I haven’t ridden in a week now due to a couple of things. First, I was out of town last weekend with the family. Second, my wife has been out of town all this week and I’ve had to play Mr. Mom. That left me with no real opportunity to ride and still feel comfortable that the kids were getting off to school OK and all that stuff. Plus I’ve been riding pretty solid for two months now and thought some time off the bike wouldn’t be too bad. Taking the time off has forced me to do some thinking about losing weight, getting fit, and lifestyle in general.

Back in August I wrote an article titled Do You Have A Training Mindset? In it I talked about the word ‘training’ and how it can not only apply to elite athletes training for sporting events but also to those of us trying to lose weight and get in better shape. To summarize, I said it takes a 24/7 commitment and training mindset in order to achieve the weight loss and fitness goals we’re after.

This week I had some time to think back to that article and see how well I’ve done in making a 24/7 commitment to training. I won’t say that I’ve failed but I can certainly improve. I would imagine that most of us have room for improvement.

Identifying Areas of Improvement

My areas of improvement need to be in diet (which I’ve make good improvement in already), more exercise, and sleep. I consciously know I need to continue improving in those three areas but I have a hard time doing it? Why? I spent so many years treating my body like a rental car that I adopted habits that are very hard to break.

PhotoC: NorwichNuts

Take blueberry muffins for example. Blueberries are one of my favorite foods and by themselves aren’t bad. Put them into a huge muffin with tons of sugar and it’s no longer a good thing. Sometimes, on my way into work, I like to have one. Do I eat them all the time? No but I shouldn’t be eating them at all. Another great example is coffee. I love it and have drank it for years. Will I ever quit? Not likely but I can certainly curb the amount I drink and focus instead on drinking more water.

The Guilt Trip

Those of us trying to improve our bodies know what we should be doing. Eating unhealthy food, eating until we’re stuffed, not getting up to exercise, or staying up late playing video games aren’t things we should be doing and we know it. Yet we do it anyway. Out brain has a way of reminding us that after we do those unhealthy things. It’s called guilt. Guilt isn’t necessarily a bad thing but it can have negative repercussions too. If we listen and learn from our guilt trip that’s OK. But if our guilt trip drives us into further unhealthy habits then we’ve got a serious problem. So, how do we avoid the guilt trip? By eating right, exercising, and living right.

Ask Yourself This Question

If eating right, exercising, and living right will help us avoid the guilt trip then we need to figure out how to do it. And since guilt trips take place ‘after’ we’ve done something bad we need to put a system in place that ensures we take action to keep the guilt trip from happening in the first place. That’s when I thought of a question that might help. Here it is:

“How is that [insert food or activity] going to help me achieve my weight loss and fitness goals?”

Here are a couple of examples:

Coffee Love

PhotoC: javaturtle

“How is that blueberry muffin going to help me lose weight?”

or

“How is staying up until midnight going to help me ride in the morning?”

or

“How is drinking that second, or third, cup of coffee going to help my hydration?”

By asking these questions, before the event takes place, I’ve put a mechanism in place to force myself to think of the consequencees of eating that blueberry muffin and what the effect will be on my weight loss goals.

You’ve Got To Ask The Question Though

Me writing this article, and you reading it, doesn’t accomplish anything. We’ve got to put the mechanism in place, ask the question, or listen to our heart, and take action when it comes to deciding what’s in the best interest of our weight loss and fitness goals. If we’re honest with ourselves it’s a no-brainer.

Do you have a similar mechanism in place? If so, please share it in the comments.