Last week my best friend Paula sent me a post from a girl in her triathlon group on Facebook. Melissa (Instagram: @trirunatlgirl) posted a picture of her riding her tri bike at around 200lbs and another of her riding at her current weight after losing 70+lbs. While the picture was certainly inspiring on its own, her message was what caught my attention, and it’s what made me want to write this today. Her first comment on her photo was this:
“You really, really can’t rush the process. I stayed at my heaviest for a long time because I was always looking for quick ways to lose weight. I didn’t actually start to see any significant, permanent weight loss results until I made myself acknowledge it would take years to get off the weight. And that’s exactly what happened. It took ~2 years to get everything off.”
This is what I’m referring to as “the need for ‘Right Now'”. And it doesn’t just apply to weight loss. I feel like so many people are in such a hurry to get places… not just physical places. People are in a rush to get married. To have kids. To get into a career. To make more money. To be an athlete. It seems like just when one goal is accomplished we’re already moving on to the next one. Or if we don’t accomplish what we set out for, we’re back to the “starting line” so speak. We’re running in circles. We’re never satisfied. We’re never happy with what we have.
I am absolutely guilty of feeling this way. Even though I know in my mind that real progress in anything takes time, I have looked for the quick routes. The 30 day workouts that promise huge results. The diet plans that say you’ll lose 10lbs in just a matter of days. I know better, but these things are appealing. Unfortunately most of these things are examples of “giving a man a fish” instead of “teaching a man to fish.” And that’s why they don’t last, and that’s why we try the latest and greatest one, only for it not to work. It is why we continually chase our tails and blame ourselves for not being motivated or committed enough when these quick fixes fail. Take note of that… the quick fixes are what fail, not us. But the need for “Right Now”, the images of “success stories” and seemingly “overnight transformations” make us feel like a failure. They make us feel inadequate. “If they can do it, why can’t I do it?”
So why do we need it “Right Now”? If in the end the result is the same, and possibly longer lasting, why isn’t it worth the wait? Why do we get so frustrated? Again, I think of not only weight loss or athletic ability, but school. There are fast track programs out there to match our fast paced lifestyles. If this is the career you want for the rest of your life, isn’t it worth investing time so that you get the most out of your education and can be the best at it that you can be? Relationships: I remember wanting desperately to get engaged and get married as soon as I could. Why the rush? If you want to marry someone, you are saying you want to spend the rest of your life with that person, so why are you in such a hurry to get to one milestone?
Melissa’s post really made me think. She had a lot more to say about her journey, and I definitely want to reflect more about it some other time. For now I’m thinking about all of the times I need something “Right Now” and how I can change that mindset. I certainly don’t want to procrastinate or sit idle, but I want to assure myself that great things come with great work and time. Or as my favorite band 311 puts it: “Nothing good comes easily, sometimes you’ve go to fight.”
I have gained 15lbs since last year. I have considered those quick fixes to try to drop the weight. I have wanted to be in the shape I was last year “right now”. But recently I had a pep talk with myself (and my best friend Paula) and told myself it’s not going to happen “right now”. There is nothing that I can do that will be healthy or fulfilling to lose the 15lbs of regain. It took me almost 2 years to lose close to 30lbs, it took a year to gain back 15lbs, there is no reason why I should try to lose the 15lbs I’ve regained in a shorter period of time. Those quick fix diets won’t be satisfying in the long run for me. And those quick fix diets will only deprive me of the nourishment I need to keep up with my training.
So I must say thanks to Melissa (@trirunatlgirl) – thank you for your raw honesty. Congratulations on your transformation of not only your body but your thoughts. Changing your thoughts, the mental side of transformation, is the most difficult part. Fighting the need for “Right Now” is a huge challenge. You inspire me to keep challenging that feeling.