Anyone who wants to be shredded can be shredded. I absolutely believe that. But I also believe that it comes at a different cost for each of us. Some peeps don’t have to pay as much to be lean and svelte – the kind of peeps who can eat a whole pizza and still drop body fat. You know, the kind of peeps who eat peeps (…anyone? where are you going?) We call these peeps eating people “lucky,” and they are. “Good genetics,” we’ll say.
Other people have to pay more. Through a combination of genetics and environmental conditioning, these people are not as predisposed to losing weight. If they choose to embark upon a weight loss journey, it can feel like more of a struggle. It’s as if the misleading and misguided (and mis-everything) diet ads we’ve all heard are written directly for them:
- “Is your body holding onto that stubborn belly fat?”
- “The trick to food combinations that unlock the secret to weight loss!!”
- “Release stored up toxins and melt belly fat fast!!!”
- “The 21 day detox!!”
- (**Anything that says detox**)
- “Looking to make your muscles long and lean??”
- “The real secret to weight loss that the billion dollar health industry doesn’t want you to know!!”
Our modern metropolitan life is set in a sedentary world, surrounded by simple, heavily processed foods. Weight gain is easy. When weight loss is unsuccessful it engenders desperation: the reason that the tag lines, weight loss pills, and fad diets have become a huge business. When weight loss feels unfeasible, people are willing to try methods that are more and more unreasonable.
Now I’m not here to convince you that weight loss is going to be easy. You know that it’s a struggle. But I am here to convince you that it can be a beautiful struggle.
The trick to successful living is to convert stumbling blocks into stepping stones. If we’re able to transform our obstacles into agents of progress, we can literally accomplish anything. The obstacles of weight loss have some unique advantages but in order to unlock their potential, you’ll need to adopt a unique perspective. Here are some examples of ways to celebrate the blessings of a weight loss struggle:
Simple answers don’t work for you.
How awesome is that!!? Because you’re forced to dig deeper into physiology and metabolic science, you’ll end up with a much more sophisticated understanding of your own body. The truth of weight management is more complicated than one-liners and diet pills. You’re given a golden opportunity and tons of incentive to learn and as my homie GI Joe says, “Knowledge is half the battle.”
Easy workouts don’t work for you.
How awesome is THAT!!? Hand to Zeus, I believe that hard work is a blessing. In a world that is becoming softer and cushier, an understanding of hard physical labor is a capacity we must nurture. Our bodies crave challenge; if you want the results you’re looking for, you’re going to have to challenge yourself. How fortunate, especially when this commitment can spill over into your professional and personal life. As we learn to unleash the power of hard work, everything gets better.
Your weight loss journey has the potential to be way more joyful.
Common sense tells us that the amount of joy we derive from an accomplishment is directly related to the amount of struggle it took to achieve it.
If I gave you an Olympic gold medal, how many feels would you feel? A few, perhaps. “Cool. A gold medal,” you might say. But on the podium at The Games, when an athlete earns a gold medal, when she reflects upon an entire career of blood, sweat, toil, and tears, when she rises to the occasion, defies the fiercest competition, and conquers the world stage, the amount of joy is astounding. It’s the kind of joy that makes our heart explode. It’s magical. But it’s not about the gold medal. It’s about the journey. It’s about the struggle.
More struggle. More joy.
When I was a wrestler at the University of Michigan, we started the tradition of going away on a pre-season camping trip. It was a chance to bond and have some fun before a long and grueling season, but it was also a time to align as a team our goals and expectations for the year. At night, we’d sit around the campfire and share motivational quotes, stories, or tid-bits. One of our assistant coaches shared a quote that eventually made its way onto the walls of our practice facility. It said,
Happy are those who dream dreams, and are willing to pay the price to make them come true. ~L.J. Cardinal Suenens
I’ve spent an embarrassing amount of time thinking about and analyzing that quote. I find it to be exceptionally profound, not so much for what it says, but for what it DOESN’T say. Because the quote is not, “Happy are those who dream dreams and whose dreams come true.” That’s not the quote, because that’s not the wisdom. It’s actually not about our dreams coming true. That’s not where happiness lies. It’s our willingness to pay the price that provides us with all of that sweet juicy nectar of joy.
In a world that increasingly celebrates instant gratification, we have to turn our lens more towards the process of achievement. The more difficult the journey, the more downpayments we have the opportunity to make. The greater the downpayment we make on our goals, the more Forbes List the payday.
We all have different strengths and weaknesses. Big, small, lean, strong, long, stocky. We are ALL lucky and we ALL have good genes. That’s my perspective. If you’re struggling with losing weight, facing the long and difficult journey with positivity is not always easy. But that’s the real secret to weight loss: figure out a way to transform your struggle into joy. Fight tooth and nail to relate to your body with both grace and compassion and your weight loss journey will not only be more successful, but it can transform your entire life.
An awesome relationship with our body is a life-long pursuit…we might as well make it a happy one.
Stay strong. Stay positive. Stay brave.
You GOT this.