Commit: Body Goals Take Time
One of the main reasons people give up on their health and fitness goals (or simply fail to even start on them) is the fact that progress is often made slowly. Sure, anyone can do a “Master Cleanse” and lose 10 pounds in 10 days — but trying to get a quick result doesn’t align with what your ultimate purpose should be: finding a stable, long-run path towards a happy, healthy, and fit life.
A Sustainable Approach
Health and wellness come from a healthy lifestyle — which involves EATING (not starving yourself), being active, and keeping mentally attune (which can’t be achieved it you’re feeling faint from food deprivation!).
A healthy lifestyle can only be adopted through months and years of repeating the same healthy habits, routines, and rituals… and doing them joyfully! Wanting to lead a healthy lifestyle should come from an intrinsic motivation to do so – not just because you want visible results (i.e. weight loss).
If you’re invested for the right reasons, the results will come naturally (and you’ll enjoy yourself too, which is most important).
To invest wholeheartedly in a healthy lifestyle, you need to accept that your life will look very different from the one you’re living now. But you have to understand this up front, and commit yourself. It’s the only way. Given that you’re reading this right now, it’s clear you have the motivation and desire.
New Behaviors Get New Results
The next question is: how willing are you to be uncomfortable…and for how long?
Learning new habits and behaviors can feel awkward, and it’s even more difficult to adapt when you’re an adult. But just because it will be harder, doesn’t mean you can’t prevail.
With enough commitment and willpower, anything is possible. It’s time to start getting comfortable getting uncomfortable.
Get Fit Enough To Get Even Fitter
My go to workout is running, and I’ve been doing it for a long time now. I always keep track of my workouts, and so by this point I’ve compiled quite a bit of data. The results are clear: Every time I’ve gotten super fit, the time frame has always been many miles under my belt, coupled with a discipled eating routine.
Getting fit works in cycles, and it’s certainly anything but a straight arrow path. You make a climb, plateau a bit (or in some cases maybe even decline slightly for a short period), and then climb up again.
You need to get fit to get fit. And then get even more fit to get even fitter.
When I first started running in the beginning, I only expected small improvements in my fitness. Just trying to run a little faster and a little longer each time. Then, once these improvements became the norm, I sought to increase the pace and amount of time again. It took many months for me to see progress, but I understood this, and committed.
The option was always there to simply cut calories and lose a bunch of weight immediately. But that wasn’t the goal. During the training months, I was actually eating more in order to have more energy for my workouts, which was at first very counterintuitive to me. (I’ll admit that in college and even before, I used to restrict my portions to keep thin. I didn’t work out as much, but I was always hungry. Not a great – or sustainable – lifestyle.)
The Easy Way Is Not The Right Way
I resolved to take the long view. To live, you must eat. And to live healthfully, you must develop healthy eating habits.
Instead of getting discouraged and quitting if you’re not seeing immediate results with your workouts, remember that the journey for self-improvement is a long one. And it’s not measured in how many dress sizes you can drop in the quickest time frame. It’s about fostering the knowledge and mentality to treat your body in the right way – consistently and for the long haul.
By the same token, your diet will not suddenly be clean and perfect. It took many years for Jon and I to discover the knowledge to cook and eat in the way we do now. There’s no miracle juice or cleanse that will provide this. It’s all about committing to long-term change.
If you “mess up” on one meal, just keep going and make sure your next meal is better. If you improve all aspects of your life, including your sleep and exercise habits, then these “mess ups” will just become a blip on a long stream of positive behavior. They will disappear from the picture.
When the majority of your actions are pointing you in the direction you want to go, there will be no stopping you from arriving at your final destination.
Jon Pearlman is a former standout tennis player at Harvard, ATP-ranked touring pro, and author of The Lean Body Manual. He founded Mission Lean to share his unique formula for lean body fitness and nutrition, an approach that took over a decade to develop and perfect. He is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Nutrition Specialist.