Using the Past without Getting Stuck

Written by Julia Karlstad, M.Ed., CSCS
President and Founder, JKFITESS, LLC

If you are overweight or obese, it is important to sit back and reflect. How did I get to this point? Am I really this big? Why didn’t I realize I was becoming this overweight? Have you asked yourself these questions lately? Or, have you engaged in the following self-talk? “I used to be in really good shape; I just don’t understand how I let myself go this far. I just didn’t see it until my weight began to limit my daily activities. I feel like I have no control anymore. Often, I use food to comfort me in times of stress or when I’m feeling down. I haven’t been disciplined. My life is so hectic and I don’t have time to eat healthy and exercise.”
Have you tried to lose weight but failed? Have you heard yourself making remarks like the following? “I never really noticed I was putting on so much weight. It wasn’t until I saw a photo of myself when it hit me. I’ve tried every single diet, exercise, and weight loss program and every time I fail. Diet pills, herbal supplements, Weight Watchers, life-time member at the local gym, Atkin’s, South Beach Diet, Jenny Craig, HcG and Curves. I lose some weight while I’m on one of those programs and then I gain it back, often I gain back more than I lost.”
Reflecting on the past and truly identifying what caused you to become overweight or obese will start you down the path to overcoming your obstacles. Obstacles are a part of life, you will constantly have different things you’ll have to overcome; the important thing is to recognize your obstacles and then focus on your goals. This style of thinking will help you persevere in order to accept the lifestyle changes you are about to make.
Take a minute and write down two habits or obstacles that most contributed to your weight gain:

1. ___________________

2. ___________________
Even though you are in a period of reflection, remember not to harbor the past. It is now time to look toward the future and begin your new lifestyle. Learn from your mistakes and do your best to avoid making the same mistakes again and don’t believe that just because you failed in the past that you will fail again.
Some of the answers to the questions above may be attributable to a lack of physical activity in your life. Think about how you can change some of these habits and use exercise to move you forward toward a healthier lifestyle. Change can be easier if you set realistic goals. Goals are important because if you don’t know where you are going, you will not be able to set a good path for how to reach your goals!
Take a minute and write down two exercise related goals that will help you lose weight and create an active lifestyle:

1. ___________________

2. ___________________

Once you’ve set your goals, the next step is making sure you document your progress. Just remember, your changes may need to be gradual. This is why tracking progress is very important, if you don’t track your progress along the way you may not realize how much progress you’re really making. Every day take small steps towards healthy choices. Maybe you can start out with exercising twice per week or walking 15 minutes a day…each week increase your activity a little more. Use a different approach and do not give up.

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