Thursday, August 25, 2011

Challenges

I've participated in a lot of fitness challenges. Well...to be more precise...I've started a lot of fitness challenges. I've actually completed none and I sit here trying to figure out why.

Oh, I start off like gangbusters. Most people do. We get all excited about a 6-week, 8-week, 12 week, whatever challenge to lose weight and get fit. Books are gathered. Diets are planned. Gyms are joined. We count down the days to the start of challenge and go roaring full speed with high expectations and bounding confidence.

A couple of weeks into it we peter out; tired, sick, overwhelmed, guilty, and disgusted with ourselves. We crawl away with the shame of failure. If you are like me and announce your grand challenge to the world, it's doubly humiliating and you really hope that all your friends won't ask you the dreaded question "so how's that challenge going for you?". The real pisser is that we usually end up in even worse shape than when we started.

What the hell is going on?

After starting and failing at so many challenges over the years, I think I have finally figured out what I (and maybe what a lot of other people) are doing wrong. I'm out of shape and trying to live the lifestyle somebody in shape overnight.

Think about it. I start a diet and exercise program which neither my body or mind is developed to cope with. As a result; I get hungry, tired, sick, and just generally feel a great deal worse than when I started. I get so discouraged than any excuse at all is enough for me to abandon the challenge.....rationalizing to myself that I've had unusual stressors or that I just don't have time in my busy day to do what the challenge requires of me. I beat myself up over an over about being unable to complete a challenge when, the simple fact is, I'm really just too out of shape to begin in the first place. Shawn Pillips' book Strength for Life notes this phenomenon and suggests a twelve day regimen to prepare a foundation for beginning a more intensive effort in developing long-lasting fitness....a sort of pre-challenge challenge. The idea is to adjust the body and mindset to the changes that need to be in place before taking on other changes in lifestyle and activity level.

This is what I will attempt at the beginning of my year long project in about four days. 12 days following a program of diet and exercise to prepare myself for the changes I wish to incorporate for the next year and the rest of my life.

"Life is occupied in both perpetuating itself and in surpassing itself. If all it does is maintain itself, then living is only not dying." --- Simone de Beauvoir

7 comments:

Andrea said...

I read a book written by a former fat person that said one of the worst things you can do on your journey to lose weight is announce it to the world that you are in fact, trying to lose weight. I guess in some way it sets you up for failure when everyone knows your business. I've actually had two friends who lost a tonage of weight and the only way anyone knew was they posted some pictures of Facebook of their post weight loss selves...but not in a "look at meeee!!!" kind of way, more like a "here is a new profile picture" kind of way. The one friend faked having ADHD and got herself a steady supply of Adderol (so I guess I can see why she didn't want the world to know that) and the other friend hasn't eaten bread in like, 2 years (no way in hell I could do that).

So I don't know......different strokes for different folks..

But every time that I decided to embark on some sort of weight loss venture I have always crashed and burned too...don't feel bad...

Angelina said...

It is like anything, you have to do it even if you don't want to. Really, do it if you don't want to. I mean, force yourself to to it especially if you don't feel like it.

Know what I'm saying, get out there and do it! Right now, go... why are you still here, get out there and take a walk.

Anji said...

I've been reading your blog for a long time. I think you try to do too much. How many times have you stooped smoking in the past year? Go gently, do one step at a time untill you are ready for the next.


I visit your blog when I’m on ExposeYourBlog!

Boyd said...

Well buddy I'm here to support you 110% all save the other 90% for a later day lol.

Jay said...

Oh...Anji...I don't smoke.

Anji said...

Ooops, I'm sorry. I understood that the counter I see at the top of the page was for that.

Well, there's a positive point for you!

Jay said...

well...you're right though...I did make a lot of attempts. One thing that I've found out about myself is that, for the most difficult goals anyway, I have to fail a few times to get the experience and knowledge.