Today I realized that I hadn’t posted anything for quite some time. To those who enjoyed my silence I say, “You’re welcome,” to everyone else, I do apologize profusely. I hope you are all doing well.
I’d like to continue a thought that began last May regarding weight loss and nutrition. I’m thinking about it not only because I recently participated in another Biggest Loser competition, but also because I’ve just registered to compete again in another Biggest Loser camp that started last week at the Cottonwood Heights Rec Center. Perhaps I’m addicted to losing?
I’m excited about this particular competition because the format is slightly different from previous seasons. Instead of a single coach/trainer managing two teams we will have two trainers managing two teams. I’m hoping competition between the two trainers will drive us to even better results. Unfortunately, I had to miss the first team challenge this past Saturday morning due to work. Duty calls.
As mentioned earlier, I participated in another Biggest Loser competition recently. I wasn’t the winner that time but I did take second place with a weight loss of 7.8 pounds. Unfortunately, I’ve gained most of that back. Part of that gain came from that fact that I broke my clavicle near the end of the contest which limited my activity, but most of it came from the fact that I had very little resolve to manage my food intake over the holiday season.
It’s that last point regarding lack of resolve that I want to discuss. I titled the post Addicted to Losing because it speaks to the struggle between the healthy and unhealthy avenues we take towards weight loss and nutrition. To be addicted to something carries a negative connotation as does losing. Now I want to contrast the phrase addicted to losing with another phrase, determined to be healthy. To begin the discussion I would like to present the following question: Is being hooked on weight loss competitions a good thing or do we torture ourselves with up and down, weight-loss, weight-gain, roller-coaster fads that change with the season?
Before I answer that question, let me preface my response with this short anecdote about running. I have several good friends who love to run marathons. When I learned that one of my friends was training for his third marathon of the year I asked him how he could possibly enjoy running. It seemed to me that the training alone was torture enough to force any sane person to quit. I felt like maybe he was addicted to running marathons-in a bad way. You’ll appreciate his response.
He told me that running marathons started for him as a personal challenge and gradually turned into a hobby. He compared it to any other hobby such as gardening or painting. It’s an avenue, he said, that allows a person’s mind to escape and recoup. Although some of his reasoning for running included health and fitness he also mentioned appreciating the opportunity to be alone with his thoughts. He said that training for a marathon required dedication. It improves stamina. Best of all, he said that the long distance run teaches a person how to cope with fatigue and pain and helps build confidence when you realize that you can actually finish the race.
With that in mind, can we be addicted to weight loss competitions in a good way or not? Let me explain to you why I think it is a good thing for me. You can be the judge whether or not you think it’s true for yourself.
There are certain things that need to be in play in order to make anything worthwhile whether it’s a Biggest Loser competition or training for a marathon. I’ll list three things that have helped me, but there could be many more tailored specifically to you. Only YOU know what motivates you.
First of all, I set goals. I made my goals fun and unforgettable. For example, one of my goals for my first competition was to be able to run naked on the beach without my fatty parts jiggling. You’ll never arrive anywhere if you don’t know where you want to go. There’s a great line in Lewis Carroll’s, Alice in Wonderland where Alice asks the Cheshire Cat to tell her which way to go. He tells her that it depends on where she wants to go. Her reply was, “I don’t much care where.” To which the cat responds, “Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.” If you tell yourself simply that you want to lose weight, then will a loss of 1 pound satisfy? Your goals must be realistic and you should also provide an appropriate reward for accomplishing them. Never use food as a reward. Let me restate, “Never use splurging as a reward!”
Secondly, I put in the time. So many people are looking for an easy way out. You hear all the time about a wonder drug that will help you lose weight requiring little more than swallowing a pill. Maybe the wonder drug works or just maybe the drug takes away the opportunity for you to develop the desire to work toward your goal. You must put in the time. You can achieve anything over time with a little work. You must be patient and revisit your goals if you’re not seeing results over time.
In the third place, I had fun. This is where a competition like The Biggest Loser comes into play. The local competition at Cottonwood Heights Rec Center involved many of my friends and neighbors, including my wife, which made it quite enjoyable to participate. Being involved with weight loss contests are a healthy avenue for fitness. They provide elements of friendly competition and reward. I am motivated to continue working when I have a friend working beside me.
I’d like to send you away with one more theory. I believe that a person’s overall health has two components: physical and psychological. I also believe that a person cannot affect one of those components without affecting the other. Consider your psyche the next time you’re running with a friend. I’ll bet you’re in a pretty good mood despite the fact that you’re running.
Be careful out there and remember friends, know where you’re going, don’t be afraid to work, and have fun. Wish me luck in this season of Cottonwood Height’s Biggest Loser.
(Click on Photo of the day to go to Cottonwood Heights Parks and Recreation webpage.)