Ways to "stick with it" ?

Carol

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Over the weekend I had a chance to work out with a friend for a short time. My friend is a young fellow that occasionally moonlights as a personal trainer. We were talking about exercise, nutrition, and all that good stuff, when he mentioned something that I've heard before.

There are a lot of diets and/or exercise plans that work, when they are followed. The challenge for many people is following them for an extended period of time, enough so they aren't so much a "diet" or a "workout" but more like an adopted part of a lifestyle. I asked him how he gets his clients to stick with a routine for that long. He admitted that it was difficult. Unfortunately our conversation was cut short so I didn't get a chance to ask him the question that I'd like to throw out for discussion....


What are ways that you use (or that you teach) to help a routine become a habit/lifestyle change?
 

Stac3y

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In terms of working out, one word, "tournaments." I know a lot of people think that competition taints the "purity" of MA study, but knowing that I'm potentially going to embarrass the hiz-zell outta myself in public if I don't work out every stinkin' day sure does keep me motivated. So I go to a tournament just about every month, and that ensures that I'm constantly working to maintain and improve.

Eating right can sometimes be harder, though, at least for me. Sometimes the call of the cheesecake is just too strong....
 

stickarts

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For me it always came down to turning it from " I want to", or "I should", or "I would like to" to " I MUST!" There had to be a clear cut decision that I MUST do it and I can do it. If I had any inner thoughts of doubt it usually didn't work. It all starts from the inside out. Having supportive friends around you can help, but it has to be a top priority within yourself.
 

Bill Mattocks

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What are ways that you use (or that you teach) to help a routine become a habit/lifestyle change?

Lying and cheating (myself).

I used to smoke. I decided to quit. My subconscious mind gave me hell. Kept trying to convince me to go outside for a smoke while I was at at work. All day long. All night, I dreamed about smoking. This went on for a long time. I would even wake up convinced that I had just had a smoke, so since I had already fallen off the wagon, it was OK to have another. I could even taste cigarettes in my mouth - knowing I hadn't had one in weeks.

I started lying to my evil head. You want a smoke, pal? OK, I give in. I'm a weak guy. You win. I'll go have a smoke now. Oh, but just one thing, ok? Give me two minutes. Just two minutes. If you still want a cigarette then, we'll go.

The two minutes would pass, and so would the craving. Another hour dealt with.

I quit a two-pack a day habit six years ago, cold turkey. I still want a cigarette. But I won't have one today.

Martial arts training, going to the gym, going running - it's all the same. The days I don't want to go, I lie to myself.

"OK, self," I say. "You don't want to go work out. Cool. Just do me a favor. Let's put the workout gear on. Just in case, OK? We can always decide to order a pizza and watch TV instead."

Once the gear is on, I convince myself to just drive over to the dojo or the gym or the park. Just go there. I can always just drive home again. Just go there. Hey, I can always feign illness or something and come back. No one will mind. It happens. Just put in an appearance.

Then I get there and say well, maybe just go in for a bit. Don't even have to work out, really. Just phone it in, go through the motions. Do a couple half-hearted pushups and call it a day.

Then I do a few pushups and my blood starts to pump and I start to feel alive. Next thing I know, I'm covered in sweat and three hours has got behind me.

I'm no hero. I suck and I hate pain. But I can do this - just for one more minute. Then I'll quit. Or maybe just one more minute after that.

I have big long range goals, but I don't concentrate on them, they're just tucked away somewhere in the back of my mind. Just one goal at a time, little goals, attainable goals. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

I win by a series of small, incremental, improvements. I'm down 18 pounds since I started karate in September. A lot more to go - but I'll take them one at a time. Small, incremental improvements, is all I ask of myself.
 

Flying Crane

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as far as the training component goes, I simply enjoy it for its own sake, and that keeps me steady and consistent. I look forward to the training, just because I enjoy doing it.

When it comes to exercise, if you aren't doing something that you enjoy, you will not stick with it no matter how good for you it is. I got lucky: I found the martial arts when I was young, and I love it, so I keep doing it. But I've had times when I've tried to add weight lifting to my training. Problem is, I HATE weight lifting. Bores the hell out of me. So I can't stick with it.

Find what you enjoy, and the consistency will stay.

As far as food and dieting goes, that can be more tricky. There are way too many temptations around most of us, and it makes it very difficult. People in my office are always putting out bowls of chocolate or M&Ms and it's just too easy to grab them whenever you walk by.

You gotta just decide that it's important to you, and keep at it. And if you need to, talk to the people around you in your life, and ask them for their support by NOT putting out easy snacks and stuff, to remove the temptation. Often, people need that kind of extra support, and it really is good for everyone.

