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by Carole Carson, AARP, December 4, 2008
Who hasn't stepped on the scale on Monday morning after a weekend of splurging and resolved to shape up? To diet from this day forward until the surplus pounds are gone? To exercise at least an hour a day?
By Tuesday, the resolve is weaker, but the memory of the number on the scale is still fresh enough to ensure compliance, albeit unwillingly. On Wednesday, the commitment to shape up and lose weight is hanging by a thread. Thursday is a "just get through it" kind of day.
Friday night signals the beginning of a three-day orgy that starts with relaxing drinks and food and is followed by more treats and delights on Saturday and Sunday. Then once again comes Monday's moment of truth, complete with regrets when the unhappy consequences of last week's choices are reflected in the numbers on the scale.
Unfortunately, this weekly cycling is not an exercise with aerobic benefits! And getting off the cycle isn't easy. It took me 40 years to figure out how to do it. But it is possible and, if we are to achieve fitness, absolutely necessary.
What helped me escape the weekly cycle was taking a "no matter what" approach to my fitness commitment. I resolved that whatever the day of the week or whatever events were swirling around me, I would keep my caloric intake around 1,500 calories and exercise an hour each day. Unless I was sick or injured, there would be no exceptions. No days off. No matter what.
Just like I had my cup of coffee each morning and flossed my teeth each night, I would exercise and monitor what I ate each day.
Over time, this approach to eating and exercising has become part of my daily routine. Consequently, my habits, not the calendar, now dictate my behavior.
If you're struggling to free yourself from repeated failure, consider experimenting with the "no matter what" approach. Building healthy habits into our daily lives is a task worth undertaking. Join me!
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