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Now back to today's post.]
Staying on the bumpy wagon.
We've been meaning to write this post for a while now. This topic is a big one that many people can relate to. Our hope is to shed some light on some of the struggles that many of us deal with. We hope to provide you with a new perspective on how to approach taking care of your health and fitness, or at least help you to realize what will work for you and might not work.
Have you ever wondered why so many people tend to "fall off the wagon"? It seems like so many people we know go through this cycle of getting on the wagon and falling off the wagon. Why is this so common? Why do people fall off the wagon in the first place? Is falling off track just something that randomly happens? Are there connections that we can make? What can we do to stop this and stay on the wagon?
This blog post will try to give you a straight forward response to these questions and help you get on the path to not "falling off the wagon" anymore.
Problems or Symptoms?
To best understand why we fall off the wagon we have to distinguish the difference between problems and symptoms, when it comes to health and fitness. You might think that gaining weight, your clothes not fitting, having no energy, being overstressed or injuring your knee are your problems.
But in fact, these are merely symptoms...
They are symptoms of much larger problems. And these problems tend to be universal.
- Not having the knowledge of how to put a complete plan together, nor the motivation or accountability to see it through.
- Not having a workable plan of action that integrates all the fitness, nutrition & lifestyle components required for your success.
- Not having the support needed to make the necessary lifestyle changes to not only reach your goals but to maintain them for life.
When it comes to health and fitness in today's world, we need all of these things to reach our goals and maintain them. Lacking one or more of these aspects can lead to a lack of results, injury, relapse (falling off the wagon) and in the end frustration, discouragement and repeating the "on again off again" cycle.
Putting things off.
Most of the people we meet with have been putting off 2 things;
- Prioritizing their health and fitness.
- Getting help with their health and fitness.
The first, is something that a lot of us have put off at some point or another. Although we know deep down that our health matters, it's usually the first thing to go when life gets in the way. It doesn't matter who you are, your age, your likes/dislikes or your job, your health matters. We all know it. But because we don't see the consequences of our actions immediately it's easy to put off.
You don't gain 50lbs over night by having one night of overindulgence and binge eating. You don't get lower back pain by skipping one workout. The outcomes of putting your health on the "back burner" develop gradually and for many reasons, they're easy to ignore...
...Until you just can't ignore it anymore. For some people, that breaking point comes sooner than others.
Eventually you start prioritizing your health & fitness by joining the gym, purchasing a treadmill, counting your caloric intake, etc. Whether this sticks or not, depends on many factors.
The second thing we put off is getting help. Most people don't see the need to ask for help. They would first try it on their own before seeking the help of another. Which is completely understandable. Why get help when you can do it yourself?
And besides, we all know someone else who did it on their own and had success. So why can't that be us this time around? The thinking that, "this time around it will be different" seems to be a common pattern. Sooner or later we start to realize that maybe doing it on our own isn't the best, easiest or most efficient way to go about it. Maybe getting help from someone else isn't such a bad idea after all.
"Falling Off the Wagon"
Have you ever heard someone you know say something like...
- "I'm off the wagon right now."
- "I'm going to wait until the 1st and then I'm getting a gym membership."
- "I'm going to cycle every day to work."
- "If it wasn't for those darn injuries, I'd be right where I want to be."
- "I'm going to get up before work and do my workouts everyday."
- "I'm cutting sugar out completely."
- "This time, I'm motivated."
- "My co-worker did this new diet and she lost ___lbs. If she can do it, I can do it."
- "I just need a new plan to get me motivated."
- "I just need a kick-start to get me out of my rut."
If you or anyone else is saying these things, it's likely that you will fall off the wagon again. Although this may be a tough pill to swallow, there is a reason for this.
The reason for this is because you didn't fall off the wagon due to a lack of motivation (motivation is rarely there), because you're "in a rut" (ruts don't just happen randomly), or because you just need a kick-start (even if you used to a fit and healthy person). These aren't the reasons for falling off the wagon.
You fell off the wagon because of life. Life throws everything at you and will continue to do so. We don't know any one person who has a life that doesn't have obstacles, hardships, unexpected-hard-to-deal with problems, etc.
