Two solitary words, but without applying them, your goals will remain out of reach. Substantial and lasting change happens over time, not overnight, and without looking long term and being willing to commit, then change simply won’t happen.
In the modern world that we now live in, people want and expect everything yesterday while few are prepared to put in the work or wait for a desirable outcome over time. Today’s society is so fast paced and with so many labour saving devices/services available to make our lives ‘easier’, it is no surprise that when effort is required to achieve a goal, many quit long before any real change has a chance to occur.
The chart above shows how our daily energy expenditure has greatly reduced as technology has improved, and with it has come a vast reduction in patience. Whilst advances in technology are all well and good, they do tend to have the adverse side effect of making the general public inherently lazier and less patient. If there’s an easier, quicker way to do something then that is the approach that most will take, but at what cost? Whilst you cannot blame an individual for wanting instant gratification, when it comes to matters of health and fitness there is rarely a short term fix that leads to LONG TERM results. The quick fix diets that give great short term results, but are unsustainable and lead to the inevitable weight regain, the majority (but not all) of the supplement industry selling dreams of quick fix muscle gain/weight loss whilst selling mostly ineffective products to a gullible public and the fitness media (whether digital or physical) promising six packs in 5 minutes a day; all feed on the public’s desire to get results with the minimum of effort in the shortest period of time.
Let’s look at weight loss which is perhaps one of the biggest health issues we face today and relates back to that reduction in daily energy expenditure mentioned earlier. We’ve all seen the miraculous results achieved on tv programmes such as The Biggest Loser and the like, or read about the ‘miraculous’ weight loss achieved using the latest celebrity endorsed product/method, but none of these result in long term habit change and are hence doomed to fail. 99% of those that achieve rapid weight loss regain all the weight that they lost over time and in most cases actually put on more weight as their bodies struggle to cope with the drastic changes in energy input forced upon them. If you think that it has taken X number of years to get to the point where you feel that it is necessary to lose weight, then it is totally unrealistic to expect to lose this weight in a number of weeks or even months. Similarly, you wouldn’t expect to go from starting a weight lifting programme to bench pressing 100kg in a couple of weeks and that’s where patience and consistency come in.
Small changes undertaken consistently more easily become habits and lead to the desired changes over time. These changes need not be drastic (in fact, the simpler the better), but should be realistic and achievable when included in daily activities and represent a level of effort that can be maintained over time; after all it is better to eat well 70% of the time than strive for perfection and only manage this a couple of times a week.
The importance of patience is particularly true for the goal of weight/fat loss since the rate of loss is never linear and if you were to give up on a day when the scales don’t read as you would like, you may well be sabotaging a perfectly good slow and sustainable rate of progress as can be seen in the chart below:
So, in a world where everything is available at the touch of button, and instant gratification is so easily available, when it comes to your health and general wellbeing, slow down, enjoy the journey and most of all be patient and consistent….. Change will come, and what’s more, it will be more likely to remain!