For many years, I viewed my inability to lose weight and get fit as a personal failure. Every step I took onto the bathroom scale was followed immediately by distress over my weight.
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Each day I began with good intentions, even in the face of repeated defeats. And each night I ended the day with the same ritual: I would promise myself that tomorrow I would do better; tomorrow would be a new day.
When I finally realized I was caught in a behavioral whirlpool, it occurred to me that I needed some help. That’s when I reached out and created two fitness teams — a team of health care professionals and a team of supporters.
The first person I put on my health care team was my physician, followed by a physical therapist, who helped me figure out what exercises I could safely perform with an injury I had at the time (torn hamstring). I also consulted with my cardiologist to check about the implications of significant weight loss on my medication regimen (hey, I was serious this time!).
Rounding out my health care team was the coordinator for the local hospital wellness center, who helped address questions about nutrition, what kinds of exercises I should undertake and the psychological impact of making such dramatic lifestyle changes.
On the cheerleading team, I first recruited my husband, Dick. I added my best friend, Dale, who shared an interest in exercise and nutrition. From there, I added my children and a neighbor with whom I am very close. Before long, I had surrounded myself with people who cheered me on and were also committed to becoming more fit themselves.
I don’t think it is a coincidence that the outcome of this effort was different from what my prior attempts had yielded.
In retrospect, I realized that I was finally smart enough to use, in my pursuit of fitness, the skills that had helped me in my career. I created a company called Fit Carole. As the CEO, I defined my mission — to lose weight, become fit and adopt permanent, healthy lifestyle habits.
Of course, I relied on myself to set priorities and measure results. But as important as my tasks were, I couldn’t have succeeded without the support of my team.
That’s why I urge you to create your own fitness team. You may be one of those exceptional people who can achieve their goals and dreams on their own; the rest of us mortals, however, need each other. United we succeed. Go, team, go!
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Carole Carson, author of From Fat to Fit: Turn Yourself into a Weapon of Mass Reduction, serves as the coach for the AARP Fat to Fit online community.