Rock Around the Track
As I was chatting with a patient of mine the other day, we concluded that she was approaching her diet changes similarly to a job assignment. She is very goal oriented, so she took the information I gave her and ran with it full force only to end up “not happy.” As we continued to chat, we both agreed that the rate of implementing her changes was too fast. That’s when I blurted out my analogy of a horse race. The horse that bolts out of the gate and runs at full steam may eventually poop out as it rounds the track—and it can forget about the floral bouquet at the end of the race!
That got me thinking about people who approach January 1st with a long list of resolutions; and hopes of a fresh start in the new year. Everyone’s motivation level kicks into high gear and suddenly they are at the gym five days a week, or they are eating salads every day. Things go well for a few weeks and then life gets in the way—work, school, weather, illness, aches and pains, and commitments. And then everything starts to peter out and the Healthy New Me express train comes to a complete stop.
Starting out too fast and too gung ho can take some people out of the race from the start. Let’s revisit the race analogy. Rounding the laps of a track at a reasonable pace can maximize ones pursuit to achieve a victory—in our case, we are looking at health goals. Think of the laps of a racetrack as habits. It can take up to six weeks to make habits stick. So, you have to be consistent and moderate when applying changes that will turn into healthy habits. When you focus too much on the quick outcomes you lose sight of the measured pace that renders success.
This year, rather than go full force on your own, seek out professional advice from a registered dietitian who will help you develop a plan that's reasonable, realistic, manageable, and sustainable. Remember, it’s not aways about the weight loss. Focus on how you feel (clothes, head space, sleep, gut, energy, etc). Consider small changes as you rock around the track this year!
In Good Health-- and Happy 2023!