This is Part 2 of a 3 part series. If you missed Part 1, you can read it here.
Let me set the stage for you:
A potential female client comes in (although it could be a male, but since I work primarily with women, this story is about her) who is in her mid-50’s, 20+ pounds over fat, midway through menopause and has a wedding to attend in 3 months and wants to look good for it.
Writer’s note: I’m being overly generous on the time frame here. Most people who come to me for this sort of assistance tell me they have two weeks to a month to prep, and that’s when I have to be the bearer of truthful and painful, reality based bad news and let them know it ain’t-a gonna happen. Ahh…the life of a fitness professional…
In other words, this woman is looking for an outcome.
An end result.
And remember, everyone gets results from their efforts. The issue is in the clarification defining just what result we’re after.
A bank robber gets a result.
So does a rapist.
Likewise, so does a mechanic.
And a professional baseball player gets a result.
The difference is in whether the outcome is a positive, measurable one or one that is negative in nature.
Inherently, there’s nothing wrong with wanting an outcome, but I think there are much better ways to get said measurable, positive results and also to gain so much more personally in the process.
“How?”, you ask?
By focusing on the process versus the outcome.
Here’s an over-simplification of what I mean: by embracing and focusing on the process, the outcome will take care of itself.
Listen, losing body fat is a daily grind. It takes a long time, it’s tedious and it can be very frustrating. If all you’re focused on is the outcome, every day you don’t achieve it will be like having a mental root canal.
The time is going to pass anyway. If you started the process today, a year from now seems like an eternity away. But standing where you are today and having followed a success based process, looking back at where you were a year ago will seem like the blink of an eye.
Based on interviews with 76 individuals with obesity, researchers from Monash University found a few common themes among the participants. One of those themes was that “people living with obesity have been ‘socially conditioned’ to turn to diets for a cure for their obesity, and to blame themselves when diets fail”.
This is outcome based thinking.
Further interview research suggest that many people do try to diet and have done so multiple times in their lives only to gain their weight back. To quote Dr. Spencer Nadolsky in his book, the Fat Loss Prescription, “it is not your fault if you have gained weight and have not been able to lose it. Many factors are working against you”. An unsustainable diet plan is one of those factors. Not only do we tend to gain weight back but multiple failed diet attempts can have long term devastating effects on our confidence to try to lose weight again. To quote social psychologists Charles Carver and Michael Scheier:
“Because the environment often does not allow a permanent disengagement from the cycle of being unable to reduce discrepancies from ideal self and present self, the cycle continues: inability to attain higher order goals, awareness of that inability, and the negative feelings following from that awareness. All of this is further exacerbated by the fact that continued failure causes the expectancies of future failure to become more stable, leading to even lower likelihood of exerting sustained effort toward goals.”
I took these statement from this article and you should read it.
I understand the frustration having worked with literally hundreds of people who so desperately wish to shed their canvas of unwanted weight. But focusing on the “end result” will lead to anxiety, frustration, boredom and feelings of inadequacy.
By instead focusing on the process and creating a lifestyle that seeks healthy living versus just fat loss by eating supportively, exercising regularly, getting plenty of rest, building and maintaining bone density and muscle mass the result will, I 100% personally guarantee you, take care of itself.
However, by focusing solely on the end result, in other words the outcome, you will repeat the cycle you may be in, or have been in for years, for longer than you may care to participate.
Follow the process and the outcome will take care of itself.