On Track

Yesterday, I asked the #GoTheDist Participants how they were doing. 
I got a few replies from people saying that they were right on point, and a few replies saying that the participant needed to get back "on track" after going "off track."

This is something I've wanted to write about for a while.  It's something I talk about all the time.
I think weight loss has four parts, and I've listed them below in order of importance (in my humble opinion):
  • Mental Work -- 15%
  • Food -- 50%
  • Exercise -- 25%
  • Rest -- 10%
Mental Work:
I think the quote (from Women's Health) in this post says it better than I can:
His [James Prochaska, Ph.D.] fundamental belief is that the big reason so many people relapse on their New Year's resolutions by (you guessed it!) February, is that they didn't do enough to prepare themselves to take on those shifts. "Change is a process," he says, "not an event. And 80 percent of people aren't prepared when they start."

So how do you lay the groundwork? Getting ready involves moving consciously through several stages. In what Prochaska calls the "precontemplation" stage, change is just nibbling at your mind, and your job is to raise your awareness of the benefits of changing. That might mean thinking about the cool vacation you could save for when you no longer have those big credit-card bills to contend with, or the thrill of fitting back into your favorite skinny jeans.

Then comes the next stage, "contemplation," when you are seriously thinking about making a change. When you're at this stage, it helps to focus on how the pros of taking some kind of action outweigh the cons. Sure, you might miss your morning full-fat latte and your Friday-night pizza outings, but seeing the pounds melt off is so much more gratifying. "People who can't see a good balance of pros over cons are likely to give up and say it's not worth it," Prochaska points out. When you can list twice as many pros as cons, you're good to go!  
The article ends with this:
Remember: Change is a process, not an event, as Prochaska says. It takes time, and you're likely to hit the occasional setback or bad day. When (not if, but when) that happens, take a deep breath and remember that these are changes you want to make for the long-term. If on a particular day you find you don't have enough willpower to attack both challenges, look at it as a sort of muscle fatigue and ease up. Count calories today. Stick to your budget tomorrow. And over time, you'll build up enough strength to reach both goals.
I'm also a firm believer that most people are obese (not just overweight) because of some sort of trauma in their lives.  Until they start to address the trauma, they can't change the way they live and react to the trauma.

I'm of the Michael Pollan school of thought when it comes to food -- "Eat food, not too much, mostly plants."  In other words, eat lots of fruits and vegetables, minimize the meat, and eliminate the processed junk.  Eat food that fuels your workout.

But more than that, you MUST do the math.  Know your caloric expenditure by measuring it with the BodyMedia armband, or estimating it with the FitBit.  If you don't have the money, estimate it using BMR x HBE.

Once you know how many calories you burn during a day, work backwards.  One pound is 3500 calories.  Either you need to burn an extra 3500 calories a week, decrease your caloric consumption by 3500 calories a week, or a mix of both.

To do this successfully, you must food log.  Once you've done it for a while (3 months minimum), you'll see that you've retrained your eyes, your appetite, your palate, and your idea of portion sizes.  The Center for Disease Control says that people who food log are more likely to lose weight and keep it off.

Exercise is going to look different for everyone -- the only thing I really want to say about this is that you should feel joyful when you're exercising.  Yeah, it sucks when you're first doing it:  your mind will play tricks on your body, you'll sweat from places you didn't know were possible, and you will wish for a quick death because you are so sore, but be thankful for this opportunity to move.  If being injured has taught me anything, it's that being able to move is a blessing. 

So, do what you can.  Do it as often as you can.  Be joyful that you can.

Rome wasn't built in a day.  Neither is this new body you're carving for yourself.  You have to have downtime (sleep and rest days) to allow your body to recuperate from the exercise that you're asking it to do.  Everyone needs a different amount of sleep time.  Just make sure you plan for it.  You plan for your long run or your lifting session.  Plan for rest as well.

SO.... that brings me back to my original topic about being "on track"
When you can't focus on one part of the journey, there are three other parts needing your attention.
If you feel like you've derailed, consider whether you've completely derailed or if you're letting a challenge in one area infect the others. 

Are you letting a failure in one of the four areas constitute a total failure?
Are you giving up without a fight?


I love this post! It is everything I know, but totally needed reminded of. Awesome!


I am glad I could be that reminder :)
<3 to you all!


Great Post! Means alot to me. I'm going to remember this!


TTM -- glad I had the words you need :)


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<3 Robby