The First Step

Posted: August 3, 2011 in Fitness

The first step to weight loss and physical fitness is not any of the following:

  • Joining a gym
  • Buying an exercise DVD
  • Getting some dumbbells
  • Eating salads
  • Quitting soft drinks

No, the first step isn’t any of those.  The first step is this:

  • Be honest with yourself

All too often, we avoid the ugly truth for whatever reason, whether it’s to keep peace with ourselves, our friends, or our families; or just to avoid uncomfortable conversations or situations.  Unfortunately, little lies like that build up and become obvious veneers.  We steer toward the superficial “HEY!! You look GREAT!!” complete with the plastic smiles because we don’t want to risk hurting feelings….even if it’s our own.

While we ourselves may know deep within our own minds if we’re out of shape, overweight, or even morbidly obese, we have a tough time admitting it.  And even if we do admit it, we may also find ourselves in a self-defeating pit of shame and depression for letting ourselves get away from ourselves.  Deep down, we know we’re the only ones to blame, and that is a hard pill to swallow.

So we avoid it.  And that only perpetuates the self-loathing and guilt.

We also have a tendency to want to avoid work.  We’re a society of instant gratification, and if we don’t see results right away, we chuck it assuming that it was a failure when in reality, we were just impatient.  We come up with excuses to justify the abandonment, like “I’m too busy with work,” “the house isn’t going to clean itself,” or “my car is broken down and I can’t get to the store to buy gear or a gym membership.”

All of those are, at the end of the day, hollow excuses that just perpetuates avoiding the uncomfortable truth. Like smokers, we all know we have to get fit, get in shape, and eat right, especially the older we all get.  But like smokers who know they should quit smoking, actually doing it is easier said than done.  But there’s that little first step again.

You don’t have to convince me or your spouse or your best friend that you need to lose weight.  The only person you need to convince is yourself.  And that requires dropping the BS, the excuses, the avoidance, the clichés, and the high susceptibility to quick-fix marketing nonsense.

Ask yourself why you’re interested in losing weight and getting fit.  Whatever that reason is, ask yourself again whether that’s an honest reason (no matter how much it might hurt) or whether it’s still a little superficial or whether there’s still a slight shade of self-delusion involved.

I say all of this because it’s a trap I still have to be wary of.  In 2009, I lost about 18 lbs. and went from 166 to 148 by following the P90X program.  It worked, and it worked well.  I got stronger, I got leaner, and dropped my body fat percentage pretty significantly.  Then, over time, I let my ego take over.  I figured that since I had hit that new paradigm of health, I was immortal.

Yeah, not exactly.

I gained back a bunch of weight, and while I was still muscularly strong, the covering of fat was returning.  My weight rose back up closer to my pre-X weight, but my body fat percentage wasn’t nearly as high, so I deluded myself into thinking “oh, I’m just adding muscle mass!”  That was only partially true, as my body fat percentage was still slowly climbing.  I wasn’t being honest with myself.

So the self-delusion can go both ways.  In order to find success and the mental fortitude to stick with the sacrifices that you’ll eventually have to make, we have to be honest with ourselves first before picking up that dumbbell or stepping on the elliptical.



  1. Ripcode says:

    This first section is a bullseye!