret to weight loss and fitness… indeed to well-being and making changes in life to lead the awesome life you deserve is this:
IT IS UP TO YOU!
No one can do it for you.
You are in this alone when you get right down to it. It’s you and what is going on in your head and heart. That involves no one but you. No ifs, buts or maybes. The buck stops with you.
No one can make you be honest with yourself – you have to find that integrity and maintain it. Stop listening to your own BS is a way to make a great start. Stop hiding from things.
No one can burn the calories for you. No amount of money, time or flogging from a PT will burn the calories. You can turn up to a workout with the pushiest PT and still just phone it in, still give the lamest effort ever. Just like if you are 100% alone, running on the beach you can give it all you’ve got and run til you think you will lose a lung on the sand. I know it – I have done both!
THE SECRET IS even with a million people cheering you on, telling you what to do, when to do it, how to do it and following up with you, with hundreds of dollars spent on programs, books and consultations, the bottom line is IT IS UP TO YOU.
It’s no use getting sad or arseholey or jealous when you see others achieving what you desire for yourself. Those negative reactions when you make comparisons with others only harm you, only puts your progress back because it’s still BS that you are letting yourself spout and believe. Those reaching their goals (be it finishing their studies, buying a house, travelling overseas or losing 10kg) are doing so because they realised it was up to them and that no one was going to do it for them. They put on their Grown Up Pants. They put in the hard yards, made the hard choice every time – they are not “lucky” or “special”. They are grown up. Responsible. Disciplined.
I love this blog by 12WBTer Cheeky Charlie for many reasons, including the title: If It Is To Be It Is Up To Me. A woman who faced the reality, who ‘got it’, walked her talk and transformed her life. A month before I decided to do something about my weight & health I met a wonderful, wise man at The Dreaming Festival. It was a random chat, as you do at festivals, and his parting words to me were the very same: If It Is To Be It Is Up To Me. I came home and put that quote on the wall above my desk and pondered it for a few months. It came to be a really meaningful sentence of little words for me.
What’s the bottom line here? You are the grown up – put your big girl (or boy) pants on and take true responsibility.
It all stops and starts with you – in your head & in your heart. You are either doing it, or you are not. Do what has to be done, when it has to be done. Discipline.
THE SECRET = IT IS UP TO YOU. Delightful news for some – a relief you have such control, yeah? For others it will be upsetting and confronting. Choose to see this as great news – and if you do not have control right now, choose to take it it.