Over the years, I've managed to maintain my weight within 5-10 pounds of what I weighed when I graduated as a skinny kid from high school. For a long time, my training was enough, because it was intense. I could eat whatever I wanted. I'm starting to realize that that is no longer true. I still train pretty intensly, but I guess my metabolism is slowing down a bit since I'm almost 38 now. I discovered a couple weeks ago that I'm about 8 pounds heavier than my safe range, and I don't like it. Pants are fitting a bit snug now. So now I've got to be extra careful about the snacks and stuff. Just today, someone put out a bowl of cookies in my office, and I had some, after I got back from a training session at my gym. Damn...
 

Flying Crane

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Here's another thought: water. Drink more of it.

I've read that most Americans are chronically dehyrated, and we don't even realize it.

It contributes to lethargy, lack of energy, headaches, and (drumroll please...) HUNGER. Often, when we think we are hungry, we are really THIRSTY. So before you reach for that snack, take a drink of water and then wait 15 minutes or so and see if you are still hungry.

And I do mean WATER. Not tea, not coffee, not juice, not sodas, not energy drinks. Plain old simple WATER.
 

Bill Mattocks

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Here's another thought: water. Drink more of it.

http://www.snopes.com/medical/myths/8glasses.asp

Myth and rumor. If your body craves water, it makes you thirsty. If it craves food, it makes you hungry. Ingenious systems that work as designed. Hunger pangs pass in 15 minutes whether you drink water or not.

I'm drinking a lot of water (and peeing a lot) because for some reason, my body is craving it for the past couple weeks. But when it stops craving it, I won't force the issue. We're not chronically dehydrated. We're fat and lazy.
 

Gordon Nore

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What are ways that you use (or that you teach) to help a routine become a habit/lifestyle change?

I had a yoga teacher who used to say, towards the end of the workout, when we were stretched out on our backs, "This is the best thing you can give to the people who love you."

So, I think one needs to be a little selfish and say this exercise or nutrition regimen is a gift I'm giving to myself, but it will also benefit those around me. If I am fit, nourished and rested, I am a better worker, husband, and father.
 

Flying Crane

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http://www.snopes.com/medical/myths/8glasses.asp

Myth and rumor. If your body craves water, it makes you thirsty. If it craves food, it makes you hungry. Ingenious systems that work as designed. Hunger pangs pass in 15 minutes whether you drink water or not.

I'm drinking a lot of water (and peeing a lot) because for some reason, my body is craving it for the past couple weeks. But when it stops craving it, I won't force the issue. We're not chronically dehydrated. We're fat and lazy.

well, all I can say is that it does work for me.
 

seasoned

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In this hurry up world everyone wants it now. Life style changes take time, and depending on how off track you are from your goals, dont expect results in terms of weeks or months. I always work well with a plan, but not a time frame. Start with little changes whether it is diet or exercise, ideally both. Allow yourself breathing room, and mistakes, and above all dont punish yourself. Little subtle changes where it is no big deal, walk after dinner, skip desert a couple times a week. As you start to make progress, it will be easer to add more as you go. Slow and steady is the key, and before you know it your goals will be reached. Maintaining is always easer then the initial endeavor. Deep down our bodies function best when given the proper fuel and activity.
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Bill Mattocks

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I had a yoga teacher who used to say, towards the end of the workout, when we were stretched out on our backs, "This is the best thing you can give to the people who love you."

So, I think one needs to be a little selfish and say this exercise or nutrition regimen is a gift I'm giving to myself, but it will also benefit those around me. If I am fit, nourished and rested, I am a better worker, husband, and father.

And if I cack it during the work out, my wife gets a fat wad of cash from the life insurance I carry. A true win-win.
 

terryl965

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Yes it is so simple to just add the routine into our daily life, not we are creature of habit the fastfood industry hold all of us hostage for life. We have no will power and the Oreo's keep comming out the butt. I mean if the world got rid of Oreo's and Ice Cream I would be thin as hell. Nice ideal but the majority will always be overwieght we as society except this type of lifestyle.
 

AoCAdam

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Self determination and dedication are the ways to "stick with it." Without either it won't last.
 

Kembudo-Kai Kempoka

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Over the weekend I had a chance to work out with a friend for a short time. My friend is a young fellow that occasionally moonlights as a personal trainer. We were talking about exercise, nutrition, and all that good stuff, when he mentioned something that I've heard before.

