Stop the Struggle

Stop the struggle

A few days ago, Lani Muelrath posted 5 steps you can take to stop the struggle and get going with your workouts on her web site. The inspiration for this piece was a discussion that came off her Facebook page. “Research suggests that 50% of people who start an exercise program will drop out within the first 6 months (Wilson & Brookfield, 2009).” Without knowing it, I have surpassed that 6 months barrier, as I now approach 8 months of eating healthy and exercising. I was able to “stop the struggle” and move forward with a healthy lifestyle. Yet, it wasn’t always like this time.

Lani cites “Motivation” being the key when it comes to exercise. I know, I made excuses before, “I don’t have time” or “I’ll do it tomorrow” were two of my favorites. She explains 4 steps to stop the struggle and get started with your workouts are

Find the why
Imagine success
Be specific
Set the date!

Each of us my find the why, I did. “Why is it that you want to get healthy, lose weight, get stronger?” Thanks to Dr. McDougall and the basis of a plant based diet I eating healthier than ever before. The results were evident in my weight loss (44 pounds to date), but more importantly in my blood tests that resulted in a decrease of total cholesterol (currently 88 points to 174). Now that my “diet” was under control and I wanted to look better.

In January I added exercise to the equation, I worked out 3 days a week using our Bowflex Revolution. When I started this way of eating, the only exercise was 20-30 minutes of walking 4-5 days a week. This allowed me to ease into weight lifting and getting basic movements down. After 5 months I decided to step up the exercise and joined the local sports club. It was my goal to work out 3-4 days a week, while adding a minimum of 30 minutes of cardio to my exercise regime. To date, I feel great. Coupled with the loss of weight, I am trying to fill out my physique. I have noticed an increase in strength and some arm muscles being defined.

As Lani says, find the why is closely related to imagine success. A day doesn’t go by I imagine how I will look and feel by the end of year (or other dates I set as goals). I can feel my body changing, I see it in the mirror, when I work out and when I sit down to eat a healthy starch based meal.

Thankfully I have a gym partner who is an experienced lifting weights. He has developed a good program that has us working specific body parts 4 days a week. The work outs vary in movement in order to strengthen and develop muscles in each muscle group. This is what Lani terms as “be specific” and being “connected to your why.” This is more evident in the cardio workout. While I do push myself with the weights, I know my limitation. I have seen further improvement while on the elliptical fitness crosstrainer as I move from 30 to 45 minute sessions.

Not sure why it’s taken 42 years to “stop the struggle” and take full control of my health. It has been challenging at time finding the motivation to stick with these eating habits or to commit to go to the gym. The rewards to date have been more than worth it! It has been a learning experience every step of the way. While I don’t look to change anyone’s specific habits or diet, hopefully people will take notice of the changes that are occurring. That at least opens the door for possible change.

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