I recently went to a ‘Mindful Eating’ seminar to learn a little more about exercise and nutrition, and see if I was even on the right track. The speakers were Jerry Siravo and Erin Risius, of A Way of Life Fitness Consulting. These folks have been in the business for a long time and had some good ideas.
Jerry stated that 42% of Americans make a New Year’s resolution to lose weight. 70% of us quit after 6-8 weeks. Over 80% quit by June 1st. And there are less than 10% of us still working out by the end of the year.
The health industry is a $1 Trillion Dollar industry, and spends lots and lots of money on advertising, especially the lose weight in 8 weeks scam. They emphasize a miracle pill, or an exercise program that guarantees weight loss in 6-8 weeks. If we buy into this concept, we buy all the stuff, but then we may or may not lose weight. Doing this over and over again makes us insane. And, in the ninth week, we quit. This model is built on a failure rate, so high, it is like the lottery. So, why do we keep doing this over and over again without results?
Most of us quit because we don’t see immediate results. We set unrealistic expectations on ourselves, and, as a result, we work too hard at the beginning and are in pain. We can’t see beyond that ninth week and can’t see it as a lifetime of work – one hour at a time. Change and weight loss are both slow processes, and we all seem to set unrealistic expectations of ourselves.
We can’t undo every bad habit by just going to the gym. We all need to make a life time commitment to be healthy. Jerry gave the following statistics that I thought were very meaningful:
- There are 168 hours in a week.
- We spend about 68 hours sleeping.
- We spend about 112 waking hours, working and doing all that stuff we need to do.
- So, we only have 0-7 hours a week creating health.
So, why is it so hard for us to create a healthy lifestyle? The health industry is designed to take your money, whether you use their plan or not. It’s up to you to understand that food is an addiction that you can’t cure. You need food to survive, and you crave certain foods, especially those loaded with sugar and salt. The food industry knows this. Michael Moss, a writer for Time Magazine, recently published a book call Salt, Sugar, Fat. In the book, he takes the reader into that mega food industry. He details how much processed foods we eat, especially those loaded with salt, sugar and fat. The industry puts a great deal of time and effort to make you crave these 3 things. Sugar is such a narcotic that we can’t stop eating it. We can’t just eat 2 cookies and stop. We become addicted to sugar. The article stated that “In some ways, getting unhooked on foods is harder than getting unhooked on narcotics, because you can’t go cold turkey. You can’t just stop eating.”
So, how do we slog through all the information that’s out there? It’s not easy. Here are some things to ponder:
- Don’t go on a diet. Instead, think about what you are eating each day.
- Learn to control your sugar, fat, salt addiction (based on what food you have decided to eat).
- Decide how much food you are going to take in vs. how much you burn off.
- Write things down for a while. You have to make a list of the foods you ate, vs. how much exercise and movement you have completed during the day.
- Make a commitment to move each hour (this doesn’t have to be going to the gym, just move around outside and inside your house).
- Eat small (I actually buy small packets of snacks and still cut them in half). Eat only 1/3 of what you get at a restaurant. Measure, measure, measure.
- Don’t overdo…anything! Start small, make it fun and easy for the whole family, and don’t set yourself up for failure.
Remember that all of us aren’t physically built to become an emaciated Hollywood star or the next top model. Why do we strive for that image anyway? It’s not healthy. We can decide to just be us and to live a good life, free from disease and pain.
Just start. Don’t be in pain. Do what you can.
There are a lot of workout, walking, cooking and having fun buddies out there waiting for you to say, “Hey, let’s go!”
So, here I am world! “Let’s not give up. Let’s go!”