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Obstacles – we all experience them
Whatever path we are on, whatever we are trying to achieve, whether it is personal or professional we will face and experience obstacles from time to time.
Obstacles are the things sent from the universe to try and knock us off track, or completely scupper our attempts at change. What we have to do is learn from these occasions and work out how we can avoid these obstacles or barriers in the future, and not make the same mistakes over and over again.
Are you really changing your lifestyle or are you just on another diet?
This is an important question – because we are about lifestyle change, and while we wholeheartedly believe that lifestyle change is THE only way to affect lifelong weight loss and management, we know that there are a large number of people who just want to lose weight as quickly as possible.
Lifestyle change is more than a diet and is more than just about achieving a certain number on the scales – it is everything else that comes with it – moving more, meeting new people, making new friends, taking on challenges and improving your mental and physical health and wellbeing, striving to be the best version of yourself. So if that’s what you’re here for – we are excited for you – because it is an amazing journey.
If you aren’t here for that, then you are potentially setting yourself up to fail.
But it’s ok to fail
At Be Strong, it is totally OK to fail, as long as we learn from it.
Failure is common, especially in this game, but what we have to do is treat it as a learning experience.
Scientists fail regularly – they perform tests and experiments and get a totally different outcome to what is expected – it’s called trial and error – but the difference between them and us is they don’t give up on what they are trying to achieve – they learn from it, change their methodology, and step by step, incrementally get closer to what they set out to achieve. We can apply this at Be Strong too!
Use mistakes and failure as a learning experience
A really simple example is that you decide you’re going to join a Pilates class. It’s something different, you never did it before and you know some people who go and enjoy it. You sign up, acquire the correct kit, turn up and attend for 4 weeks. You then speak to your friends and confide that you don’t like going and are not enjoying it.
You feel its a chore to go along and you’re beginning to dread it. You tell them that you’re moving heaven and earth to make the class and you simply don’t enjoy it when you get there. You can’t really put your finger on it but you know its not for you. You explain that its probably lots of little things. You agree to keep going for another 2 weeks to see how you go and promise to keep an open mind.
At the end of those 2 weeks nothing much has changed so you cancel your subscription and stop attending.
Is that a failure? Absolutely not! You tried something new, researched it, prepared well and gave it an extended period to see if things would improve. You learned too! You now understand that Pilates isn’t for you, that time of week and day doesn’t work for you with your other commitments. On reflection you found it was too individual, you really prefer activities where you support others and vice versa, kind of a mutual aid or team environment.
Reflecting on all of these points and more importantly remembering them, will increase your chances of success when you try something new again, if you use it to inform your future decisions about what classes you want to try.
Improve your chances of success
Trying new things always has potential risks but we can minimise them by the types of decisions we make.
Short cuts and quick wins
Avoid those plans and decisions that take us down short cuts looking for a quick win! We know that it’s tempting to take the route that promises everything tomorrow, where patience and graft isn’t a pre-requisite. But when we take these routes the risk of failure is massively increased. Because in real terms, there is no such thing as a quick win! If there is – it is quick in every sense of the word – short term and never lasts long. Changing your lifestyle should always be done incrementally, with small changes introduced gradually.
If the change you choose to make is a big change such as committing to walking 2 miles to work 3 days per week, and back again, then that should be all you try to change. Don’t over complicate things for yourself, by trying to change lots of other things as well. Simple works, this is hard enough as it is!
You might want to make a more simple, achievable change, such as tracking how much fluid you take in, and whether you can drink 3 x 500ml bottles of water or sugar free cordial each day.
Unfortunately what happens in reality, is people go from being inactive, eating and drinking recklessly with no control, to walking to and from work every day, joining a gym and attending 5 times a week, eating chicken and kale, drinking water and sticking a label on it that says ‘I’m doing lifestyle transformation with Be Strong’. No you’re not. You’re doing your own plan (with you) and we’ll bet everything we own that you won’t be successful that way. Just sit back, look at that plan and convince us how you can sustain it – then decide if it’s a good decision to follow that plan.
