By LMQC Battle of the Bulge blogger, Alan Sivell, St. Ambrose communications professor, RAGBRAI-er, pizza lover and longtime weight watcher.
At our garage sale last week, I sold one of our Schwinn Airdynes.
(It was my backup. I still have another for the days I can’t make it to the Y.)
I was pleased to sell it because it’s heavy and took up space. But I was even more pleased by the fact that I sold it to a guy – we’ll call him Bob – in his 50s who wants to get back into shape.
Bob said when he was a young man, he used to look at guys in their 50s and say, “Man, that guy really let himself go.”
Now, he says, when he looks in the mirror, he’s one of those guys.
He thought about it for months, he says, but it finally clicked. After purchasing my exercise bike, Bob hopped back into his pickup truck in search of a NordicTrack skier.
We’ve all had those moments when things “click.”
Like when the stroke we’ve been practicing in tennis or golf finally feels like a groove.
Like when we run more than 2 miles and realize we can – and will – run 5.
Like when we make a change that finally sticks.
My own change took years to happen. I would follow my plan for awhile, cutting calories and going to the gym. But then I would slowly slide backwards, rewarding my hard work with food like an overflowing $5-dollar milkshake.
Eventually, it clicked for me. It will for you, too, if you keep working at it. The lifestyle change you want (and need) will become permanent.
Last month in Battle of the Bulge, Luke Maiers told a similar story. He started and failed to change again and again, until one day it just clicked. Today, he’s lost 100 pounds.
Lots of us try to change, sometimes for years. But our habits are ingrained. We’re too busy thinking about jobs, kids and chores. At some point, we decide we’re too old to change.
Don’t believe it! You’re not too busy and it’s never too late. Make the decision to do it. And stick with it. Again.
Gather information. Read and talk to friends who have made successful, long-term lifestyle changes. This homework is an important step, but it can be overwhelming. It could go on for years, enough to stall your challenge. So set a time limit of 2 weeks or a month.
Make a plan. Think about your meals, the food you will or won’t have in the house. Schedule your daily exercise sessions, no excuses.
Set a start date. If you fall off your plan after an extra glass of wine or a particularly bold craft beer, get right back on. That’s part of the process.
Don’t reward yourself with food. Reward yourself with smaller sized clothes. That’s much more satisfying and longer-lasting feeling than the temporary thrill of a Butterfinger shake.
Do it again. And again. And again.
After 3 months, if it hasn’t clicked for you, make a few adjustments and go another 3 months. And then another. Eventually, it will click. I guarantee it.
|Meet Battle of the Bulge blogger, Alan Sivell. Alan is a communications professor at St. Ambrose University and a former reporter for WQAD-TV who has exercised – and dieted – his entire life. Read Alan’s other blog posts.|