Fitness is not a Linear Path

by Karen Pearson

You’ve decided to lose weight, drop a pant size, train for a marathon or compete in a body building competition.  You’ve gone online and found workout suggestions, supplement information and nutritional advice.  You eagerly start telling your friends and posting on social media about your new goal, sharing funny memes and inspirational quotes. You even went to the store and found special shoes, lifting gloves, a weight belt and a fitness tracker.


Two weeks into your new “lifestyle” you step on the scale and see nothing has changed.  In disgust you stop at the grocery store and bring home a quart of ice cream and a bag of your favorite cookies. Your shoes go in the closet and your fitness tracker finds its way to the back of a drawer.


Fitness is not a linear path.  We don’t question the amount of time it takes to acquire a college degree, build a house, or save up enough money for a vacation yet somehow we think we are supposed to be able to walk into the gym, put on a pair of running shoes and eat spinach and we will immediately begin to lose weight and achieve our goals. We forgot that for some of us it has taken 10, 20 or even 30 years to be at this weight or facing chronic health problems. Why in the world would we think we would reach our goal in two weeks or even six months?


Setting and achieving goals takes commitment, dedication, determination and a willingness to accept failures along the way without judgment.  It is also critical to realize it takes time.  Something that took 20 years to happen will take time to change.  Setting measurable goals with a reasonable time to complete the goal will help you be more successful.  Every time you fall off your fitness path simply acknowledge that reality and step back on.


The best way to stay on your path is to realize that you cannot do it all at once.  Eating clean and exercising takes a great deal of work. Set yourself up for success by changing one thing in each area.  Perhaps simply increasing your water intake is your first step to eating clean. You will feel better, have more energy and your skin will change for the better just by drinking water.  Commit to moving your body in some fashion every day.  Take the stairs at work instead of the elevator.  Park farther out in the parking lot at the store.  Anything that is not your normal daily activity can begin your life change.  Once these become your normal you can add something new and set another goal.  Once you have achieved some level of success it makes it easier to move on to new challenges.


I will always encourage people to see fitness and a healthy lifestyle as something fun.  Check out every fitness facility in your community and try them all! Reserve any type of “I hate it” until you have tried something at least three times.  This includes new food. Trying new food and new recipes can be very exciting and fun.  After introducing healthier food into your life it is amazing how easy it becomes to bypass the unhealthy stuff that you used to think was delicious.


Think about how you get to work every day or how you get to the grocery store.  Can you get there in a perfectly straight line? Absolutely not.  Sometimes there will even be a detour because of construction.  Be kind to yourself and recognize you are under construction and sometimes there will be a detour.  That does not mean stop.  Life is a pace not a race.  You are in this for the long haul.  Fit and healthy is a happy place to be!


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