Wellness Goals: Beware of the Danger of the Finish Line
Today's Will Power Moment - 19
with Dr. James Meschino
Many people set out to do big things in their wellness objectives. Starting from an overweight/out of shape condition, they decide to train for and complete a half marathon or a full marathon, 6 months down the road. I have seen many out-of-shape individuals set goals like this and accomplish the goal 6 or 12 months later. I’ve also seen overweight patients go on a strict diet and set a deadline to achieve a particular weight loss goal in 3 months, or 6 months, or 12 months, and seen them achieve it. But in many cases, once the person achieves the goal, they feel so drained by the effort to get there, they take their foot off the accelerator and revert back to their old unhealthy, self-defeating ways. They regain all the weight they lost. They stop training and become overweight and out of shape all over again. I’m sure you noticed that many elite and professional athletes, after a year or two of retirement, often gain weight, or look very out-of-shape to a disproportionate degree relative to their competitive years.
If you like setting big or aggressive goals (and some people need to do this in order to get motivated about wellness) then you have to have a game plan to help you continue on your wellness journey once you cross the finish line or achieve the big weight loss goal. The best plan is to simply scale your program back to something that is not overwhelming; something you can live with on an on-going basis. The truth is – with health habits there is no finish line. That can be the danger of training for a marathon (once it’s over, the exercise stops) or only setting a weight loss goal (not a goal to be healthy and fit for the rest of your life).
Sometimes the massive effort to achieve goals like this – the long hours of daily and weekly training, the extreme level of caloric deprivation and food restriction and so on – often become too overwhelming for the person to stick to on an indefinite basis.That is why you have to have a more moderate, liveable plan once you achieve the big goal, so you don’t totally abandon your whole wellness initiative.
Daily wellness behaviours don’t produce flashy results or glorious outcomes, but they do make your life better than before (how you feel, how you look, energy, vitality, more youthful looking, and how you move, improved blood lab results and risk factors for disease). But thinking about forever can be intimidating so just focus on your wellness behaviours one day at a time (exercise and supplements) and one moment at a time regarding how you eat. Eat healthy in the moment and don’t’ think about tomorrow, even though the plan is to eat healthy tomorrow as well. Just focus on the moment you find yourself in – and that will relieve the pressure and anxiety of having to do it for the rest of your life.
As you go about setting your various goals on the Meschino Wellness Platform, always keep in mind the danger of the finish line. The finish line doesn’t mean you can now stop doing what you’re doing. In some circumstances, like completing a marathon or achieving your ideal weight, it does mean you can move to a more moderate approach that will enable you to keep your momentum moving forward – without feeling overwhelmed or physically or mentally exhausted and drained.
So, bottom line: Beware of the danger of the finish line. It’s great to cross it, but don’t let it tell your brain that your wellness efforts are now finished and over with. Simply adjust your program and keep moving the action forward.
Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great.
Dr. James Meschino
Dr. James Meschino
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.