The New Normal

Back in August my fiancé and I went to Hawaii for the first time. We wanted to look our best so we began a diet about three weeks before we went. We both looked ok but wanted to look a little better on the beach.

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Imagine BBQing here

I decided to limit fruit and nuts to one serving each per day. That may sound like an odd adjustment when you wanna lose weight but it wouldn’t if you knew I typically eat 2-4 servings of each per day.

Our diet adjustments were successful, we were both able to feel comfortable in our bathing suits as we went to the beaches of Maui. As I was walking on one of the little known beaches of Maui I thought to myself how my body had changed throughout the years since I started working out.

I’m not in internet picture shape but I would consider myself to be healthy and fit and I am fairly comfortable taking my shirt off given the proper setting. I wasn’t always like this, when I started working out I was 220 lbs and over 25 percent body fat.

As I thought about it I noticed a pattern in my transformation. I made big pushes toward goals and once I reached them I made that my new normal. I would have some event or self imposed deadline and successfully reach the goal.

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All I need is one branch (ode to Nas for the shirt on the head). Don't judge me it was hot and I'm pale.

After I reached each deadline I would notice that it was much easier to maintain wherever I was at than to reach a new level. I found it best to stay at the new me until it was easy and then get to the next level.

Think about babies when they start to move around: first they scoot around, then it gets easy and they begin to crawl. After they learn to stand they begin to walk. Once walking is easy they begin to run. They only stay at their current level of locomotion until it becomes easy then they move on. Once they make it to the next level they never go back. We should be no different.

If you are thinking about starting a workout program or taking the next step here is the best way to go about it:

  1. Realize that you’re at where you’re at

Don’t judge yourself and don’t feel embarrassed. Be true to yourself and come to terms with the fact that the body you have now is the body you have to work with. You will never get anywhere by judging or comparing yourself. The best thing you can do is accept and love your current situation and make a conscious effort to change it for the better.

2. Get to the next level

Once you know where you are you need to decide how to get to the next level. If you currently eat fast food 5 times a week and workout zero times a week it would be foolish to commit to eating out zero times a week and working out five times a week.

Decide the smallest and most sustainable steps to get you to the next level and implement them. With the example above you would commit to only eat out 4 times a week and you will begin to workout 1 time per week.

3. Get comfortable at the next level

Continue with this change until it becomes easy and automatic. If you are struggling with a current change it doesn’t make sense to introduce a new one. Moving on too fast will set you up to be overwhelmed and fail. It’s best to stick with your current change until it becomes comfortable and automatic.

4. Make a push to the next next level

Once you have stuck with your change for long enough that it is second nature and easy to sustain it’s time to introduce the next smallest sustainable change. Get your Brain McKnight on and start back at number 1.

5. Repeat until you get to your ultimate goal

Continue to introduce a new change and keep it until it is the new you. Then start the process over and over again.

This process if very effective but it requires that you don’t look back too far and you don’t look forward too far. Don’t set yourself up to be too overwhelmed and fail. Make small changes and stick with them until they become your new normal. Then make new changes and you will always be the best you possible.

Crawl before you walk, not after.