The Holiday Season has come and gone and many are left with the familiar feeling of regret after months of lack of exercise and overeating.  They feel tired, sluggish, and yes, out of shape and over-weight….again.  This is what we call the “Holiday Weight Cycle.” The problem is that fad diets and extreme exercise routines are often a “go-to” for most people; sometimes they work, but usually they don’t. For most, these extreme measures are not sustainable and lead only to frustration or failure.   For example, when one “starves” themselves or abruptly starts a daily, high-intensity exercise regimen it often leaves them feeling defeated and they quit; hence the “cycle” continues. 

The problem isn’t that people don’t have enough will-power, it’s the “system” itself.   As a society we tend to set unrealistic expectations which pressures individuals to give into unhealthy behaviors such as this “Holiday Weight-Cycle.” Will 2018, be your year for change?  Or will this cycle leave you one year farther from your goal to be healthy and fit again?

You may be asking yourself, “but how?” How am I ever going to lose all this weight? How can I eat better? Will I ever be able to run five miles again?  How could I possibly fit in those old jeans?  Many make the mistake of focusing on the work, the challenge, and the effort that lay ahead.   They look to outside motivators, such as the fear of becoming sick and disabled or the thought of being embarrassed if seen in a bathing suit. Though “fear” can be a motivator, it is extrinsic, negative and typically short term. 

When it comes to long term behavioral changes one must look deeper within themselves to identify what truly motivates them.  This is known as intrinsic motivation, or when a person engages in a behavior because it is naturally satisfying to do so, rather than because they feel like they have to.  By tapping into how healthy behaviors make you feel rather than relying on fear or negative consequences, one is more likely to want to sustain these behaviors.  Examples include having more fun, increased energy, better sleep, reduced stress, and improved function and mobility.  By focusing on these types of motivations one can achieve lasting lifestyle change without guilt, pressure or negativity.

Have you found yourself lost in the cycle? Come on into the gym at Village Fitness. Let’s talk about your motivations and start training for life again!