Weight loss and fitness. Easy. Not a problem, in fact not difficult at all.
In its simplest form it looks like this… create a workout plan, create a meal plan then… execute. Honestly that’s all there is to it.
If it’s so easy why do we make it so hard? That’s a good question that runs through my conversations with Coach Tom regularly. It comes up almost every Saturday that I work out with him. Usually in more detail those weeks that I don’t make particularly great progress.
I know my plan works. I know this because in the past year I’ve lost almost 40 pounds. I have proof; I have faith in the program and indisputable results that have come from said program. That should really make it a no brainer.
Follow the plan dummy it works, you know this.
So what’s the problem you ask? Well I’m the problem; at least I’m pretty sure I’m the problem. To break it down for you here is an example of how it goes on the average week.
Saturday: Work out with Tom, and I mean really workout. Have amazing and inspirational discussions around my goals and the reasons why I currently do this and why I need to keep doing this. This is also a “cheat day”, so I get to eat more than normal and it feels like a reward. A great day is had by all.
Sunday: My day of rest, no workouts, but my meal plan needs to stay in focus – here is where I’m the problem. On any given Sunday people visit, drop by or invite us over. The schedule is ad-hoc, my normal eating plan gets interrupted and I start to waffle on whether it’s okay to have a beer at a friend’s house even though I had my quota of beer on Saturday. (In an effort to not feel deprived throughout the week.) The mental struggle begins – I focus less on the ultimate goal that got me pumped up and excited on Saturday and more on the fact that there is a beer in the fridge with my name on it.
Monday: Meal plan is easy – totally scheduled, planned and automatic to follow. This is good. I eat well. However it is Monday – I’m tired from the weekend and by the time I get home from a demanding day at work I’m even more tired. Monday is the day my wife also works out, outside the house, so I’ll be looking after the kids. My focus at this point is to get the kids their dinner as well as their homework done and into their PJ’s for bedtime. By the time that’s done I’m looking for a couch and Netflix is singing its sweet siren song to me. The waffling starts again… “You know what Brent? You have 4 workouts per week and 5 days to do them in. It’s no big deal, take a break it’s Monday after all, you can train Tuesday through Friday. It’s all good.” - I focus less on the ultimate goal that got me pumped up and excited on Saturday and more on the fact that I’m just really tired!
Tuesday: Meal plan is still easy – in fact sticking to the meal plan during the work week is not that difficult. It’s important to note why here – it’s planned and scheduled with no surprises. I’m still tired but I’m also feeling guilty for not working out yesterday. Today I will train, and I do so with vigor all the while cursing myself for taking 2 days off between work outs because now it hurts. I finish off feeling great. This time it’s a good tired, I’m glad I worked out and I feel disciplined. I’m back to focusing on the ultimate goal and I’m pumped and excited.
Wednesday: Eating is good – (least until I get home). I do my second of 4 workouts for the week and push through. My mind is elsewhere. Could be work, home, finances, upcoming events, whatever… regardless my mind is not on the goal and I’m not that interested in working out tonight but I push through it – performance may be so-so but I did it. At least I did it. Kids are in bed and I’ve got a bit of time to watch The Shield on Netflix. (Just recently discovered The Shield – great show!). Here is where my problems start to raise their ugly head. I have a tendency to binge watch on Netflix. So while I start my TV watching possibly around 8:30/9pm, the result is 1 episode turns into 3 (sometimes 4). Uh oh… now I’m up way past my bedtime and now I’m HUNGRY! 1 cracker turns into 10, 12 almonds turn into 28 and so on. My “good eating day” has become so-so and I’m pushing up the calories beyond where I’m supposed to be.
