A few years back, I lost a lot of weight. Not only was I in the best shape of my life, but I felt amazing! I felt stronger and faster, and that feeling helped me push myself to keep eating better & training hard to be the best I could. Nothing could stop me!
Or so I thought. Confession time: these last three or four months, I've really let myself slip. I've missed workouts & I've been eating junk food. ...but my life has been crazy! In between the usual family & job obligations, I was also focused on selling my house, looking for & buying a new house, and moving houses in time for the holidays. You can't blame me for ditching the 6:00 a.m. cardio sessions when I'd spent the previous night packing or unpacking boxes until I could finally drag myself to bed. And cooking a decent meal? That was right out of the question - how could I have time for that? It was easier to dial up the local pizza place, or nuke some frozen box of processed whatever for a quick bite to eat.
It is easy to convince myself that I have a right to slack off, and I could keep coming up with a million excuses as to why I've fallen off my health kick - my son is sick! I worked late! - but deep down, I know that none of them are valid. I can feel it all over - literally! My body feels terrible, and I feel sluggish. It's a downward spiral...when I don't eat well, I feel like crap...and when I feel like crap, I skip a workout...and when I skip a workout, I gain a few pounds...which makes me feel even worse about myself. I start thinking, "Oh well, what do a few cookies hurt?" I skip another workout. Add another few pounds. Uh-oh, now it's "Shoot! My clothes don't fit!" And I justify it to myself, defensively thinking, "Well it was the holidays! We were busy!"
The truth is, I'm stuck in a negative-thought-cycle. I tell myself that one poor choice is OK, so another won't hurt...and then another...and another, until the next thing I know, my jeans are too tight and I'm winded after a flight of stairs. It is ridiculous!
If I apply my logic to something else - like the phone in the image above - it is obvious that it's silly and doesn't make much sense. Sense, however has little to do with our choices regarding eating. How, then, do I break out of this cycle of negativity?
It sounds simple, but it is actually really tough: the secret is just doing it. That's it. To quote Nike, "Just do it." "Just do it" is the mantra of successful people in every area of life. Do you think successful people stop and think to themselves "Should I?" No! They just do it. Does a champion golfer think, "Hmm, should I really hit 1000 balls today?" Do successful business people wake up, stretch, and think, "Gee, should I really go into the office today?" Does a best-selling author stare out the window and wonder, "Should I really write 50 pages this morning?" The answer is no! Of course they don't think like that. I don't think they even consider asking the question in the first place. They just do those things before their mind can work against them and come up with an excuse.
Three years ago, I was shedding pounds like crazy. My friends kept asking, "Wow, what are you doing?!" as if I had taken some secret weight loss pill. The "secret" was far more simple: I was doing what I needed to do to look & feel better. I ate well and worked out more. What was my thought process for success? I got up a little early every morning to prepare my meals for the day. I left myself no chance to make bad choices because the good choices were right in front of me. Before leaving the house, I packed my gym bag for that evening workout. No excuse later. Nothing could get in the way of that workout that made me feel amazing. The results showed: I felt awesome, and I was full of energy and enthusiasm. I craved more workouts. I wanted to race & beat my personal best! I was stuck in a positive thought cycle!
I want to be back in that cycle again, so... I'm just going to do it. Bye-bye bread, pasta, ranch dressing - hello skinny jeans, six pack abs, and rockin' self-esteem!