So, I’m going to blog about what works for me. And why it might not work for you. (And why what works for you might not work for me.)
Confused? OK, let’s back up. When I was in college, studying for a degree in psychology, I came across a study that compared three types of therapy: traditional psychoanalysis, cognitive therapy, and behavioral (reward/punishment) therapy. Participants were asked which therapy they believed was most effective, but were then assigned randomly to a course of treatment with a therapist. Which therapy was most effective? It turned out that all three therapies were most effective—with those individuals who believed in advance that that therapy would work for them.
Now, extrapolate that to exercise and dieting. The reason most people fail with exercise programs and diets is because they don’t enjoy their workouts and they don’t enjoy what they’re eating. Our lives are busy and stressful enough that there are just too many reasons to give up on something you don’t enjoy.
(Can you imaging meeting someone, falling madly in love with them, and then saying you weren’t seeing them very often because the person didn’t fit into your schedule? Or because you spend all your evenings with your friends, and your friends didn’t like the person? Substitute “diet” or “workout” for “person” and you’ll see why these are pretty feeble excuses. If you love your workout, or you love what you’re eating, you’ll change your life to stick with it.)
So the challenge is to find the workout, or the diet, that you love.
In my case, the workout I love is 5 hours a week of yoga classes (or, substitute in belly dance classes if there aren’t enough yoga classes available). I haven’t found a diet I love, so dieting doesn’t work for me.
But it might be different for you. You might decide you love the South Beach Diet. Or running. Or eating primarily organic vegetables and whole grains.
I’ve found myself rolling my eyes at people who ask, about my workout schedule, “So, how much longer are you going to do that?”
Er, for the rest of my life.