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Ester Marsh: If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again

Ester Marsh

Do you get discouraged when you try to eat healthy and exercise, but fail? Do you put yourself down and stop it all, only to start all over again?

Many times, we are our own worst enemy. Throw in unreachable goals and many will set themselves up for failure. Negativity is like a virus — you fail in reaching your goal and it initially disappoints you. You start to look back on what you did wrong and continue to beat yourself up for any wrongdoing you found. You remember that cookie you ate or the workout you missed. You continue to put yourself down and the “virus” has spread. The virus is pushing you “off the wagon.” Not exercising and not eating healthy is making you more depressed and eventually you pull yourself back out to do it all over again — a vicious circle.

But why are we doing this to ourselves? Society can be part of the problem and the doctor’s scale doesn’t help either, but mostly it is the goals we set ourselves. Too high too soon.

How long did it take to get unfit and unhealthy? Not overnight, right?

It is so hard to “do it right.” Excuses pop up, such as “If I just had my own personal trainer …,” “If I just had someone who could cook healthy for me …,” or “If I had my own gym, I know I would work out regularly.” Look at the many celebrities who struggle with weight issues, and many have their own personal chefs and trainers. However, you do have to take responsibility for your own actions.

If you have a hard time resisting junk food when you are at home, why do you buy it in the first place?

If you are not a morning person but feel you need to start working out before you go to work, your chances of sticking with it are slim. When you come from not doing anything and start expecting to work out five, six or even seven days a week, again your goal is too high.

Something is going to have to give when you start putting that kind of time into your workout schedule that quickly. Baby steps. It is better to exercise three times a week for one hour the rest of your life than exercise five to seven days per week for a couple of months, take off three months and then try it all over again.

Some tips to hopefully help you to become successful and stop putting yourself down:

• Stop buying bad foods you can’t resist.

• Plan your workouts so they fit into your schedule. When it goes well for a month, see if you can add more. Once a week, two times etc.

• Set little goals such as 5 pounds of weight loss (instead of 50). Once you reach that, go for another 5 and so on. Or, start with half-mile run, up to one mile, etc.

• Reward yourself when certain goals are reached. Maybe a new workout outfit or bathing suit.

• When you fall off the wagon, climb back on. There will be days, sometimes weeks, everything is just not working in your favor. And yes, five minutes will make a difference, especially keeping it in your schedule. Before you know it, you will be up to your normal time.

• When going out to eat, check the website for calories and fat content. Prepare yourself to eat the better, lower fat and calorie foods.

• But most of all, stop putting yourself down. I know you can do it with the right planning, tools and attitude.

Ester Marsh is health and fitness director for the JF Hurley YMCA.

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