Look at this list of common obstacles and look for anything familiar to you;
- promotion at work
- losing your job
- new work projects
- no time
- too busy
- home renovations
- taking care of your kids/elderly parents
- selling your house
- running a business
- going on vacation
- getting injured (in or out of the gym)
- arguments with co-workers/spouse
- health issues
- sick pet
- and more
It's important to acknowledge this key point. Hoping that everything will be "smooth sailing" this time around will only cause you to repeat the cycle.
The First Step
The first step towards reaching your goals and not falling off the wagon is this...
Stop looking for "surface solutions". These solutions are not inherently bad or good. Surface solutions can be helpful, they can even get you results, sometimes great results (if the pieces fall together nicely).
But they won't stop you from falling off track now or in the future. This is because they deal with only part of the problem. Here are some examples of actual surface solutions that some of our clients have tried before working with us;
- P90X, Jillian Michaels DVDs, Tae-Bo, other at-home exercise programs.
- FitBit, MyFitnessPal, other tracking programs/devices.
- Group Classes like TRX, Bootcamps, Yoga, Crossfit, Running Clubs, etc.
- Signing up for a membership at the gym or buying a new treadmill., kettlebells, dumbbells, etc.
- Biking to work, going for runs, walking during lunch.
Now just to confirm something. These things are not bad (in fact, they are great and we recommend many of these options in our coaching). They take care of an important piece of the puzzle.
However, they don't deal with the deeper, underlying problems. Things that govern most of what we do like;
- the effect our relationships have on us
- our ability to deal with stress
- how we manage during tough times (i.e. death in the family, losing your job, etc.)
- how to navigate around injuries/limitations that we have and remain consistent
- how to recognize and deal with limiting beliefs
- not having "enough time"
- not having "enough energy"
- forming new habits and breaking old ones
- and more
Dealing with these deeper issues takes more time, effort and willingness than surface solutions. However, the rewards far outweigh the effort.
Many people either don't know how to deal with these things, or they just plain avoid them altogether. But one thing is for sure, there is a lot to deal with and it can't be done over a 30 day weight-loss challenge or a 6 week bootcamp. It takes time.
This is one of our favourite quotes that we tell our clients, "it takes just as long to get out of the woods, as it did to get into the woods."
Don't underestimate the time you need for yourself to get to where you want to go. Don't undervalue yourself either.
The Next Step
Get help. Seriously... More importantly get help from someone who is better than you in what you want to achieve. If you get injured, see a physiotherapist. If your car needs work, go see a mechanic. If your tooth aches, see a dentist.
With health & fitness the help can come in many forms;
- Your fit and healthy friend who is a true expert and loves to share their knowledge.
- Your spouse.
- A local group that shares similar goals.
- a professional coach whether in person or online.
- An online community that is a good fit for what you're looking for.
You don't have to settle for one source either. The more help the better. Pick everyone's brain and lean on others when in need.
1. Change your outlook on health. Don't repair something once it's broken. Prevent it from breaking in the first place. "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." - Benjamin Franklin.
2. Make longer better-quality commitments to yourself. You're worth it. In whatever form that may take. Remember that it takes just as long to walk out of the woods as it took to get into the woods. Don't undershoot what it will take to get to where you want. You can get results quickly, but for those results to stick and for you to avoid relapse, you need time. And besides, there is no end point to health. You will always need to be healthy. The journey never ends, but it gets easier over time.
3. Find as much support as possible. Support from a coach, support from your spouse/family, friends, social groups. Stop going it alone. The more support the better.
We hope that this post can be the start of you finding a way to stop the cycle of on the wagon, off the wagon. Many people who struggled with this exact cycle were able to not only reach their goals, but learn how to keep them. The first step they took was the decision to stop looking for surface solutions. It's never easy to finally take your health and fitness head on, but it's totally worth it. Because you are worth it.
Have Any Questions?
If you would like help with how to stop the cycle and learn how to "stay on the wagon", give us a (no obligation) phone call. We would love to get to know you a bit and chat about your health & fitness. Call us at 613-295-8080 or simply send us a quick email with your questions to email@example.com
Commited to Your Success,
The Evertrain Team