It took a lot of hard work and focused choices. But here you are — perhaps weeks or months into your fitness program — and you’re beginning to see and feel some real results.
You’re looking leaner and more fit. Your clothes are fitting looser. You’re feeling lighter, standing taller, moving faster on your feet. Hey, you’re seeing a whole new person when you look in the mirror!
And then, something strange happens. Suddenly, perhaps subtly, you find yourself making choices you used to make, resuscitating less-than-healthy behaviors you thought you’d given up. Bit by bit, you start reclaiming that loose space in your clothing and retreating into the more familiar look and feel of your former, less-fit self.
So what gives? People get derailed from what appear to be successful fitness and weight-loss programs for all sorts of reasons, of course. In some cases, life circumstances or unrealistic expectations are to blame. In other cases, people burn out on overaggressive regimens, or simply fail to transition into sound maintenance programs. But there are also times when people abruptly reverse course for no apparent reason.
In such cases, there’s often an unconscious factor at work, and for anyone who has been working intently toward a fitness goal, the unraveling of all that hardwon progress can be both a maddening and mystifying thing to behold.
It may seem as though we have a divided self, with one part of us willingly doing the work of getting in shape, and the other part of us busily deconstructing our progress while we’re not looking.
(Read the rest of this article, which first appeared in Experience Life magazine.)