I’m a regenerated drug addict. I went into a 1 year drug program in 2005. A quote has stuck with me over the past 15 years and the quote was this:
“If you have been walking in the same direction the past 10 years, don’t expect to be back where you were prior to that 10 years overnight. There is no substitute for prolonged obedience in the same direction.”
This made sense to me. I wasn’t going to change my attitudes and ingrained behaviors overnight. I was 25 years old and I had been living a selfish & wasteful life for the past 8 years or so. There was a reason this program I was in was for a year. The substance wasn’t the problem, I was the problem and I needed training for right living. This was going to take some time to change.
Long story short, I completed the program and signed up to serve and get training for another year. I signed up for more training, unpaid, and I then went on to work for Wheeler Mission in their drug program as a counselor.
Believe it or not, the thought processes, rationalizations, blame-shifting, and other behaviors a drug addict deals with closely mirror what I experience during many consults and when an athlete quits. The substance isn’t the same as food, but the behaviors from the mind and heart are exactly the same. When an athlete quits and rationalizes it, the exact same rationalizations come forth from an addict when they decide to leave a program. The thought processes are the same. They’ve convinced themselves they know best, when that exact same thought process landed them in the drug program.
One of the best things a potential client can do coming in is to have realistic expectations. If you haven’t been working out for ______ years and you are overweight, expect it to take 9-12 months to get where you want to go. If it took you 5 years to gain all that weight it doesn’t mean it’s going to take 5 years to get it off, but it won’t happen in 3 months.
What should you expect when starting?
- There will be days you feel like quitting or not coming. This is normal. I’m 40 now and most days I don’t feel like working out, but I do anyways. It’s an ingrained habit. Feelings aren’t an accurate gauge of reality anyways. If I wait on feeling like it, it might not ever happen.
- Progress takes time. You may or may not see results quickly. If you don’t, does it mean it’s not working? NO. That’s why working with an experienced coach and doing regular check ins is so important. We can set a plan and test to see if it’s working. I don’t just ask my clients about their nutrition and fitness. I also ask about stress levels, sleep, family history, and if they’ve had annual blood work/hormones tested.
- Be committed for the long-haul. Having the mind-set that it took you a long time to get where you are and it’s going to take a long time to get where you want to go is a healthy approach in my opinion. We are fed quick fixes and get it now right away in our culture. It’s easy to fall victim to this approach with fitness. It doesn’t work that way and I am glad it doesn’t. The reward of results wouldn’t be as sweet if you lost all your weight next month.