Many of us begin our quest to get healthy with the best of intentions. This will be the day, week, month, year we will finally get it together when it comes to our health. I hear folks all the time who confess to the “tomorrow” or the “starting Monday” workout program! Let’s face it (and I say this all the time), Life happens. It just does. And when it does, I see so many folks beat themselves up over it. I call it the WSC Syndrome (woulda, shoulda, coulda). Getting upset and down on ourselves does little to help us get motivated or stay motivated. What we really need is some creative motivation, maybe even trickery to help us get on and stay on track.
For most people who are overweight, there are underlying issues and reasons for their weight gain and overweight maintenance. It is important to recognize that. For many, regardless of how bad they feel about themselves now, change, even positive change, is scary and deviates from the norm, from who they know themselves to be.
This is tough stuff. One ploy I use with my clients is to look at burning calories and the weight loss that will hopefully come with it, as an investment. The greatest investment you will ever make …your health. Let’s say you want to lose 20lbs. Science tells that one pound of fat is equal to about 3500 calories (energy). So, if want to lose 20lbs that equation would look like this: 20 x3500=70,000. That’s right you need to burn 70,000 calories to lose that 20lbs!
There are lots of ways to do this and to do it safely one should aim to lose 1-2lbs per week, using both strength training and cardio, but that is for another article. For now let’s just look at the fact that 70,000 calories can seem daunting when most people struggle to burn a just a few hundred calories per day. But what if we looked at it differently? What if we look at our weight loss as though it was a Piggy bank, and we are trying to put into the bank 70,000 calories?
I don’t know about you but 70, 000 calories makes me feel kinda wealthy. Instead of feeling restricted or limited, we are building something here. We are creating this awesome investment of calories burned. Create for yourself a real or virtual Piggy bank, which symbolizes your “Calorie bank”. This is where you will deposit all of the calories you will burn in pursuit of your weight loss goal. A little mind trickery? Yes, BUT it is important to realize that a restrictive life of any kind is tough to maintain for the long term.
Growing your calorie bank doesn’t take away from our lives, in fact it empowers us to find ways to move our bodies in an effort to start “banking” those calories! Once you reach your Calorie Bank goal, treat yourself to something special like new running shoes or a spa day. And don’t be surprised if those calories you’ve built up in the bank don’t translate to actual dollars!
Healthy on the inside most definitely translates into being healthy in other areas of our lives! You can also invite friends or co-workers to join you with their own investment project. If weight loss is family affair, think about how fun the journey of growing the Calorie Bank can be and plan a special family outing or event for when the goal is achieved! If you are not sure how to track your calories burned, invest in a Heart Rate Monitor that does this for you. I suggest the FT4 or FT7 by Polar to get you started. You will be amazed how fun it is to track calories burned throughout your day and during your workouts! Cha-Ching!
So, what are you waiting for? Create your Calorie Bank and starting investing in the greatest investment of all….YOU!
Tonja Hadley, MA, CSCS
HealthStyles Exercise Equipment