I recently read a great post by one of my favorite nutritionists Jonny Bowden. He was talking about the holiday season and how many of his clients are predicting weight gain and already looking for their next training program for the new year. It happens every year, doesn’t it? The first of the year always brings a rush of people to the gym and an onslaught of weight loss ads flood social media and TV commercials.
I’ve already given up on trying to change the cycle; I hope you have. The thing that really struck me in his latest article was that many people ask him how long it will take for them to get back into shape or to lose the weight. Time is client’s biggest concern.
What you will hear with any new program is an estimated amount of time. If you are on a weight loss program you may hear you can lose up to a pound or two a week. For an injury maybe your doctor will tell you it takes 6 to 8 weeks to heal. And if you are looking to get back into shape you might read that it will take about 6 weeks to feel the changes in your body.
Even our beloved Joseph Pilates had a time table;10 sessions and you will feel the difference; 20 sessions you will notice the difference; and in 30 sessions you will have a whole new body.
Well, none of this is a guarantee. These are just numbers, estimates, and averages. They don’t factor in our mental states, the uniqueness of our body and it’s structures, as well as our lifestyles or our will power.
One of my closet friends is a psychologist and she once told me that when trying to make a significant change in your life, the process will take however long the process takes. But no one wants to hear that. Everyone wants an end date, a timeline so that we know exactly when we will be thinner, healthier, and moving better. The grey area and the ambiguity of it all is what kills us, but as Mr. Bowden pointed out, you just need to give whatever you are doing enough time to work and that there are no unrealistic goals, only unrealistic timetables.
This is something I can really relate to because not only can we apply that to our health and general well being but also to ourselves in any endeavor we take on. Are you trying to change a habit? Are you trying to get stronger? Are you trying to build a relationship? Whatever the goal is, it takes as long as it takes. Yes, we can create estimates and predictions that might help us get a general idea, but I would hate for someone to come into my studio and start working with me and give up too soon.
A client I was working with for several years, told me one day, “You know what Pilates really is? It’s using your core all the time in every exercise…its core all the time!” I looked at her and smiled. The light bulb went on. It took 2 years, but she got it. It didn’t matter how many times I told her the same thing. It didn’t matter the amount of exercises I taught her or how long she had been working with me. She got it, when she got it. The process was her own and it took as long as it took.
Maybe in this day and age with all the instant gratification and our ability to connect in an instant to the internet or reach friends and family immediately with a quick text, we aren’t used to waiting. Maybe we have lost that sense of patience and acknowledging that the process is the journey. So much learning takes place and so much change happens along the way to any goal. Why not appreciate the subtleties that come along with it instead of our need to get there in a certain amount of time.
Now all that being said, we all eventually have to get there and know when to switch our goals or possibly acknowledge that we may not reach them, but I think that topic of discussion is for another time.
For now stick with your goals, remember to keep at it and enjoy the ride