Have you ever started an exercise regimen recommended to you by a friend which had worked wonders for him/her but isn’t doing anything for you? This happens to most of us, our bodies respond differently to exercise based on our body type, genetics, brain but also our lives. We often look for the magic cure, the one thing that will work for us and change everything. The truth is most people don’t like to talk about how hard it is to change their food or exercise habits, how hard it continues to be day after day. When given a compliment they’ll glow and put it in their motivation box for later. When asked how they did it, they’ll give you an exercise routine or a diet. The true secret to successfully becoming healthier is giving the credit where it belongs, to the person day after day. We also have to accept what health looks like for us.
What worked for your friend probably wont work for you, not because there’s something wrong with you but simply because you’re not them. Here are some facts; everyone reacts differently to change, change is hard and embracing change is embracing progress. To become a healthier you, you will need to embrace change permanently. To be able to do this day after day you need to find out what type of change works for you, your body and your life. The changes you are able to implement might not lead to your ideal figure or even health, but any change in the right direction will definitely lead to a healthier you.
When you look at someone who has changed their health around keep it mind it takes longer for people to notice change in others. By the time you ask them for advice they are months or even years in the process. The food choices they make every day evolved as they changed, it did not drastically change overnight, the same for their exercise routine. They spent many nights feeling discouraged at their lack of progress but made the conscientious decision to keep changing and maintain the change they had already made. They might even have gone through weight loss surgery but aren’t ready to talk about it.
Most people who make drastic changes don’t succeed. When we create too big of a calorie deficit we will either end up eating more to compensate for the lost energy or feel very tired and be unable to keep up with our exercise routine. Moving our bodies for weight loss alone can be disappointing when we don’t achieve the expected results. Dig deep in yourself and ask, am I looking to make a change in my life because I want to lose weight or because I want to be healthier? It’s normal to want to lose weight, the world is constantly telling us to do so. When we look inside ourselves as to why we are exploring the idea of weight loss many will say it’s because of their health. We don’t want to live with obesity, we don’t want to have diabetes or heart failure. Focusing on health can be extremely rewarding and a better motivator of change. You might sleep better at night from day 1 or you might even feel energized from incorporating exercise into your day. You might notice yourself getting stronger and you might even notice changes in your muscles. Your clothes might start looking differently on your body, they might become looser or fit better. Your lab work might improve at your next doctor’s visit. All that sometimes happen before the scale moves!
Our bodies react differently to change, some of us tend to build muscle fast. Consider David who was just diagnosed with obesity, this news was a shock to him and motivated him to start lifting weights again. After a month, David steps on the scale to see his weight has gone up. He’s frustrated because he’s been putting in a lot of work. When David steps off the scale, he gets dressed and looks at himself in the mirror. He feels good, maybe the scale hasn’t moved but his clothes are looser on him and he can see the impact of a month of weight lifting on his muscles. He decides he doesn’t care about the number on the scale and will continue his workouts. It would of been easy for David to look at the scale, get discouraged and stop his exercise routine, which is what happens more often than not when we focus on weight alone.
It’s hard for most people not to focus on the scale. If you have a hard time not checking your weight daily, throw it out. Any obsessive behavior around our weight should be discouraged. You shouldn’t check your weight more than once a week because our weight fluctuates from day to day by 1-5 pounds. Try focusing on your weekly or even monthly weight trends, if you feel the need to keep track of it. Your health is what truly matters in the end, try tracking health cues along with your weight; happiness, hunger or energy levels are a few examples.
If you’re reading this and thinking you’re ready to implement some changes in your life, remember there’s never a one size fits all. Change involves changing our habits which takes time. It’s important to focus on your health first and find what works for you but also what is realistic. Understand and accept the fact that you probably won’t get the results you want in the time you expect. Keep in mind some people are genetically not incline to enjoy exercise, in fact a study on family and twins demonstrated that 30–70% of the variation in individual exercise is inherited. You can’t change your genetics, be kind to yourself and find something that works for you and your body.