December 17, 2010
This is an actual conversation that occurred between my husband and myself a few days ago.
Larry: I know I said I’d go to the gym today but I don’t think I will. It’s getting late. I hate the gym.
Me: Just go.
Larry: But I don’t want to. I go lots. Leave me be.
Me: You said you’d do extra on the elliptical because you had that coca-cola yesterday, Remember? You said you’d do a long one, remember you said? And you haven’t done weights all month. You can’t wimp out again.
Larry: F*&#!k off. Go away.
(A minute later):
Me: If you don’t go now your caffeine will wear off.
Larry: WTF! Leave me alone already.
Me: But you’ll be so glad once you’re done.
Larry: But I’ll be so pathetic while I’m doing it… I’ll take the dog for a walk later. Now stop bugging me!
A LENGTHIER SILENCE
Me: So here’s a thought—
Larry: #%!@$$! I said scram!
Me: Suppose you just go to the gym for a quick one. Twenty minutes. Maybe a few weights. If you do we can have sex later maybe.
Larry: But I’m supposed to do extra cardio. If I can’t do it all I might as well not go….But the sex? Well maybe I could go for twenty minutes.
Me: Five minutes is better than no minutes. C’mon. Think of it as an express workout.
Larry: Hmmm, an express workout does sound better than a regular workout…Do you promise you won’t say you’re too sleepy?
Larry did indeed go to the gym. He did 21 minutes on the elliptical but gave himself credit for a full workout anyway and was quite pleased with himself. Especially after the sex, during which I really was too sleepy to appreciate, but any sex is better than no sex (according to Larry). And the important part is Larry’s Back on Track.
Okay I admit it, this was an imagined conversation and I had to make it up because Larry pretty much always Stays on Track. But you get my point.
Lasting success in any undertaking is about becoming a master at Getting Back on Track, not about getting down to your college weight or how many cookies you ate last night or how many minutes you spent on the Stairmaster. Learning how to deal with the bad days, will, over time, be the determining factor in how many good days you have.
I call it the Bounce Back Theory. If you don’t expect perfection from yourself and don’t allow the first few bad days (or the First Few Holiday Parties) to derail you totally, then eventually the good days will start to prevail.
It’s sounds basic but the inference is very meaningful. The most successful people at my gym aren’t perfect. They often come dragging in, exuding the “Idontwannabehere” essence. But bloated and bleary-eyed, they proceed in spite of the puff. They show up. They get Right Back on Track.
What keeps them at their goal weight is not dependent on whether they ran a triathlon this week or were on the couch with a cold. It’s not that they ate 700 calories or 7000 calories. It’s that they did what they needed to do to Get Back On Track.
So how do you Stay on Track or get Back on Track?
1. Accountability and honesty with yourself. Or ask a loved one to help you be accountable if it’s too hard on your own.
2. Give yourself credit when you do Stay on Track. Pat yourself on the back. Start every sentence with “Today while I was at the gym…”
3. Avoid self-loathing when you get Off Track. You haven’t blown it. Just get back on track. No trash talking about yourself. ‘Nough said. Now move on.
4. No Excuses. Just because you want to eat doesn’t mean you should. And just because you don’t feel like exercising doesn’t mean you should skip it. Just go put your shoes on and grab your keys. Go.
5. Be realistic. Tell yourself that you’ll have good days and bad days and that’s okay.
6. Put dieting first. I hate to bear bad news but the reality is that if you have fitness goals, you’ve got to plan your life around exercise and dieting activities, not vice versa. You deserve to put yourself and your goals first.
7. Recognize that while “All” may be preferable , “A Little” is better than “None” when it comes to health and fitness goals.
8. Know your triggers for unwanted behavior and plan accordingly; Sit far away from the peanuts. Wait twenty minutes before getting seconds. Don’t bring the Kris Kringle Fudge in the house. Have water between glasses of wine. Ask your friends/partner to gently remind you of your goals. Or if you require tough love, agree upon a hand signal that signifies “WTF! Remember you said you wouldn’t eat that!!”
9. Give yourself full credit every time you get Back on Track. Say to yourself, “that wasn’t so bad.”
Note to Self about all of the above items (except for #2 and #9): They are all unrealistic if you insist on perfection.
And finally, here are my thoughts on perfection:
2010 has been a tough year for me as well as for a lot of us and so I made a vow to go to every holiday party I was invited to. This means I have NOT been perfect. I have not avoided the peppermint brownies, the eggnog, the yule logs, nor the bowls of M&M candy as we decorated our gingerbread houses. And you know what? Not only did it take away some of my melancholy, it got me in the holiday spirit not to mention that I’ve had so much fun!
Despite having several slip ups, where I found myself face-to-face (or rather eyeball to peanut butter ball) with the peanut butter fudge, (which was melt-in-your-mouth delish, BTW) I’ve always gotten myself Right Back on Track.
And lastly, if you know me, when I show up with my camera, please don’t cower away saying you are too fat. That you are too wrinkled. That you can’t stand to have your picture taken. Just shut- up, suck it in and smile. You need people like me that took your picture when you were young so that in ten years you will see the evidence of what you cannot see today, which is that you are so fabulous.
I will be your witness. Look me up in ten years. I’ll send you a copy.