The journey towards any goal is seldom a straight line. More
often than not you will face challenges. It’s a normal part of the process.
But the problem is that these challenges may have a direct
effect on your mind, creating a turmoil of emotions. Emotions that if not taken
care of, tend to escalate to humongous proportions preventing you to reach your
goals and dreams.
Let’s take a closer look at the emotional roller coaster
that is a fitness journey.
Stage 1 – You have just decided to embark on this journey. Motivation is high as a kite. You can’t see any obstacles so you overestimate your own abilities, creating an ambitious plan that may not be realistic on the long run. But you are excited and you go with it.
Stage 2 – You are two weeks in and still can’t see any visible results. Decide to do some research and get overwhelmed by the amount of information out there. You get confused and start to second guessing your original plan. You feel compelled to make adjustments.
Stage 3 – Still no results and life catches up with you. You feel impatient and frustrated. “I am doing so much. I should be seeing some difference by now. Why is it taking so long?”
Stage 4 – Start feeling overwhelmed with everything you set up to do. It feels hard to keep up. Motivation starts to waver.
Stage 5 – Now, you are second guessing everything. “Am I on the right path? Am I capable of doing this? Do I even want it?”
Stage 6 – Negative self-talk starts. Can’t see anything good about this journey. Blame game starts.
Stage 7 – As the internal pressure rises you feel discouraged. You are on the brink of giving up.
Stage 8 – “Can’t take it anymore.” You jump off the band wagon. Experience an initial feeling of relief, followed by guilt, unworthiness and dis-empowerment.
Stage 9 – Go on with your life. Try to justify your decision to quit. Use other things to make you feel better but it is too late. The whole experience left a scar in your self-esteem.
Have you gone through something like that before? Well, you
are not alone. It is estimated that 73% of people who starts a fitness program
give up before seeing results. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
As I mentioned on my previous post (click here if you haven’t
read it), to be successful you must learn to deal with negative emotions.
Otherwise, you will quit before even starting.
Why is this important? Because we make decisions are based
on emotions. The truth is that negative emotions trigger a response from a
primitive part of the brain which tends to underestimate resources and overestimate
threats. It’s a survival instinct.
But you are not here to survive. You are here to thrive,
Emotional intelligence is the ability to control emotions in
order to make decisions from a resourceful state, not biased by fear, guilt,
insecurity or other negative emotions.
Take willpower, for instance. Willpower is a resource that
can only be accessed when you are on a positive state of mind (from joy to
contentment). The moment you go down on the emotional scale, you reach an
unresourceful state and can’t rely on willpower anymore.
A negative state generates negative self-talk, bringing up limiting
beliefs based on past experiences. In those states, the mind start looking for
reasons why you can’t succeed. And the more you allow the negative self-talk to
grow, the deeper you go into a negative state.
Therefore, learning to manage emotions is fundamental if you
want to achieve any goal. Emotional intelligence doesn’t prevent negative
emotions to arise but it allows you to recognise when you are getting into an emotional spiral so you can stop it before
it’s too late.
The good news is that Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is a skill
which can be learned and strengthened. You just need to start.
Another year is over. There is something about new beginnings
that fill our hearts with hope. Hope that this time everything will work out. That
things will be different.
But the truth is that it will only be different, if you are
willing to do something different this time.
No, this is not another post about setting New Year’s
Resolutions. We know very well that they don’t work. It’s also not about
setting SMART goals. And while I do like setting goals, I also know that they
are easier said than done.
People don’t fail because they can’t set goals. They fail
because they can’t follow through.
So that’s where we need to start. And making superficial lifestyle
changes is not going to cut it. You might have already discovered that adopting
behaviours that you are not ready for, simply
My point is: to make sustainable changes, the transformation
must happen from within.
Here are three things to kickstart your transformation:
1. Ditch the negative self-talk
Do you know why most people fail? That’s because they allow
their own mind to talk themselves out of their goals. To achieve anything, we
will need to act consistently towards what we want but it is very hard to do
that when we have a negative committee inside of our heads.
So, what is the difference between people who achieve their
goals and people who don’t? Emotional
intelligence. Successful people face the same challenges that you do. They go
through ups and downs, they question their choices, they may lose motivation
from time to time. However, they know that this is temporary. A setback, not
the end of the line.
2. Fire the perfectionist in you
Do you know what get you results? Action. Moving towards your
goals even if it is just a little step.
Sometimes, we can get caught up creating the “perfect” plan
and waiting for the “perfect” opportunity to make a move. But you know what?
Life is not perfect. If you are waiting for perfect conditions to start, you
may not start ever. That’s procrastination.
And procrastination comes from fear. Fear of making
mistakes. Fear of failing. Making mistakes is not a bad thing. That’s how we
learn. In reality, there is no such thing as failure. Only feedback.
3. Don’t rely on willpower
You may think that the reason you haven’t succeeded yet was
because of lack of willpower. That if only you can have a stronger will, then
you will be alright.
But I’ll tell you right now that willpower is NOT a long-term
strategy. This is because willpower is a limited resource that requires conscious
effort and can only be used when you are at top notch condition. Meaning that
when you need it the most (like when you are sad, tired, stressed or bored) you
will not be able to use it.
So no. You are not weak. You are just using the wrong
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Do you know anyone who went through a full transformation? I
mean, someone who has drastically changed his/hers habits? A complete overhaul.
