Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Let Go of the Past

Have you really committed to a Regular Guy lifestyle?

You've made some changes to your diet. You're getting some exercise. You're trying to get to bed at a reasonable hour. But the questions still remains: Have you cut the tethers that keep you tied to the old fella?

The thing is, it's comforting to know you're still anchored. That way, if things go wrong, you can always just reel yourself in to terra firma. But those tethers are also keeping you from truly reaching the heights you want to.

What's Holding You Back?

Here are some of the tethers. Maybe some of these sound familiar.

Keeping Your Fat-Guy Clothes

These jeans are in the bag going to Goodwill soon.
Some years ago, I lost a fair amount of weight, primarily through diet. But I never got rid of all those extra-large shirts and big-waisted pants. That way, if I ever gained the weight back, I wouldn't have to buy all new clothes. Let's be honest: What I was doing was giving myself permission to fail. It took me a year to lose the weight, and I kept it off for another, and then I spent the next four years gaining it all back. Guess what? I had a bunch of clothes that fit. It was like I'd planned it all along.

Stocking the Pantry With Comfort Food

If you've been reading the blog, you know I'm not big on deprivation. If you want the cookie, eat the damn cookie. But the temptation is to keep all your favorites around, in case a craving strikes. That's a recipe for disaster -- pun sort of intended. You're relying solely on your willpower, and nobody's willpower is that good. Pick a few things you want. Put them away in cabinets -- out of sight. Eat what you want when you're actually hungry. And stop buying all the rest.

Listening to Your Buddies

I'm in the back there with my tailgate crew
You're not the first Regular Guy you know to commit to being a fitter, healthier, better you. Remember the old days, when it'd be beers three, four, five nights a week? Or when you'd make fun of those guys who'd wake up early to hit the gym -- or worse, who'd curtail a night out because they had to get up early? Guess what?  Now you're going to be the one hearing those things. I'm not saying you shouldn't kick back with the guys once in a while -- you are keeping fit and living your life. But those guys don't get what you're trying to do. You're focused on the important stuff, like keeping up with your kids and being healthy for the long run. It's not their fault -- really, they're not doing anything wrong. You may not be the fun guy anymore, but it's up to you to tune that stuff out.

Listening to Your Mom

My mom has actually been really supportive!
It may not actually be your mom, but there is undoubtedly someone in your life who thinks your commitment to fitness is selfish and that you should revert to what he or she sees as a better version of you. But you know what? You're giving your family, friends and other loved ones the best version of you now! Are you really taking time from your responsibilities, or are you making time in your day that might otherwise go to TV or popping some coldies? People who exercise report feeling sharper and more focused, and we all know that cranky feeling when you don't get out there for a few days. It's not selfish to be the best you that you can be.

Let Go of Emotional Baggage

Of course, what you really have to let go of is the emotional baggage. You have to start seeing the fitness-minded you as the real you. For example, every time I run a race, I look around and feel like a fraud, like I'm crashing the party of the "real" runners. I've talked to other runners about this, and they all feel the same. But you know what? I am a real runner. I know what I'm capable of. And I'm going to keep doing it as long as I can.

So can you. So should you. You are striving toward your best you now. Don't let the past convince you otherwise.

What say you? What do you have trouble letting go of, and how does it get between you and your goals? Sound off in the comments below, on Facebook or on Twitter!

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