Thursday: The guilt is back (I can’t help it I’m an Irish protestant) this time it revolves around my food intake from yesterday. I resolve to do better. I will do better! So much better that I’m gonna eat less today. Yup that’s what I need to do, make up for my excess yesterday with a deficit today. My focus is all about redeeming myself for yesterday. I do my work out in beast mode! I grunt and sweat my way through it. I’m repenting for my food sins yesterday. I focus less on the ultimate goal that got me pumped up and excited on Saturday and more on the fact that I need redemption.
Friday: I do believe I’ve rid myself of my guilt now. My meal plan is not easy but I get through the day eating properly, following the plan. It’s movie night at the Rodgers household so I’m going to need to get my work out in before I sit down at home after work. Don’t sit down after dinner… DO NOT SIT DOWN! It’s Friday so everyone at home is happy and relieved for the weekend. The kids are excited for movie night and Mum and Dad are tired from the week looking to veg on the couch. “Do not sit down.” I tell myself. “Stay away from the soft, comfy, leather couch.” I repeat that as my mantra. Did I mention I’m tired again? The rationalization starts again… “You know what? I’ve been pretty good this week, I’m just gonna do 15 minutes of training. I don’t need to do the whole thing.” I tell myself. “Yer tired dude. You’re not some Olympic athlete man, everyone needs their downtime.” The conversation continues with the angel on my other shoulder. “Just go downstairs, just go!” And I do. I go, I do it and I’m glad. Realizing I got a weigh-in with Coach Tom in the morning is fairly motivating to be frank. The weigh-in actually starts to become my primary motivating factor for the rest of Friday evening. I focus less on the ultimate goal that got me pumped up and excited last Saturday and more on the fact that I have to step on the scales with Coach Tom in the morning and had better have lost some weight.
Saturday: Have amazing and inspirational discussions around my goals and the reasons why I currently do this and why I need to keep doing this with Coach Tom.
I think this is a pretty accurate description of how a typical week goes for me. Maybe some of you are the same; Lord knows guilt can play a significant role in my motivation. I also think a lot of people may say “Brent, buddy, don’t be so hard on yourself. This fitness thing ain’t easy. You of all people should know that!”
I would like to agree with you on that and maybe I do to a degree but the truth of the matter is I am my own worst enemy. I am the problem in the end. This is easy, it really is. I know what I need to do yet I continually second guess, I constantly rationalize and – by now you should have got the theme – I regularly put my focus on the wrong thing. I focus on everything else but the ultimate goal that got me pumped up and excited last Saturday.
Here are a few other things that I do that make me realize I need to get out of my own way and just on the plan with Zombie like determination. (I know it sounds negative but it’s kinda true)
Here is what I do…
- Complicate things: I read health & fitness information like crazy. I love to do research and see new things, workouts, eating tips and… ahem… shortcuts. This regularly sows seeds of doubt into what I know to be true. Keep it simple stupid!
- Compare myself: Michelle is training and looking fantastic. She is also at another level from a metabolism perspective. I have a couple of other friends training that are similar to her. They’re losing more weight than me. I seem to think I should be like them. The reality is genetics play a role. I just don’t seem to remember that. I’m not them, they’re not me yet I regularly believe I should be performing like them
- Claim the wrong victories: 80% of this is what you eat; the remaining 20% is about working out. My problem is I feel a bigger victory when I work out, when the bottom line is I need to dance more when I’m keeping my meal plan tight and in line.
- Set myself up for failure: I know without a doubt the later I stay up at night the more likely I am to eat, poorly. Yet I still will stay up 2 hours past my optimal bedtime all in the name of Sons of Anarchy or The Shield. That’s just dumb.
Keep in mind this is no pity party. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished this past year. I feel great, hopefully look better (a tall order I know) and am energized. I realize I can do so much more than my mind thinks I can do.
My goal here is to let others like me know that fitness and weight loss takes no special talent. No skill is required. There is no need to be gifted. You just need to execute the plan, doggedly, determinedly and with a laser like focus.
It’s not hard. It’s easy!
We’ll talk more soon.
Love, Peace and Hairgrease.