The hardest part of any type of health plan is overcoming the inevitable bumps in the road. Whether we're trying to lose weight, build muscle or just live a healthier lifestyle-we all will face obstacles in our way. Our success or failure will depend on how we face these challenges. I like to picture my own journey as a series of gently rolling hills which rise up in front of me. My goal is to get over each subsequent hump-one at a time. As I reach the crest of the first hill I find a level area to rest and prepare for the next hill, which is still a little ways off in the distance. I can see that the next hill rises a little higher. I also find the time to look back on the hill I just climbed. I measure my successes and failures. I determine where I can improve. The mistake I used to make is that I used to look at improved health as a climb up Mount Everest. As I struggled up a steep and perilous slope, I would inevitably lose my footing and slide back down. I would keep slipping and falling. After awhile I would either hurt myself and have to start over or get disgusted and give up. Most of the time I couldn't even see the top of the mountain. Remember some of the previous rules. In rule #4 we learned about realistic goals and expectations. In rule #6 we started by taking small steps.
I can tell you from personal experience that the hardest hump, or hill to get over is the first. This hump hits you anywhere from 3-6 months. One of the toughest humps to get over is the one we face while on weight loss programs. On most weight lose programs the first few months are exciting. You're trying new programs with healthy foods. The pounds start melting away. You're losing about 5 pounds a week. You're looking and feeling better. People are complimenting you on how good you look. You're starting new exercises. You may have joined a gym or started walking. Everything is great, and then boom-something happens. Your weight lose slows. You may even have a week or two when your weight increases. (Go to rule #9). You go out of town to your cousins wedding or go on vacation, and your program slips. Your cravings start up. You may even pull a muscle at an aerobics class and have to stop exercising for a few weeks. So many things can happen. You may even have a stressful job. You may be forced to work long hours, and find it hard to eat right. The list goes on and on. It appears that the entire world is conspiring to ruin your health plan.
I remember years ago when I took up a running program. I did everything right. I started slow, and worked my way up from jogging to running. I gradually increased my mileage and speeds. I ate right and got enough rest. My problem was I was having trouble getting over that first hump. After 3 months of running I was always tired, and my legs always hurt. I had a bad case of shin splints. I was pulling muscles no matter how much I stretched. I almost gave up. Then one day I was on a long easy run. The first few miles were a gradual up-hill run which led me to a hill overlooking a scenic valley. I took a few minutes to catch my breath and enjoy the view. The climb was hard, but I had made it. As I was starting to head back down the hill for my return trip I realized that I actually felt good. The pain in my shins was gone. It's hard to describe the feeling. I almost felt like a kid again. I had overcome my first hump.
The million dollar question is-how do we get over the hump? I remember when I was sixteen, had just got my learner's permit and my Father took me out on the road for my first driving lesson. The first thing he said to me was- "Son, you need to keep a steady hand on the wheel". His words have always stuck with me. The key is to relax, and. to never get too high or too low. Another important component of getting over the hump is understanding. You have to learn to understand what's happening to your body. Get on the Internet and study how the body reacts to dramatic changes. Then there won't be any surprises. In the first few weeks of a weight loss program the weight you lose is mostly water. Weight lose will begin to slow down as your body tries to compensate for the changes you're making. Slowing weight loss is natural. See rules #13 and # 21. As your weight slows you'll need to build muscle and boost metabolism to keep the process of weight lose going. The key is to continue to think long-term. Make this a lifetime program with long-term goals. Also, keep in mind the big picture.When most of us our trying to lose weight our entire focus is on our caloric intake and our scale. We become so focused on these two things that if they're not doing what they're supposed to, we panic. Don't worry. You're facing you're first hump. How you handle it will determine your future success as you face new humps.
You may have noticed that many of the 25 rules deal with things outside of ourselves. #10 deals with reaching out to others. #11 has you getting and taking care of a pet. One of the best ways to get over not only your first hump, but subsequent ones is to relax, keep busy and worry, not about yourself, but about other people. I don't know if you feel the same, but most of my overeating was not because I was hungry or loved the taste of food. I ate a lot of times because I was bored, lonely or had nothing better to do. I also ate out of habit. I remember sitting down with a big bag of chips to watch TV. Half the time I didn't even remember finishing the bag. I find it easier to not over-eat if I'm busy, or if I'm helping others. The people you reach out to may also become a support structure when you need to get over one of the inevitable humps.