I was reading a beginner’s fitness subreddit the other day and someone asked this question.
“I’ve been tracking food and walking every day for 3 weeks and have not lost weight. Getting discouraged.”
I recorded a short video on 7 reasons you’re not losing weight (even though you swear you’re in a calorie deficit).
But I also wanted to dive into the “getting discouraged” part of this question because it’s a very important part of the fitness process.
Getting discouraged? Expect it along the way.
When was the last time you were pursuing something meaningful in life and didn’t feel that way?
- As a parent
- With a relationship
- At work
- Pursuing a personal interest or hobby
Fuck. I’m getting discouraged golfing and trying to grow this patchy beard of mine.
This is when people tend to jump into short cuts to achieve a goal. This may be sabotaging sustainable progress.
There is no better example than weight loss.
So what do you do?
Getting discouraged? It’s a better investment of your time and energy to build better habits and skills than to pursue specific outcomes or goals.
You have zero control over your goals but can control your habits. But habits are not very cool and don’t sound sexy enough.
For example let’s compare, losing 20 pounds to going grocery shopping every Sunday morning.
Or how about getting abs and a tight butt, versus eat slowly and stop when 80% full.
See what I mean? But those habits, when practiced consistently over time can lead to those outcomes.
Habits are a long-term investment that adds to your “quality of life fund.”
Look at it as an investment account. When you practice habits it’s like you’re adding funds to your quality of life account. Over time the growth is substantial.
With habits, there’s no endpoint but with goals there usually are.
When pursuing challenging goals it’s important to take time weekly to reflect on the process.
- Are you doing things and pursuing it in a way you actually enjoy?
- Do you see value in what you’re doing? For example, if eating more veggies doesn’t make sense to you you’ll never buy-in.
- And after I achieve this goal, then what?
If you’re doing it in a way that meets numbers 1 and 2 it will be easy for you to keep it up. If not, there’s a good chance you’ll step back into previous patterns and “fall off the wagon.”
And lastly – and in my opinion the most important part of all of this.
If you’re getting discouraged check your ego at the door
Just because you do X does not mean you get or deserve Y. Sometimes you’ll work really hard and it won’t turn out the way you expected and this is ok.
Questions to ask yourself when this happens (using the question I got as an example)
- Is there a possibility you’re doing it wrong (take tracking for example in the question I got)?
- Is there a chance you’re not as consistent as you think?
- Have you created a “health halo?” (Doing really awesome for 5 days but 2 days are so off that it balances things out – example, binge eating calories over the weekend that it balances your calories out)
Are you willing to go through the discouragement now and the discouragement to come so you can build better habits and achieve your goals?
Please don’t confuse this statement with some motivational pitch to give it all you’ve got, you need to want it bad enough, or it’s all or nothing.
Instead, see it as an opportunity to help you think more rationally about the process and to get comfortable with the uncomfortable parts that are inevitable.