At the onset of every New Year, people from all walks of life start pouring into the gym. Being a personal trainer, I realize that January is a time we get more determined to set and reach new goals; however, is this the only month when our health becomes a top priority? What about the weeks and months that follow? Well, in February, this exercise enthusiasm dies down a bit, and by the time March rolls around, regular gym members breathe a huge sigh of relief as the resolution hoopla finally subsides. Have you ever wondered why this fitness frenzy occurs, and why it’s so short-lived?
Certainly there are a host of reasons, but there’s one major stumbling block that can trip anyone up (except perhaps, Donald Trump). It is the self-bashing voice of one’s own internal critic. For example, a few weeks ago while I was in the gym, right before my workout, here’s what a 52 year old man said to me: “I was doing so well, I lost 7 pounds, cut out alcohol, and so on. Then my sister-in-law came over with these massive trays—an array of exotic desserts and I didn’t just have one piece, I had one of every kind. I don’t know how many of each, there were numerous varieties. I can’t control myself when it comes to sweets. I’m so stupid, so stupid, I gained almost all my weight back and I hate myself.” The following week, a middle-age woman told me a similar story: “It’s so hard to lose weight. I’m so stupid, last night I snacked on a huge bag of potato chips while watching TV, all that salt and fat, I know it can’t be good. I ate candy too. I’m so stupid, I know I shouldn’t do it, but there are certain sweets that I just can’t resist.”
First of all, when it comes to losing weight, deprivation isn’t always a good thing, but we also need to understand how to deal with “trigger foods” which can personally derail us. (Refer to Chapter 11.) Second, for those who haven’t read my book: The Proactive Health Solution, you might not readily recognize the tremendous irony in this type of diminishing self-talk. The irony however, becomes obvious to anyone who understands the building blocks of developing a healthy lifestyle; or more specifically, the PHS Pyramid and its corresponding principles. To clarify, developing a healthy self-image is a precursor to healthy self-management and this precedes any exercise or nutrition program. Yet, both of these individuals are suffering from a poor self-image because their internal critic is feeding them negative messages and contaminating their mind-set. The irony exists because like many others, they’re basing their self-esteem on something external—the scale and certain conditions, rather than their God-given intrinsic value. Yes it’s true if they lose weight, this could build their confidence and self-esteem, however, they’re actually going backward in terms of developing healthy behaviors. By not following a natural progression that ultimately leads to discipline and optimal health, they’re cutting corners and short-changing themselves in the process. Neither of them have learned how to monitor and tame their internal critic and this creates a vicious cycle as they attempt to pursue their weight loss goals. In other words, they aren’t climbing up the PHS Pyramid, but rather sliding down from it.
It’s inevitable, in the process of pursuing our health and fitness goals, we will have some good days and some setbacks. The way we talk to ourselves along this journey is absolutely crucial. If we don’t monitor and keep our internal critic from discouraging us, our best efforts can become counterproductive. We must learn to focus on the actions taken, not only on the immediate outcomes. Do you know what steps are necessary to develop a healthy self-image and keep yourself on track? Realistically, there are many. Some steps need to be big and bold, while others will happen incrementally. To be sure, reaching your health and fitness goals is a multifaceted process. Transformation doesn’t happen overnight. In addition to proactively managing your lifestyle, you should work on improving all aspects of your well-being—in mind, body and spirit. There’s a lot to learn. Don’t quit or give up. Read The Proactive Health Solution, eliminate the guess work, and make this year those New Year resolutions finally come true!
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. “