Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Hard Routine: It's over!!

The Hard Routine is over. Can you believe it? I bet most of you thought the two month Fitness, Health, and Wellness campaign would never end. (Yet for others, it sadly ended a while ago...)

For those of you who stayed true to your rules: Congratulations! I hope you found the challenge to be a worthy one. Maybe you completed a new workout routine. Maybe you lost some useless fatty pounds. Maybe you just plain ol' feel better. Keep reading to see where you can continue on.

For those of you who did not stick it out: I'm putting together another campaign beginning January 2nd, 2010. Maybe your rules were too strict or too unreasonable. Maybe you didn't have a solid support "team" of spouse/partner, coworkers, friends, or family participating with you. Whatever it was, give yourself another opportunity to beat some unhealthy urges and impulses by creating a new plan. Grab someone to hold you more accountable. You have four weeks to find someone....and a new year is ripe with those willing to make promises!


For me, the answer lies somewhere between where I was living before The Hard Routine and where I lived during The Hard Routine. I would be foolish to suggest a happy or reasonable life of The Hard Routine itself. That would actually be called The Hell Routine. I deprived myself from some of the finer treats in life for two months. No sweets and no alcohol. Neither is evil. What turns them into enemies is sheer volume. And I can easily gorge myself on ice cream and drink too much beer. The shock to my system for the last two months gave me some great lessons about living without some luxuries, and seriously limiting others.

I need to live in a happy middle ground. What The Hard Routine has done is expose a lifestyle that limits certain foods, while increasing the intake of other healthy ones. A VERY positive side of this campaign is letting me know how little I missed sides of potatoes, rice, breads, and pasta. I actually didn't (and don't) miss them like I thought I would. When I set forth with those items on my "Soft Rules," I had no idea I would be eating so little of them. I almost excluded them altogether. I enjoy the way I feel after eating a pile of leafy veggies or fruit next to my meat dish! And I found much healthier snacks to make me feel better too.....some fruits and nuts substituted chips and crackers.

Here is a note from another Hard Routine participant. It came in the form of an email. Here are a few pieces:

Losing weight in general isn't hard. The problem is maintaining (i.e. controlling food in-take and dedicating exercise as one of your top priorities ---Permanently). You have won half the battle .... you're a work-out-aholic ..... so you have never experienced obesity. I love the idea behind "The Hard Routine" and also the timing (i.e. it's not a January 1st thing!). It's a time to humble yourself and face some personal issues that need fixing or improving. It's a time to "step-it-up" and finish the year strong.

Having personally made many dieting mistakes and after seeing many people (including celebrities, family members and friends) win the weight loss battle only to lose, one particular thing I've learned is that rigid rules, rigid restrictions create and "on" or "off" environment. You're either "on" a weight loss program or you're "off" the program and there's no in-between (which I call maintenance or the "new way of life").

Don't make the mistake of withholding some of the good things you enjoy (hmmmm let's say ICE CREAM, for example) because this rigid restriction might set you up for a month long ice cream binge in the end only to make you feel guilty.

So I will continue to shop the perimeter of the grocery store. I will find substitutes for french fries and starches at restaurants. I will eat more proteins at breakfast, and limit those bagels. And I will bring food to work! The Hard Routine forced me into learning this new lifestyle. I'm all about it now.

So what about the January 2nd-March 1st 2010 Hard Routine? Well I hate to call it a New Year's Resolution, but what the heck. It seems like a time when the bathroom scale hits a new all-time high, making it ripe to join the campaign. Finding willing participants should be easy!

At our house:

I dropped 15# and the wife lost 10#. Nice round numbers. We would each like to drop a few more inches. But there is no hurry. We're going into the Christmas season with our pants loose and a guilt-free attitude. While many of our friends and family have to suck in their tummies to button their pants or are disgusted in their body composition.....not us. We're very satisfied with our progress so far. We will be celebrating this season. With this new dietary lifestyle, we'll probably continue to lose fat during the holidays!

However, come Jan 2nd, we too will be back living The Hard Routine. We will be less strict with our rules. We're going to be committing to this middle-ground lifestyle between our pre-Hard Routine and during-Hard Routine practices. We're jokingly calling the January 2010 campaign: The Not-As-Hard Routine. It will still be a challenge, but this will be something sustainable, durable, lasting.

In ending, thanks for participating. You all inspired me to stay true to my rules. Nothing would have disappointed me more than having to admit failing during this campaign. Knowing each of you watched my progress was a big motivator to stay true in the difficult early parts of the campaign.

I'd love to hear your success stories. There are many floating out there. Many of you shared your tales with me via private channels. Be proud and share your stories in the Comments section at the end of this post.

Join us in January 2010.

No comments: