Why is Diet and Exercise Such Hard Work?
I think many people think that healthy eating, diet, and exercise are hard work and I agree wholeheartedly!
I often get comments like this from my weight loss coaching clients:
“I’m working so hard and only losing a pound a week!“
“With all my hard work, I should be doing better!“
“I wonder if this is worth all the hard work that I’m putting in?“
I like to break these thoughts/beliefs down so that my clients can put them in perspective and then ultimately stop the “hard work roadblock” from making them give up or become frustrated. Here’s what I tell them.
Any Counter-Culture Pursuit is Hard Work
Think of a salmon. It swims upstream, against the flow of the current to reach its goal of spawning where it was born. It has to swim for days or be swept downstream right back to where it started.
Now let’s put that in the dieting, healthy eating, and exercise pretex.
Our culture is like the river. The flow of the current is to eat a lot of food, eat food that isn’t healthy, and sit around as much as possible. Everything about our culture makes it easy for us to be lazy and gain weight. Our food portions, our restaurants on every corner, our smartphones, and an endless amount of content to watch on TV.
The movie WALL-E did a great job of illustrating what the future would be like if everyone just gave up, gave in, and flowed with the current. Everyone would be obese, no one would walk anymore, no one would even go outside…
When you decide to eat healthier, lose weight, and exercise it is going against the flow and that is hard work. You are doing something that is counter-cultural. You are taking the road less traveled. This path is the harder path but you are worth what this path will bring you. I’ll get to that a little later.
You’re Working Against Your Own Body
Not only are you fighting the current of culture to be fit and healthy, but the battle is also within.
Several years ago scientists came up with the theory of set point weight. This is the weight that your body likes being at and it’s usually where it hovers most of the time. When you start counting macros to reduce your calories you’re placing your body in a calorie deficit. Your body returns the favor by releasing more hormones so that you’ll start eating more again. These hormones are powerful and even alter your thoughts and mood!
Pushing through that period when your body is fighting you is hard work. You have to be diligent and use a lot of positive self-talk to keep the healthy eating momentum going.
Set point weight can be reset but it takes hard work to do so and it will be worth it.
Why Are You Working so Hard to Lose Weight?
This is probably the most important question to ask yourself. If you want to lose weight to look good for an event, or to fit into a piece of clothing then I will be the first to tell you that, no, the hard work is not worth it. All your hard work will be rewarded with gaining all the weight back once the event is over or when swimsuit season is over.
Your ultimate goal for losing weight and exercising should be to increase your overall good health and longevity. Countless research studies show us that people who are at a healthy weight, eat healthily, and exercise live longer, spend fewer days in the hospital, and are on fewer prescription medications.
This has to be your focus if you want to be successful long-term because this quest never ends but is ongoing.
This goal takes perseverance, dedication, and hard work because it is going against culture and your body. This is something that you will work at the rest of your life.
It will become easier as habits change but it will always be work.
Making this perspective shift is so powerful because it shifts weight loss from being the be-all and end-all to just an added benefit of a healthy lifestyle. Focus on feeling better, stronger, and more postive and less on what the scale is reading each week.
With weight loss, the journey is never linear. There will be ups and downs and plateaus. So, focusing on being the healthiest you that you can be will carry you through all of those ups and downs.
You are worth more than just a number on a scale, you are worthy of a healthy, long, and happy life. Give that gift to yourself. Do the work, reap the lasting health benefits.