Q: Hey Erika,
I’m having a really hard time with this weight loss thing. It’s so discouraging! I constantly quit… go back to hating myself… deciding that I need to be do something… do something… don’t get the results I want… get mad… quit again… and again… and again… and again… and I hate it!
I don’t know why I keep quitting! I know that this is hard, but I don’t want to be a quitter anymore. I just don’t know how to stop quitting! Please HELP!!!
I’ve shared before that I quit countless times before I found a rhythm and rhyme that worked for me. I mean… countless times. Whew. However – when I found what worked for me, I enjoyed myself and what I was doing so much, that actually tearing myself away from my new lifestyle stopped being an option.
I think that the inclination to “quit” is a signal that you might be going a little to hard in the paint – a natural reaction had by many people who are eager to lose as much weight as they can as fast as they can – and you need to step back.
If successful weight loss – and, for that matter, long term, permanent maintenance of that weight loss – requires “a lifestyle change,” and you feel compelled to quit in the early stages of creating that new “lifestyle,” then chances are high the problem isn’t actually you – it’s the path you’ve chosen for losing the actual pounds, mama.
All things aren’t enjoyable to all people. No matter how much I love getting out there and running, there are people who despise it. Alas, they will push themselves to get out there anyway, and many will ultimately grow to love it. Others will experience different kinds of struggles related to running – they have kids and haven’t figured out how to keep the kids together while they’re all outdoors; they have joint issues and trying to run only inflames those issues; they don’t live in an environment that leaves them feeling safe enough to get out there – and that will impact their desire to actually get out there.
That doesn’t mean that something’s wrong with them – in fact, quite the opposite. It means that, when it comes to them, running is the problem. It’s just not for them at this time.
The fitness landscape has changed drastically since I first started, and I’m glad for it – there are infinite ways to contribute your time to getting healthy and being more active now, far more than when I first started. Sure, you can buy workout DVDs, or you can get an $8 subscription to a website that will give you access to every DVD you’ve ever seen each month. Sure, you can pay $10-25 for a class, or you can pay $35 for a monthly membership to a gym that offers all the classes. Sure, you can commute to a gym after work to take those classes, or you can pay $17 to a website that brings the classes to you at home.
And, even then, all those classes aren’t the same – some are set to country music, some to electronica, some to hip hop, some are calm and peaceful, some are bombastic, some will let you twerk sum, some will have you on your toes, some will have you doing the butterfly, some will remind you that UT OH THAT’S OLLLLLD… and have you doing the whip and the nae nae, instead. It goes on and on and on.
I cannot stress this enough: you have to find what works for you. Finding what works for you allows you to better commit to it, which guarantees the commitment and enthusiasm necessary to actually breed results. Lots of people quit because things aren’t “moving fast enough” for them, as in they aren’t dropping “7 pounds in 7 days!!!!!!!!!!11111ONE” like they see in the magazines, and even though that claim is a little suspect, the reality is that you won’t ever see a single pound lost if you can’t commit. Enjoying the activity you choose as your means of losing weight is a key component of maintaining that commitment.
The same goes for food, too. If you know you love your beef and you eat it regularly, find recipes that still allow you to enjoy it in smaller quantities – highly seasoned strips adorning an otherwise veggie-filled dish, like fajitas. If you know you enjoy your sweets, do some reading about whether your love is for genuine flavor and taste instead of a potential emotional eating issue, and then find a way to incorporate flavorful sweets in your regular rotation. (I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that there is that one special kind of ice cream that I have to have a couple times a year… and, being 38 weeks pregnant and realizing this is the second time in two days I’ve mentioned it, I realize this is a sign that I might want some…)
You have to take the time to find out what works for you. Begin to do the work that will allow you to leave behind the “eagerness,” the “desperation,” and the “urgency” that many feel when it comes to losing weight and keeping it off. You deserve this kind of care. You deserve this kind of effort. You deserve, above all else, the focus and attention necessary to figure out a way to live healthily and enjoyably, and that – in and of itself – will help you combat the quitting, commit long term, and ultimately achieve the goals you’re after. And, as I always say, your body will thank you for it!
(And, if you’re looking for a training plan to help you get started on that journey, I’ve got you covered there, as well!)
You always have such great insight! I too have been a quitter (more times than I’d like to note). For me, I realized it was a combination of being scared to fail–all the eyes of friends & family on me, aaah!– and trying to follow a nutrition plan that was simply too restrictive for me– no grapes, no dessert, no cheese, etc. etc. unless I was a certain weight and body fat. I realized it wasn’t maintainable for me, and I lost steam as fast as I picked it up. But once you find that activity you love, or an eating pattern that works you just can’t pull yourself away from it!
Perfectionism is also a problem – we want to do things perfectly, stick to the nutrition and fitness plan perfectly – and when we don’t, we feel ‘what’s the point.
Sometimes, unsteady of the big, hairy, audacious goal – “I will work out for 1 hour, 6 days a week” we need the little goal, the ‘I can do this and stick with it goal’ the Slight Edge goal – ‘I will get 10 mins of exercise each day’
The small goal is not as glamorous, it doesn’t seem to make much difference, but it can become the solid foundation of a lifetime fitness habit
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