The demand for immediate results is everywhere and our need for instant gratification is making up incredibly impatient. Think about it. We no longer have to wait for online orders to ship in 3-5 business days thanks to Amazon Prime, we don’t have to wait for a ride to the bar thanks to Uber, we can watch our favorite shows from the 90s anytime we want thanks to Netflix and we don’t even have to go out and find a date because we can find one (although probably not an ideal one) in less than 30 minutes on Tinder! Anything we want is at our fingertips and the fitness industry is no exception.
Fitness is a results-driven business. People sign up for personal training, buy meal plans, sign up for 30 day challenges and 7 day detoxes so they can get the results they’ve always wanted…and fast.
I totally understand that slow and steady isn’t as exciting as the promise of losing 10 pounds in 10 days (remember: these pounds aren’t fat…they’re mostly just water) but in the world of fitness and fat loss, slow and steady really does win the race. That initial drop can be super motivating, but guess what? It doesn’t last. The faster it comes off, the faster it will come back on.
If you’ve ever watched The Biggest Loser you’ve seen the contestants lose an incredible amount of weight in the first week. Come weeks two and three, their weight loss slows down majorly or even comes to a halt. If you’ve seen any follow-ups with past contestants, the majority have gained their weight back. It’s no wonder! In the real world people don’t live on weight loss ranches and have their meals prepped and have 6 hours a day to exercise. Our bodies can’t continue dropping 5, 10, 15 pounds every week. Our bodies just can’t keep up. So what does instant gratification and fast results really get us? It gets us yo-yo dieting, binge/restrict cycles and brings our self-esteem way down.
So how do we begin to love slow & steady? First you have to find the eating style that works for you. An idea I really love, and have mentioned before is writing down all your past experiences with diets, the good things and not so good things, then see what you can take from each experience. This will help you narrow down your non-negotiables. Mine are no restrictions, no tracking, no counting, just eating what I want, when I want, getting enough protein and carbs and enjoying healthy fats. I can’t be pressured to eat a certain amount of veggies or fruits because if I don’t hit my 8 servings it makes me feel like I’ve failed so why put that pressure on myself?
Second, remember that if you lose one pound every week for a year, that’s 52 pounds. If you go on for two years that’s 104 pounds. That’s a shit ton of weight! Not every week will be the same. Some weeks you’ll lose more and some less and you might even stall for a few but slow progress is still progress! Just. Keep. Going.
Anything worth having takes time, work and patience and this is absolutely true in the fitness world.
Resisting instant gratification and surrendering to slow & steady is really hard and it takes a lot of work, especially if you are, or were, a chronic dieter, but you have to learn to trust yourself. The next time you’re tempted to start a new diet/cleanse/30-day challenge, ask yourself “could I eat this way forever?” If the answer is no, don’t expect long term results. If the answer is yes, then it’s very likely that you’ve found your own, individual nutritional lifestyle 🙂