There are a lot of diets and/or exercise plans that work, when they are followed. The challenge for many people is following them for an extended period of time, enough so they aren't so much a "diet" or a "workout" but more like an adopted part of a lifestyle. I asked him how he gets his clients to stick with a routine for that long. He admitted that it was difficult. Unfortunately our conversation was cut short so I didn't get a chance to ask him the question that I'd like to throw out for discussion....


What are ways that you use (or that you teach) to help a routine become a habit/lifestyle change?

Don't quit.

Seriously. I'm a hard core chocoholic. So I make sure there is room in my food for occasional oreos, handuls of chocolate chips, etc. Muscle Milk makes some protien shakes that taste very chocolatey, and I love their brownie batter flavor. So I get Muscle Milk, and drink a shake or two a day when I start craving chocolate (use less fluid = pudding).

I also make it a point to eat on schedule, WHETHER I AM HUNGRY, OR NOT. If you wait for your body to tell you it's time to eat, you went too long. It makes it harder to stop eating once the fork starts moving...takes a few minutes after eating for the satiety centers in the brain to register that you've eaten. But, by having a protien shake, chicken breast, whatever, every 2.5 hours by alarm clocks on the cell phone, you don't get the chance to get deeply hungry. Oddly, eating so much so often prevents you from over eating, and actually reduces your total caloric intake for the day. It also affords you more choice over the source of calories throughout the day...lean protiens and healthy fats, rather than carbs and garbage fats.

Finally, I set "drop dead" goals. I maintain pretty well in about a 15 pound range. Up some days, down others. Below that? Pay attention to water and food intake...means I'm not getting enough, and that sets the stage for splurging. Above that? Drastic measures time, but only for a few days. Get back down to where I should be, and back on routine. (big one, that...routinizing the changes you want to imbue).

I think a big part of success is replacing "going on a diet" with "changing lifestyles, to include changes in the foods I eat, and when I eat them, as well as in how I structure my week to allow for exercise". Schlocky rah-rah poster in the gym said it brilliantly: Collage of folks doing everything from biking, to gardening...sez, "Working out makes you better at what you like to do". Diet is just what you do to feed the machine to keep it going.
 

Steve

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I'm surprised that no one has mentioned the easiest way to keep exercising: enjoy yourself. I never had any success dieting or exercising until I stumbled into BJJ. I exercised because it was (is) a blast. I eat better because it is more important to feel good on the mat than eat a donut. The weight takes care of itself.

Quitting smoking was easy. Can't explain why, but I tried to quit a dozen times over 14 years but when it was time to quit, I immediately considered myself a non-smoker.
 

Flea

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The most effective thing for me was to apply enough discipline to form a habit of doing ___. I read somewhere that it takes three weeks to establish a new habit. Once it's habitual, I find that the new behavior takes care of itself. (Breaking habits is another question entirely, and I'm not very good at that one.)

I'm also very money-motivated, so I pre-pay. Since I've already paid for the dojo and YMCA memberships, I won't let it go to waste! :whip1: It's a good tactic for me.

As for the food question, that's never been an issue for me. I'm descended from a long line of hummingbird metabolisms, and can eat whatever I want. My food tastes tend toward the healthy anyway.

Good luck.
 

Stac3y

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I'm surprised that no one has mentioned the easiest way to keep exercising: enjoy yourself. I never had any success dieting or exercising until I stumbled into BJJ. I exercised because it was (is) a blast. I eat better because it is more important to feel good on the mat than eat a donut. The weight takes care of itself.
.

While I don't really enjoy some of the conditioning things I have to do (pushups, situps, and jump rope are part of our tests), the fact that I love, love, LOVE karate gets me to the gym or to class, and I get through the conditioning stuff by forbidding myself to do any kata or techniques until I've done all of the other stuff. And enjoying karate does help me with my diet--I can't excel at it if I gain too much weight because my knees and ankles can't take it. But sometimes I get sugar cravings and fall off the wagon. Like for the last few days. :(
 

KELLYG

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This mental image has helped me in the past. Imagine that you are a car and going to the gas station filling up do you fill the car up until gas is shooting out of the tank and spilling onto the ground or quit when it registers full.

I have found that making small incremental changes in diet easier than trying to crash diet. It is about making better choices. Given a choice between a hamburger or a chicken sandwich or give the choice between chocolate cake or a piece of fruit pick the one that is better for you. I usually feel better training on good food (fuel) as apposed to junk food.

As for exercises just go out and get your wiggle on, in what ever form you want . Ya have to like/love what you do or it just becomes one more menial task that has to get done, and is easy to skip.
 
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