We all want these! These are the decisions where the reward given far outweighs the proposed effort that you need to put in. If it sounds too good to be true, then it likely is!
But, how many of us have bought the ‘Perfect Abs in 10 days’ DVDs, or been enticed by the latest meal plan to ‘Drop a dress size in 7 days’, or the ‘I lost 3 stones in 6 weeks and met the love of my life’ shakes? These plans, or rather the authors of these plans prey on our vulnerabilities. The producers of such know that we are either truly desperate to achieve weight loss, or we are so used to a society of seemingly instant gratification where rewards are achieved with minimal effort, that we don’t want to wait.
There is a common trait that runs through all these types of ‘quick results’ programmes. They all involve you parting with substantial amounts of money, and there is not an ethical professional in the UK who would recommend these. Could you imagine if you rocked up at a local group and the leaders advised you to eat 2 boiled eggs, 2 pieces of fruit, a grilled chicken breast and a green salad each day whilst drinking 5 glasses of their new miracle weight loss cordial at only £29.99 a bottle?
Would you lose weight? Yes, of course! Why? Because you are actually starving yourself!!!!
Does the weight loss super drink at only £29.99 a bottle make any difference? No! It’s just a bottle of normal sugar free cordial!!! Why do they do it? To steal your money!!
If miracle cures worked it would save the NHS in the UK billions and they would be prescribing these products left, right and centre. Surprise surprise, they are not!
Take some smart risks
Smart risks is where you should be investing your time and money – the risks where it’s going to take some effort and hard work on your part. Be Strong is the best place to take those risks. It’s the place to be, if you want to make some changes that will help you to develop a long term healthy lifestyle, with the side effect of weight loss.
You may have chosen another type of group or online setting before, you may have been to Be Strong before, and it may not have worked, or only have worked for a short period of time. If this is the case, ask yourself ‘why?’ Did their advice not work, was it poorly informed or presented badly to you? Did you actually listen to what was said, and put it into practice? Or did you just go along to get weighed, do your own thing, and then give up, when the results weren’t what you wanted?
If it’s the latter, then its good news! Groups help, there’s no doubt about that. The community and peer support from groups (online or physical) are a great way to keep motivation up and on track. But when you turn up, you have to join in. As Rick says, ‘If you’re at the party, you may as well take your coat off!‘ Groups don’t work if you don’t engage with the group or follow the methods given to you. So take the advice, be brave and engage, put yourself out there, but keep it all very simple, minimise the pressure on yourself, and don’t do everything in one go.
Our very simple advice to you
You must accept that it won’t likely happen for you overnight. But, if you do take small, incremental steps then you have the absolute best chance of success. Read our articles on Tracking Calories and Goal Setting to get started, or check out The Academy online learning. There is enough in there to keep you going (and learning!) for a few weeks. If you need help, then get in touch with us, leave a comment or ask in the Facebook group.
Try your utmost to progress this from being a hobby to a serious business! You can pick up and leave a hobby as and when it suits you. If its a serious business you get the job done, and you live that life for as long as it takes, until it becomes a part of you. Where are you now? Can you make the change or somewhere in between? It all depends on what fits with you but as long as your travelling in the right direction that’s all that matters.
This is all about your belief in yourself, learning from the past and working hard towards your aspirations. It’s about accepting that we don’t get it right 100% of the time – but the trick is to stop making those same mistakes over and over. We know that sometimes when things aren’t going your way that you feel like doing is to forget about Be Strong and whatever goals you have set yourself. But, you don’t need to walk away from Be Strong when this happens. Stay connected, it will help you to re-group, re-plan and assess the next move. You can do it all from within. We can always accept people failing, after all most people fail at something every now and again. What we cannot accept is never really trying. Some people tell us they really want to make changes, then they only give us reasons why, for them, trying is not an option. Everybody can try at something – in these circumstances ask yourself ‘What can I do?’.
So this week, reflect on where you are on your journey and what your next move is. Reflect on how the next few weeks and months of your life, might impact on where you are up to on this journey, and how you might have to adjust for it. Don’t be afraid to try and fail in the process, as long as you learn from the experience.