Because the battle is deeper than the bulge
If you’re one of those people who has lost weight only to gain some or most of it back, you’re a part of a large crowd. Only a small percentage of people who lose weight and gain health successfully, manage to remain that healthier version of themselves. Why does this happen? And how come it happens to so many of us?
We’re waiting to stop even before we start
Working on your health and fitness is like working on your career or relationships — it never ends. It isn’t meant to end. Any concept or system that evolves needs continuous attention and work. Health and fitness are not destinations.
Think of improving health or fitness as pushing a large rock up a hill with no summit. Pushing the rock up-slope is work and will always be work. But holding the rock without letting it roll downhill is continuous hard work too. Stop working and the rock will roll downhill much faster than you pushed it uphill and you need to start all over again.
We pay for fast results but not lasting results
The gym or service that promises the most weight loss in the shortest time ends up with the most sign-ups. Also, funds that promise the most interest in the shortest time end up with the most deposits. But, from history, we know where this mindset will take us. And weight loss is no different at all. We continue to look for fast results and end up with no results.
Think of progress in small steps. Doing things in a sustainable and slow manner will help us do it for a long time to come. And that’s exactly how we should approach health.
We choose extreme over effective
Maybe it is because we want to get to the end and we want to get there fast, we choose extreme measures over effective measures. Juice cleanses, extended fasting, meal replacements, fat burners, zero carb diets on the nutrition side and excessive cardio like running or cycling, overtraining by signing up for multiple programmes or group classes, constantly jumping from one best thing to the next best thing on the fitness side, are what we do when we decide to lose weight or get fit. If none of these, we get on a programme which makes us eat much less or differently or move a lot more than before or, in a lot of cases, both.
These extreme measures tempt us with big promises and force us to do things we wouldn’t do in our right minds. And we do them too. But soon, we realise this can’t be sustained and so stop doing them. And once we stop doing them, we either binge or go back to doing what we were doing previously. And that’s a problem because that’s what got us here in the first place.
It is no surprise at all that most of us lose weight or get fit only to end up in the same place all over again. This is no mystery because it reflects our behaviour in many other aspects of life (career, finance, education).
So, is there a solution?
Of course! But it doesn’t come in a bottle or as a pill or in the form of an exercise or diet chart. Each of us simply needs to understand the importance of sustainable and simple measures that can stand the test of time, and patiently work towards becoming (slightly) better versions of ourselves. I know this isn’t exciting or flashy. But it is effective and will get you off that hamster wheel for good.