Diet & Fitness: The Secret to Maintenance Mode
Were you once fit but, now, you struggle with your weight? Did you have a great marriage but lately it’s just “okay”. Did you used to feel close to God but He seems more distant now? If you were once in a great place and not really happy with where you are now (OR maybe you are happy but you know it could BETTER) I have the answer. It’s time to hit REWIND.
What do I mean? Well, if you want to hear a song again, you have to go back to wherever that song was in the playlist – and the same goes with life.
We’ve all bought albums where we like only the first couple of songs and the rest of the album is just “okay” – or worse, maybe the rest of the album is awful or totally different. Unless you’re willing to endure awful or totally different, you have to keep hitting rewind to hear the songs you like. Are you beginning to get the picture?
How often do you go through life just enduring awful or totally different than what is best? Rewind your life back to your favorite part. What were you doing?
Since fitness is a commitment, let’s use the marriage commitment for comparison. When I think about how far Steve and I have come in our marriage (with God’s help! Click HERE for our story), I’m simply amazed. However, even if nothing is wrong, sometimes there are those days we feel somewhat disconnected. It’s not awful, but it’s different – and we know it could be better. If we are honest, it’s because we get too busy, our priorities have gotten out of whack, and we’ve gotten lazy.
After our marriage almost failed a couple of years ago, and we committed to making our marriage work, we knew it was going to be a challenge. When we first met, loving each other was easy but, over time, a lot of damage was done. We knew it would take time – but we also knew it would be worth it if we could just stick it out.
We were very purposeful with our time, our words and our energy. This commitment paid off and we have reaped so many benefits as a result. However, we can’t expect to have all the benefits without the work – and we can’t expect all that work we did back in 2014 to still give us the same benefits today. It doesn’t work like that. We have to invest daily – and the same goes with our fitness.
Sadly, many people live life like that. They expect all the hard work they did to get a job, to get their man, to get rid of the weight or to get their life right with God to sustain them. Sometimes, it can be harder to be in maintenance mode than it is to be in the “honeymoon” or “revival” mode.
Another mistake we make is looking for something new – a new way to get the same results. Some people seek out a new man, a new gym, a new diet, a new church or a new job – when, really, they don’t need something new, they just need to repeat what already worked with the man, the gym, the diet, the church or the job they already had. Not that I’m saying change is not good. It can be. But, oftentimes it’s not necessary – and the change that really needs to be made is in us.
While I doubt people would admit they think all their prior hard work should sustain them (and most know it won’t), it’s human nature to tend to want to ride that wave as long as you can before you have to start paddling again.
In fitness, many people will workout, eat right and lose the weight, only to go back to the same old bad habits – and they are surprised when they get the same old results.
Fitness isn’t a phase or a quick fix method of weight loss. It should be a way of life. Exercise and diet should be just as important as intimacy and quality time together is in a marriage. It should happen on a regular basis.
As I got coffee this morning, I saw a love note on the inside of the cabinet door. It was from over a year ago and I realized we had gotten out of the habit of leaving these sweet notes. Life gets busy and we just forget. And, even though I know we still love each other even more today than when that note was written, if we want the continual benefits of what those love notes has done for us, we need to continue those healthy habits. We need to do what we did when we were “dating” – and the same applies to fitness. Another words, we need to press the REPEAT button.
Go back to what you were doing when you felt your best. If you have already lost weight and wonder what “maintenance” looks like, maintenance is repeating the same healthy habits you did to get fit over and over again. It’s an endless loop. You may not need to go to the gym AS much, or diet AS hard, but you still have to workout and maintain a healthy diet. There are still repercussions when you make bad choices, and you may still make mistakes and be required to ramp things up or make adjustments.
You will also need to cut yourself some slack. Just like I cannot compare my everyday life with Steve with those mountain top romantic experiences, like a vacation or marriage retreat. I can’t just quit work and do nothing but marriage building skills. That’s not realistic to maintain. Life happens.
You also can’t compare your healthy maintenance lifestyle to the mountain top experiences of those times you were on stage competing or had the luxury of going to the gym twice a day. Is it great to have those experiences? To go on vacation, attend a marriage retreat or to compete a couple of times a year? Sure!! They are fantastic for reeling things back in, pressing the preverbal “reset” button and holding you accountable – but, you have to make room for life and others.
It’s like playing music. There’s times we play our music loud and that’s all we can hear, and other times we turn it down and just have it playing in the background. I believe healthy living is like that light music in the background. It never stops, but it’s not all we hear and do. It’s a part of our life, not overruling it. Competition time, or those mountain top experiences, are when the music (fitness) is blaring. Then we return to the real world and we turn the music (fitness) down a few notches and incorporate it in our normal routine – but we never turn it off.
I’ve heard people complain and say stuff like “I guess I’m just going to struggle with this forever” or “I guess I’ll just have to diet the rest of my life”. There is a little truth to that. There’s no off button. Yes, practicing discipline is forever. It may get easier over time, but it’s life. We can’t just stop caring or stop working.
Don’t be like so many people who stop doing all the work as soon as you get the results. That’s how fat happens, that’s how divorce happens, that’s how getting fired happens and that’s how walking away from the Lord happens. You keep working on “it” – whatever “it” is. You don’t stop once you reach your goal, you keep setting new goals and working to maintain your investment.
Don’t just endure life, take the controls back. REWIND, and go back to when you were the happiest and healthiest. Then, REPEAT the behavior, habits and discipline it took to get those results. Once you get the results you want, NEVER STOP – just keep your life on a lasting healthy LOOP! It really isn’t as hard as you think! I hope this is music to your ears!
Thank you Bonnie. I struggle with wanting to be better at a lot of things and beat myself up when I’m not “perfect”. Love your articles because they are always written from the heart and make me think. You’ve been an inspiration and continue to every day. Thank you.
This has come at the right time. Kids are back in school with all of their activities and I have had to shift prioritie, commitments and responsibilities around which is leaving me exhausted and no down time to rest. Therefore, my exercise time has been replaced with rest and downtime. I have to rewind and goi back to when I was at my best. No excuses
This is soo good and so true with all examples given! God is good, loved reading your story. God always amazes me!