Picture credit: GerryT
Wouldn't it be great if you could just end the struggle and get some real results?
That thought comes to mind in almost every area of our lives where we feel we "should" do a particular thing(s), but keep failing.
Well I reckon I've jumped into one particular battle and won it big-style, and it's had a huge impact on other things too. You already know what I'm going to say: it was the battle to get physically active after a lifetime of lardy laziness that made all the difference.
A few days ago I talked about how I lost 50 pounds and got shed loads of extra energy in just a few months. I wanted to remind myself, and anyone else who might benefit, how I got started and made changes that have actually "stuck" for more than two years now.
Today's the third of January.
If you do what I'm suggesting, starting today, there's a good chance you'll have a noticeably smaller arse by the end of the month!
But first, a few questions to get really, really clear on.
1) Do you really want a smaller arse? (a smaller bum generally means you'll also loose flab from other places too).
Picture credit: jkavo
2) And if so, why? This is very important.
Why do you want one? I mean do you really want to lose weight? Why? Where's that desire coming from? What's so special about losing a few pounds? What are our reasons?
Having very clear reasons for wanting to do a thing, positioning it carefully in the bigger picture of what we're about and where we want to go in life, is one of the keys to motivation and making lasting changes.
So, let's not give ourselves flaky answers that we haven't really thought about. Get real: what's the actual pay-off for having a smaller arse?
Picture credit: timparkinson
For me, losing weight was initially about:
A) knowing I'd look better (wondering what it might be like to not look like crap at the beach or swimming pool);
B) wanting more energy to get all my stuff done and to be generally less tired;
C) I wanted to know what it'd be like, for the first time in my life, to be fit!
Now, more than two years after I took up running for weight loss, I love it for its own sake too, it is a thing of beauty, pleasure, and it lifts the spirits on a daily basis. If you've never established the habit of regular fast movement, you probably won't get what I'm on about.
Picture credit: mikebaird
You see I'd heard that fit and active people just "feel better".
And I'd heard that as well as feeling better, getting active had all kinds of knock-on effects including clearer thinking, less stress, more happiness - smashing things indeed. I just wanted to experience that wonderful sense of vitality. I'd imagined, if I could just get to a certain fitness point, I'd enjoy life on a higher level.
I don't know if you've ever thought "maybe there's something that experts know, that if I just discovered it, and applied that knowledge, I'd be dramatically transformed and all my glorious potential would finally be released"?
I have. Have you?
Well anyway, so far, I've discovered no such thing! BUT, I honestly think getting moving fairly fast on a regular basis, for physically inactive people like I was, may well be the NEAREST thing we'll find to a kind of natural magic!
So that brings us to this next question:
3) Is this smaller-arse-package-deal really worth the price we'll have to pay to get it? (and when I say smaller-arse-package I mean smaller-any-fat-thing-you-like, looking-better-more-energy-fitness-feeling-better-clearer-thinking-less-stress-more-happiness-higher-plane-vitality-smashingness!)
Picture credit: peter becker
So go on, really think about it.
Is all that goodness worth the price we have to pay to get it?
You know my answer already! For me it is YES! YES! and thrice YES!
The thing is, the price we pay AIN'T THAT MUCH FOR WHAT WE GET! I've found the biggest thing needed is a change of attitude: think "can-do", rather than "this is gonna be really tough, most people fail, I'm not sure I'll keep it up".
Instead, let's settle in our own heads that we are "make-up-our-minds-and-make-it-happen-kinda-people". When we decide we want something that fits our life's bigger purpose, we find a way, right?. We build desire and destroy doubt. We ignore slip-ups, backsliding, mistakes, and we just get on with it! Oh yea, and we set it up so we ENJOY the process too.
The trick here is to just start! Start small! Say "boll ox" to a heavy schedule of unrealistic targets. We said we'd get real, didn't we?
So here's what I know that helped me get all the benefits I've outlined, and more.
Picture credit: marktollerman
Remember, I'm not an expert so you must check this stuff out properly for yourself. You must discover what's right for you personally - it's up to you to get proper medical advice where necessary. All I'm suggesting are these raw ideas that did the biz for me, I'd say the same to any of my mates if they asked.
It's widely accepted that getting moving fast, raising our heart rate, for at least 15-20 minutes most days is good for us. We know that.
Though there's some discussion about the amount and intensity the average adult needs in order to max out the benefits (see here, and here), I'm going to show you what I did that will at least help you start building a great habit, and feeling better.
Oh yea, if you feel better and get more energy, do you think that'll also improve your mood? I think so! And if your mood improves, your going to have a nicer personality, right?
Too right! Now bring it on!
TRY THIS AND SEE WHAT HAPPENS IN 29 DAYS
1) Set yourself up to win by tackling just one habit change at a time (chase two rabbits and we'll catch neither, and all that!)
2) The habit to establish first is that of getting moving fast five times a week. Depends on your schedule but really, this foundation of energy and vitality will become solid enough to help you build up all kinds of secondary benefits.
3) Get some training shoes on and get out the door of your house. You're going to do a round trip that gets you back to the place you started within the set time (or obviously, you could just do this as part of your journey to work).
4) The aim is to get your heart rate up to a good level for about 20 mins and to really enjoy it too.
5) You can get the results you want in 25 mins. That's everything you need to do in 25 mins.
6) You leave the house, office, wherever, and you start walking, after a few minutes warming up, you're walking as fast as you comfortably can.
7) Keep walking at that faster pace for about 15-20 mins.
8) Give yourself a few mins just before you arrive back home to walk a little slower as a warm-down.
9) You could do a little stretching when you get back.
10) I like listening to audio books or talks (got to stay aware of traffic and stuff though) to make it a really useful time.
Reading my own bullet points, it seems a bit patronising telling you that stuff.
Honestly, I don't mean it to be. It's just what works for me and I know how tough it can be to establish new habits unless we make it really, really simple and get the right thinking in place.
A few minutes of fast walking five times a week isn't that much. Yes, I know that what we eat also plays a huge part in the physical results we get. But it is always hard to establish more than one habit at a time. That is a key thing to note if you've tried things and failed before: for better results, try to just do ONE MAJOR HABIT CHANGE AT A TIME.
Getting physically active, like lots of things, often depends on whether or not we see this stuff as an important part of creating the life we want and for moving toward our sense of meaning and purpose.
Course, how we go about building the fast-moving-habit is entirely negotiable, whether its essential to our present and future health and well-being is not.
If you liked this post, you'll enjoy "How I became a runner, lost more than 50 pounds of ugly fat".
Hey, thanks very much for reading. I wish you all the best with your plans to get moving faster this month. Please let me know in the comments if you've any tips and how you're doing. Much love, Ian.
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- Bio: I’m passionate about my work:TV journalist, producer, presenter, business ideas person. I care about: family, friends, helping people, finding meaning, running