Some students show up for lecture, take notes, but don’t re-copy their notes, and don’t spend as much time as they should on the reading assignments. We would all look at them like they’re crazy if they said, “my grades aren’t improving (i.e. - I’m not losing weight); I better stop showing up for class (i.e. - the healthy behavior I DO execute) until I buckle down on the reading assignments (i.e. - the healthy behaviors I DON’T execute).”
Their logic isn’t sound. Yet, I hear this all the time with health and fitness. People commit to a set of productive behaviors. Realistically, right now, they aren’t in a place emotionally to do all of the productive behaviors. So they quit the ones that they do. Non sequitur.
I remember being most stricken by this when a client of mine quit because she didn't feel like she was losing enough weight. She'd stopped her prior trend of losing muscle and bone tissue every year. She'd stopped her prior trend of gaining more and more body fat every year. She'd gotten a lot stronger, thus regulating blood sugar dramatically better. She'd created more grown up food decision behaviors in her week. She had a consistent exercise practice. But in her mind, she might as well throw all of that away since she wasn't seeing the scale move fast enough. The average American loses 1-2 pounds of skeletal mass and/or muscle and tendons/ligaments/connective tissue per year. Meanwhile, they gain 1-2 pounds of fat. She had stopped that. She had reversed that. But because her total weight wasn't dropping low enough fast enough, she decided she would rejoin the ranks of average Americans.
We have to be realistic about our results. How we manage stress is THE make-it-or-break-it variable in someone’s success or lack thereof with regard to overall health, wellness, and fitness. Ironically, a popular response to stress is to actually stop doing all the things which help us reduce stress.
Be realistic. The most elusive outcome is long term consistency and improvement in health. Almost no one achieves this. The most common outcome is weight loss. Almost everyone has achieved it at some point. Don’t throw away the uncommon in pursuit of the common. Be strong. Build endurance and mobility. When you can address overall stress, make your attack on body composition. Pause. Think. Don’t throw away strength and conditioning just because your current grades are faltering.