One out of every eight women gives up a weight loss plan within the first five days. 16 percent of women give up after two weeks. By week five, most women that begin dieting have completely surrendered to old habits.
These are some of the depressing statistics surrounding weight loss. Success rates for overall fitness goals are even worse. According to a 2012 study by Bodybuilding.com, 73% of people who make fitness a New Year’s resolution give up before they reach their goal.
I woke up one morning last week with zero motivation. It had only been 10 days since my starting point, yet I was already hearing that negative voice in my head. That voice was a familiar one, but it definitely wasn’t a friend. “Let’s go jogging.” It hurts. “You’re doing great.” I don’t care. “You’ve already lost 10 pounds.” It’s probably just water weight, anyway. Even with this great debate running through my mind, I somehow managed to get my legs to obey my inner personal trainer rather than my inner slug.
I put on my running shoes, and in that moment, I became more than a statistic.
I set out on a new running trail, hoping the change of scenery would increase my motivation. But with each step of my first mile, I felt more and more like I had on the first day of running. I was counting down the moments until I could return to my car. I kept checking my watch, desperately hoping to see those numbers click by a little faster. I was three steps away from an all-out temper tantrum; I could even visualize myself falling to the ground and “frying like bacon.” For those of you who have never witnessed a two-year old having a “fry like bacon” tantrum, this type of fit contains writhing, full body contortions while lying on the ground. The body movements are reminiscent of (you guessed it) frying bacon.
But I digress. Three steps from my conniption fit, I saw a woman topping the hill in front of me. She had been running while she climbed the hill, but as soon as she got to the top, she slowed to a walk. Seeing such a capable, healthy runner, I wanted to yell out encouragement to her. Keep going! You can do it! You’ve already finished the hard part! My inner personal trainer was apparently getting stronger, but I wondered why it was easier for me to imagine offering encouragement to a stranger than to myself. It also struck me that, rather than letting the challenge of the hill intimidate her, this runner was speeding up into the hill. Grasping for anything that might make the day’s workout a little more enjoyable, I decided to try doing the same thing. Keep in mind that at this point in my fitness, I still think a 14-minute mile is a good time. This means that running up the hill is not truly an option for me–I am looking to either jog slowly, or just walk a little bit faster.
Strangely, with each hill I climbed, I found myself thinking less about what I didn’t want to do, and focusing more on the task ahead of me. I was attacking the hill. I was confronting the challenge. I was refusing to give up, to go home, to quit.
I was putting one foot in front of the other, determining that I would not be a statistic. I would not quit.
I need to find a way to silence that negative voice. I have to focus on the accomplishments instead of the failures. I must step out of my comfort zone, because comfort foods and comfortable habits are what brought me here. I need to pursue challenges, instead of avoiding them. I must attack the hill.