On the road to weight loss, fitness, and health, you can easily become discouraged. In fact, discouragement is what leads many people to give-up when they may have been near a point of significant progress and encouragement in their program.
I've put together my "top 10" points of encouragement to help keep your spirits high on your road to weight loss, fitness, and health.
1. It does get better – and often very quickly! Many people that are significantly overweight or that have been sedentary for a long time, find any activity, even walking a few hundred feet, to be very difficult and uncomfortable. Be encouraged, many physiological changes happen very quickly once you start moving. Walking, for example, starts getting easier and more comfortable within a couple of weeks. Keep moving – every day will be a little better! Be encouraged!
2. I love this lady's story. It just makes you want to cheer for her while sitting at your computer. Margie from Madison, Wisconsin weighed 296 pounds when she started walking in her neighborhood. She says she started by walking about half a block twice a day and that it was incredibly difficult at first.
After the second day she had decided to quit but a neighbor encouraged her to continue. Every day she walked the same route but added a little distance each week. She says there were many days when she wanted to quit, but she wanted very badly to lose weight and be healthy. After several months the people in her neighborhood started noticing her consistency and her progress and started giving her compliments and words of encouragement. She said that after a few months of walking, it went from painful to enjoyable.
About ten months into her walking program, she began her morning walk as usual, but she noticed people out in their yards. As she passed each yard they were clapping and cheering for her, "go Margie", "we're proud of you Margie", "congratulations Margie!" She said tears of happiness flowed through her entire walk that morning as over a hundred people cheered her on all along her route! Be encouraged!
3. The visible signs of progress in a weight loss program are often very slow to come. Healthy weight loss takes time, but that can be very discouraging. Be encouraged to know that for each day that you exercise and eat healthy foods in moderate quantities, you have made progress. It might not be measurable that day, but you have made progress and it will be measurable over a period of weeks and months. Be encouraged!
4. Katherine was 43 years-old and had been sedentary for 20 years. The scale had not changed in those 20 years – she still weighed 136 pounds, but she knew she had lost muscle and gained fat. Her waist was bigger and she couldn't fit into the same size clothes that she did 20 years earlier. What bothered her most was that she was always tired and never had energy.
She decided to start walking and weight training but quit after a week. She said, "It's too uncomfortable, I can't keep doing this." I encouraged her to continue and told her that it would get better. She "quit" three times during the next two weeks. We talked frequently. Six weeks later she started to notice some muscle tone and she noticed that her endurance and energy level had increased dramatically. She said, "I'm very encouraged!"
Eight months later she had gained two pounds on the scale but lost three inches in her waist – and she walked a marathon! Yeeeeeeesss! Be encouraged!
5. The whole idea behind physical training is that you push your body to do a little more than it's comfortable with and it responds by making physical and physiological changes. These changes make you capable of doing a little more with less discomfort. Be encouraged!
6. Gerald in New Orleans, Louisiana lost 85 pounds after he started walking and weight training. Once he had lost the weight, he decided to do something that would allow him to fully appreciate his weight loss. For an entire day, he carried around a sack that contained 85 pounds of metal weights.
Getting around during that day was a struggle and very tiring. At the end of the day he was exhausted! Life without the weight is great! Be encouraged!
7. Keep records of your progress. Every day write down the positive changes you've noticed and also keep a record of the exercise you do every day. Write down what you did, how long you did it, and any thoughts about your exercise that day. Keep a running total of your minutes. You can look back at what you've done with a great sense of accomplishment and you'll be motivated to do more. Be encouraged!
8. Daily exercise will change your life! I believe God designed humans to be active on a daily basis. Why? because when you are, lots of good things happen ..
– you are healthier
– you feel better and have more energy
– you are less likely to develop cancer, heart disease, stroke, etc.
– you sleep better
– you have a better outlook on life
– your relationships with people are enhanced
– your skin looks healthier
– you are sick less often
– your immune system is stronger
– you lose fat
– you gain toned, lean muscle
– you look healthier
9. Betty Jo in Tuscaloosa, Alabama wrote to me .. "Greg, After 24 years of being married to a grouchy, pessimistic man who did not enjoy life, I saw all that change over a period of about a year. Harold was the classic 70 pound overweight couch potato when he was scared into exercising and healthier eating habits by the death of his 46 year-old friend. "
Harold's doctor recommended that he start walking every morning and after a couple of weeks Harold told Betty Jo that he wanted to start eating better. Harold really took-off with this "health thing" and lost 72 pounds and become a new man – inside and out. In Betty Jo's words, "I have a new husband. He walks for an hour every morning and he is a joy to be around. His enthusiasm for life makes our marriage fun." Be encouraged! 10. Progress and improvement generate encouragement. YOU can progress and improve and be encouraged to do more. Tomorrow morning, put on your walking shoes and take a walk, even if it's just a few minutes. The next day, do it again – progress and improve.
copyright 2001 by Greg Landry, MS