If you need more than one hand to count how many times you’ve started a quick-fix diet or short term fitness challenge and you’re still not entirely happy with your results or where you’re at on your journey, try taking a look at the underlying issues.
The mindset of a quick fix and short term fitness challenges are setting you up for long term failure.
Modern day society makes everything so accessible and attainable that we start conditioning ourselves to think we are entitled to having what we want and that that we want should come RIGHT NOW.
Current marketing strategies are all focused towards fast sales and a quick turn around. When we buy into these strategies, we are fuelling the fire and destroying ourselves in the process.
There are two fundamental flaws to this mindset and how they will ultimately lead to resistance to your true goal.
Firstly, success or triumph realised quickly with only marginal effort and no overcoming of battles or hardship is shallow and will lead to less appreciation than a long haul effort. Think of the daddy’s boy/girl who gets given a car for their 16th birthday vs the young battler who worked at maccas 30 hours a week to pay for his dream car.
Who will be more appreciative of their results and triumph? Which one will more than likely do anything to make sure that car stays pristine and doesn’t depreciate in value?
Not to say the 6 or 8 week challenges aren’t hard work and should be taken as a right off, but compare that to the athlete who has slogged out morning sessions for the last year in order to increase their max lift by a mere 5kg or the sprinter who shaves off 0.1 of a second, you start to see the contrast between an impressive attitude vs a “I just have to get it done” styled work ethic.
To add to this, the short term mindset gives rise to an end result and a feeling of entitlement after the finish point. “I’ve just flogged and starved myself for 6 weeks, so now I DESERVE a cheat-week or (6 months).
Not to mention the orientation of each person’s goal. Who wanted it more and why? It comes back to values. An athlete is searching for a feeling, not a number. The 0.1 seconds might be an objective measure of their hard work, but the feeling is subjective and can only be measured internally. A feeling of accomplishment and content. A weight loss goal needs to be similar or it won’t be valued.
Secondly, fast peaks usually lead to faster troughs. It’s human nature. Our physiology literally searches for homeostasis. If your body undergoes a massive trend in a certain direction, your body has mechanisms and processes to bring it back in the opposite direction in order to find optimal levels of survival.
E.g. if you’re too cold, you and your body undergo processes in order to heat the body back up. In some cases where you search for heat too quickly by pumping the AC on and wearing a jumper, your body does such a good job that it over heats you and you find yourself too hot.
Imagine this in a weight-loss sense. Starting at 60kg, you lose 5 kg in 6 weeks and then feel like you deserve a little breather, you let your foot off the pulse and gain 7 over the next 6 weeks because your body over compensated the regulatory response. Luckily you slowly get back to the starting weight over the next 2 weeks to maintain equilibrium and you’re back at 60kg like before.
Now it’s been 14 weeks, you’ve endured a starvation and body flog period for 6 weeks, a rebound period for 6 weeks and then a regeneration period of 2 weeks, leaving you in the exact same position as you were before, except out of pocket and a little more worried and anxious about your body than ever before.
If this happens on more than one occasion, think of how much wasted time you’ve had over the last few years and how that could have been different if you had a 2-3 year goal and were able to foresee the benefit of playing it long, rather than seeking instant and short term gratification.
Luckily for you, you’re not dead yet and you’ve still got the ability to rectify the past by altering your future if you’re willing to create a different stimulus.
Set a long term goal. Find something that you resonate with and value. If that goal is still weight loss, think about what that weight-loss will do for you, not just the numbers. How will you feel, what can you do with your new body, how will your life be different if you do lose the weight.
Keep that in your mind each and every day, not just for 6 weeks. Don’t try and win challenges, try and win your own life by playing the long game.
Challenges can be very useful for a kickstart in the right direction if you have that mindset, but like mentioned early, if you need more than one hand to count how many times you’ve done a challenge already, don’t kid yourself and think next time will be different.
Try a different approach and take the hard road like Robert Frost did. It will make all the difference.