I can’t stick to any workout or diet program. I’ve tried them all and I do great for a few days and then totally fall apart. I’ve said those words many a time. Gah, I tried all kinds of programs from 90 day DVDs that you do in your own living room to Paleo to low fat to shakes to running and more. The list is way too long to even bother you with.
Let me tell you if I had all the money back that I’ve spent, I’d probably be driving a Ferrari and living in a mansion right now. I used to watch infomercials and madly start clicking online to buy. Oh, yes. Of course I’ll take the add on gizmos to amp up my results. I’d wander through Barnes & Noble checking out the latest diet books that were guaranteed to work. I bought countless numbers of them, gone grocery shopping, and then later tossed out rotting food that didn’t get eaten.
How about you? I finally found my groove and now I hear those very same words from others once they find out what I do. (Side note: I guess it’s like hearing someone’s a doctor and asking about an ache or pain. ;)) There are a few things wrong with those words above, but I had no idea when I was saying them. Let me explain.
We’re so quick to blame ourselves for failures. We try a program and we fall off the wagon. Something’s wrong with our motivation. We have no willpower. We suck. We try another one with hopes of succeeding. Rinse and repeat. At some point, most of us just give up since there’s no point in beating a dead horse. It’s just the way we’re meant to be. Cue self hatred and emotional eating.
Now that I’ve got a few notches in my health belt, I don’t believe this is true. I wasn’t a failure all those times and there was nothing wrong with my willpower, motivation or anything else. Those programs probably do work… for some people. They just didn’t work for me since they didn’t fit my life or my likes. I bought a 90 day program that had 60 – 75 minute workouts 6 days a week. That was doomed from the start because I didn’t have that time to give. I work at home now and I still don’t have that kind of time.
I love bread, cupcakes, and oatmeal so Paleo wasn’t going to make me happy giving those things up. Diet books involve meal plans which make it hard to eat different things if you eat out or just don’t feel like what they’ve got on the menu one day. Are those things my fault? Nope. They aren’t your fault either. I had a client who started with me recently and she was worried that she’d have trouble sticking to a program “this time” because she had only stuck to the last one for a few days.
I looked over the previous program she bought and OMG. It consisted of about 10 exercises that were to be performed in a circuit style, one right after the other. The way they were laid out, it was impossible to do in a gym because you’d have to hog up all kinds of equipment and most likely lose some of it and jack up your circuit. You can’t bench press with a barbell, run to a lat pulldown, then squat in the rack… The gym natives will get restless and hate you. So no wonder, she gave up. You should have heard the relief when I told her this and she realized it wasn’t her!
The right program is one that fits your life with minimal changes. If you only have 2 days a week that you can workout, then you need a program that is 2 days a week. If you love bread, then you need a program that allows you to eat bread. If your schedule changes, then you need a program that can change with you or a different program. If you hate running, you shouldn’t waste time trying to convince yourself otherwise and do the Couch to 5K. You are you and like any relationship, you shouldn’t overhaul yourself just to make something work.
Does that mean that you shouldn’t compromise a bit or change gradually over time? Not at all. To improve your health, small changes are needed but they should be changes that you’re willing to make and not major sacrifices. You may need to eat smaller quantities of your favorite foods, but you should still be able to eat them. I refuse to give up donuts, period and end of story. I still eat them every now and then and laugh at any diet program that won’t let me.
You may not always love your workout since we all have off days, but you shouldn’t hate it day after day. There are so many options out there to get you moving, and I guarantee that there’s one or two that you’ll enjoy doing. You don’t have to dedicate your life to working out to see changes and to be healthy. Doing something a couple days a week for years gets much better results than a bunch of disjointed weeks that never stick. Eating in moderation for the long term is so much healthier than a few days of restriction and rules followed by days of revenge binges.
Consistency is the trick and that requires fitting you. Think of the wrong programs as a way to learn more about what the right fit is for you. Stop trying to cram the square peg of the wrong program into the round hole of your life, and blaming yourself when it doesn’t fit. Make small changes to your eating, move a little bit daily, sleep well and watch things fall into place.
If you’ve struggled with figuring it out on your own, online coaching can be a great option to help you find that consistency. I’d love to chat so drop me an email, or come on over to Facebook and ask a question.