Aim High When It Comes to Your Fitness Goals
I often put science-y type links in my articles, but not this time. This time I don’t have any research, just gut instinct, personal experience and some anecdotal evidence. In other words, you can take this post or leave it.
I’ve written about achieving fitness goals before and how focusing on the short-term will help you achieve your long-term wishes. But I’ve never written about how making lofty goals can actually help you sustain a certain level of health.
You’ve probably heard stories about people who lost a bunch of weight and then gained it all back. It leaves many with the false impression that permanent weight loss is this mythical creature that doesn’t exist, like an ‘American Idol’ winner who actually has talent.
In my opinion, what really causes people to gain weight back is they achieve their goal, lose their determination, revert to old habits and get fat again. If you bust your butt and restrict your diet to lose a bunch of weight then I’ve got news for you: you have to continue busting your butt and restricting your diet in order to maintain that new shape.
You cannot go back to your old habits or you’re screwed.
I recently interviewed a TV personality for another article about her weight issues and how she was “perpetually trying to lose 10 pounds.” She told me she had stayed at a stable weight for years, which was actually a pretty good and healthy weight, but that she had always desired to be slimmer.
One day, frustrated, she gave up on losing that last bit of weight — and stopped taking care of herself. Within months she gained 30 pounds. She eventually got in gear again and is now holding steady at her previous weight. But she’s still striving to lose those 10 pounds. It’s the desire to be a little slimmer that keeps her stable.
The same goes for me.
I recently wrote an article about my personal quest for six-pack abs, but it never really happened. I achieved more like a four-pack — something I never thought I’d be able to sustain. Five months later, I’ve still got that four-pack and I’m holding steady at exactly the same weight.
The reason I’ve been able to do so is simple: I’m still chasing that six-pack — knowing I’ll probably never get there. It helps me sustain what I have.
I’ve witnessed dozens of people maintaining their weight loss because they still want to lose a little bit more. It’s that nagging, unrealized goal that keeps them from gaining weight back.