What do you think happened to this person? Do you think that
he/she has an enormous amount willpower, determination and self-control?
Well, I assure you that it was more than that.
You see, willpower is a conscious decision that requires a
lot of energy and effort, making it a limited resource that can only be accessed
when you are at the top of your game. This means that when you are felling
tired, stressed, sad, angry or even bored, you will not be able to use your
willpower. (can you remember a time in which you were resolute to wake up early
to go to the gym, for instance, but in the morning when the alarm went off, you
simply convinced yourself to stay in be?)
The truth is that all change happens on the subconscious level
because that’s where our habits, patterns and addictions are stored. Willpower,
on the other hand, is part of the conscious domain and the conscious mind is
only responsible for 5% of our mental capacity. The other 95% is run by the
To explain this concept I like using the following metaphor.
Imagine that your conscious mind is a tiny little person.
This person is supposed to ride on top of a huge elephant. The elephant is your
Now, the rider is smart and has the ability to guide the
elephant through the path he wants. However, because of the difference in size,
the rider doesn’t have the power to control this elephant. If the elephant for
some reason gets scared, distracted or impulsive, it take off in the opposite
direction, and the rider will not have the strength to prevent it from running
This means that to make permanent changes, you will need to
learn what motivates your elephant, so your rider can easily guide it through
the path you want.
Let’s talk about body image. How do you feel about your
If you are dissatisfied with your appearance, you are not alone. Take a look at the following statistics from Eating Disorders Victoria.
In Australians aged 11-24, approximately 28% of males and 35% of females
are dissatisfied with their appearance (NEDC, 2010a).
The Mission Australia National Youth Survey has revealed that body image
has been listed in the top 3 concerns for young Australians from 2009-2015.
The Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health, found that only 22% of women
within a normal healthy weight range reported being happy with their weight.
Almost three quarters (74%) desired to weigh less, including 68% of healthy
weight and 25% underweight women (Kenardy et al., 2001).
Poor body image is associated with an increased probability of engaging
in dangerous dietary practices and weight control methods, excessive exercise,
substance abuse and unnecessary surgery to alter appearance (NEDC, 2010a).
Beyond Stereotypes, the 2005 study commissioned by Dove surveyed 3,300
girls and women between the ages of 15 and 64 in 10 countries. They found that
67% of all women 15 to 64 withdraw from life-engaging activities due to feeling
badly about their looks (Etcoff et al., 2006).
Weight loss is the most common fitness goal. In any given
time, there are lots of people obsessing about their weight, size or shape. It
is the single biggest reason why people start exercise programs.
It is also a very lucrative business. The weight-loss industry makes millions off people’s insecurity. According to Ibis World:
Australians are expected to spend $309.9 million on industry weight loss counselling services and related low-calorie foods and dietary supplements in 2018-19.
And because it is so profitable, it doesn’t really want to provide a definite solution. So it keeps feeding people’s insecurities so they can have a customer for life.
Weight-loss industry tells you to worry about your weight,
obsess about your food, follow the newest trend, exercise to burn calories and
look for a short cut (the easiest and fastest way to lose weight).
And if you have been caught up on this mentality, look at
where it has taken you. You are probably feeling defeated, broken, frustrated, confused,
and believing that there is something wrong with you.
So it’s time free yourself from this type of thinking, fire
that old persona and adopt a new avatar.
The avatar of a healthy and fit person who is committed to feeling great inside and out. For that you will have to become a different person. And to become a different person you will have to think differently. Because if you think differently you will behave differently and if you behave differently then you will have different results.
First of all, keep in mind that carbohydrates are not bad foods. They do have an important function for the body which is supplying energy to the brain and muscles, especially during exercise. However not all carbs are the same. There are different categories which are:
If you have just started a new exercise routine, it is normal to have a million questions. I have answered a few of the most common questions I often get. If you have any other question, please post it on the comments below and I will get it answered for you. Read More
The topic of the day is How to build the habits that will bring you closer to your long-term goal.
Why is this important? Because results come from small actions performed consistently over a long period of time. If you transform those little actions into habits, it becomes much easier to incorporate those changes into your life. That’s how the real makeover happens.
What exactly is a habit? Well, a habit is a recurrent pattern of behaviour acquired by frequent repetition. In other words, it is a way of programming an action into your brain. That means that it becomes automatic. You don’t have to think about it. You just do it. And saves you a lot of energy that can go into more important activities.
I believe that you are familiar with the concept of energy balance. In theory, weight-loss happen when you burn more calories than you consume. That generates a negative energy balance forcing the body to used stored energy (mostly fat) to keep you going.
But do you know how many calories you need to burn in order to get rid of a single kilogram of fat? A whopping 9000kcal. That’s the equivalent of 30 hours on a treadmill. That’s assuming that you are not consuming more calories than your body need.
Before you walk away from, listen me out. Don’t get discouraged by the numbers. The good news is that any physical activity can contribute to your daily calorie count. And by physical activity I mean anything that get you moving, not only structured exercise.
Here are my strategies to turn your body into a furnace.
Did you know that your mindset highly influences your ability to get what you want? That’s right. In order to accomplish something, you must first believe that it is possible.
Successful people understand that results depend on effort, and that they can grow and change through the practice of simple behaviours. They embrace challenge as an opportunity to become stronger. Because of this way of thinking, they are highly motivated and are more likely to achieve their goals.