If you’re trying to lose weight and keep it off, it’s best to ditch the mentality of ‘no pain, no gain’.
There isn’t a more evident display of the mentality of ‘no pain, no gain’ than in the media. One iconic example is the TV show The Biggest Loser, where it paints the picture that to lose weight and get the results that one desire, one must go on a really restrictive diet and workout so hard that they throw up.
There isn’t a doubt though, the results that they achieve on the show are AMAZING. It’s entertaining and compelling TV, but at the same time, it’s alarming. What they’re not showing you is what happens to these contestants after the show is over.
Months and years down the road, many of these contestants regained most of the weight lost, and some even end up heavier than when they started. In extreme cases such as these, weight is regained partly due to the contestants’ damaged metabolism.
Apart from that, the thing is that people generally shy away from pain.
If you find an experience, such as losing weight or getting in shape, to be painful, then you’re unlikely to stick to it.
Here’s a classic scenario: Mary decides that she’s going to start going for a run and prepare a salad lunch to bring to work every single day. After a few days, you can find her in McDonald’s.
Think of it this way: if you’re trying to learn to swim, you can go for a class that’s fun and enjoyable and still be able to learn to swim successfully. If you’re vying to become an Olympic swimmer though, then you should expect your training to be tough and painful. If you just throw someone who’s trying to learn how to swim recreationally into an Olympic swimmer’s training program, then obviously he or she’ll quit before actually learning how to swim.
Here’s what we suggest then. Before making any kind of lifestyle changes, be it to your diet or exercise routine, ask yourself this question:
“Can I imagine myself doing this for the rest of my life?”
If the answer is “no”, then you should tone it down a little. For example, instead of going for a run EVERY single day, start with just once or twice a week. Once the answer is “Yes, it doesn’t sound that painful, and I can see myself doing this for the rest of my life (not literally)“, then that’s the green light to go ahead and implement that habit change.
Once you’re comfortable with the initial change, you will have momentum to make even greater changes.
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