Weight Loss is A Marathon, Not A Sprint

Fast weight loss rarely happens. Instead, losing weight takes time and much effort. If you are frustrated with the pace of your weight loss, try looking at weight loss as a marathon rather than a sprint.

January 26, 2016
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Marathon runners don’t mess around. The successful ones train hard, regularly assess what’s working, and never give up. In many ways, being successful at weight loss is like running a marathon. If you ever feel frustrated with your slower-than-slow weight loss, remember that winning the weight loss race is a marathon rather than a sprint.

1. Nothing Happens Fast

Marathon runners take a long time to train for marathons. Almost no one can go from a couch potato to a marathon runner in a week. And once the marathon runner is prepared to race, it takes an average of slightly more than 4 hours to complete the race, according to Running USA’s Annual Marathon Report.

Weight loss is just like training for a marathon. No one wakes up one day magically 50 pounds lighter. At least, no one I’ve ever met.

Like many people I’ve talked to over the years, I would start my diet, and then after a few days I got frustrated with the lack of immediate progress. I often wished I would lose 50 pounds after a good day but sadly that didn’t happen.

The frustration with slow weight loss is a common reason for quitting. But when you develop a marathon attitude, you accept your pace and do the following:

– Train your mind to accept a new way of eating, which takes time. 

– Adopt a new lifestyle, which is rarely easy.

– Be prepared for a long journey.

2. Stumbling Happens

A marathon runner knows there will be times she stumbles. Either she will literally stumble and fall or have stumbling blocks that figuratively get in the way of her goal of finishing a marathon. It could be an injury, a busy work schedule, or family issues. Whatever the stumbling block, a dedicated marathoner will continue working toward his goal.

As you lose weight, you may very well stumble. You will need to control emotional eating, work through the desire to eat anything you want, and possibly deal with physical injuries. The key to success is following the example of the marathoner. Never give up, jump over the stumbling blocks, and focus on the prize.

3. Fuel Matters

No marathon runner fuels their body haphazardly and successfully runs a marathon. Because of the exertion required to finish the race, a marathon runner fuels carefully and deliberately–both during training and the race itself.

You should do the same thing. There were times when I thought losing weight was only about calories and nutrition wasn’t super important.

I was 100 percent wrong.

The food you put in your body fuels you. Cheetos, candy, chips, and sugary drinks do nothing good for your body. Just like a marathon runner can’t survive on junk, neither can you.

Do what your mom probably told you to do. Eat your vegetables and fruit, cut out the junk, and focus on lean cuts of meat and dairy. Don’t snack all day long, and eat dessert occasionally instead of daily. Who knew mom was so smart?

Final Thoughts

Having a marathoner’s outlook instead of that of sprinters helps you in your weight loss no matter if you are just starting, right in the middle of it, or reaching your goal weight. You see, weight loss and eventual weight maintenance is a lifelong process rather than a one-time race.

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