This is your year, you tell yourself.
You’re going to start working out and eating right. Get in shape. Finally run that marathon. All of these are admirable goals. Unfortunately, the odds are very much against you.
Statistically, the majority of people who set weight-loss goals fail. There are various complicated reasons, but the simple fact is that change is hard.
Maybe you’re a couch potato who lacks the motivation to get moving. Or perhaps you can’t find a rhythm and you’re alternately very dedicated to your workouts, then not. Even if you are someone who has managed to make healthy eating and exercise into a steady routine, you may find yourself trapped in that uncomfortable spot on a plateau, progress nowhere to be found.
But whether you’re a Monday Starter or a Weekend Warrior, we have all faced those times when we can’t manage to move forward. We know what we should do, but we just … don’t do it. What’s required to propel a person to take that next step? What factors, mindsets and influences determine whether we succeed … or fail?
With the help of sports psychologists and the stories of people just like you, in the following pages we attempt to answer the burning question: What’s stopping you?
Get Off the Couch
Courtney Hambell desperately wanted
to lose weight. Not yet 30, her weight had ballooned to nearly 250 pounds. Like so many people, Courtney knew she needed to do something. But she wasn’t sure what, or how.
Dr. Stephen Graef, a psychologist at The Ohio State University, said lack of knowledge is a common obstacle for someone just trying to get off the couch. “Individuals who are trying to get going don’t really have any idea where to start,” he said. “The importance placed on it makes it even more overwhelming.“
Hambell knew her mindset had to change as well. “I think honestly I wasn’t mentally ready,” she said.
The truth is our brains are actually hardwired against change. It’s human nature to avoid doing what’s difficult, said clinical and sports psychologist Dr. Chelsi Day. “Anytime we give something pleasant up for something more unpleasant, it makes success much harder.”
Other factors that hold people back, according to Day, are fear and high expectations. “We are afraid to fail so we don’t even try,” she said. “We assume we can’t do something so we avoid it.”
After seeing how my workouts and being around positive people
all the time changed my mood, I just wanted to keep doing it.
For Hambell, change meant understanding her relationship with food. “I would use food as something to make me happy,” she said, “Not being able to separate the two was a huge part of why I wasn’t successful before.”
Graef recommends taking small steps over time rather than trying to change everything overnight. He says checking accomplishments off your list gives your brain momentum to keep going. “For the new exerciser, it’s a very slow process.”
Hambell started with weekly exercise classes and focused on eating healthy as much as possible. Down more than 70 pounds, she said getting results gave her motivation.
“After seeing how my workouts and being around positive people all the time changed my mood, I just wanted to keep doing it.”
Head over to 614 Columbus to read more…