July/Aug: Weight Loss and Sustainability

Achieving Weight loss and Wellness Goals is not a Sprint, it is a Marathon…Pace Yourself.

When I think about a sprint, I think of something that is fast paced and usually short lived. I personally enjoy sprint runs because I get to run as fast as I can for a short, predetermined distance or for a matter of a few seconds. The reward is that I get to have bragging rights to being able to successfully reach my personal goal of running 8 miles per hour for 1 minute. However, no matter how many times I may successfully and confidently reach this milestone when I run a sprint, I cannot run this pace for a longer period before I start panting heavily, feel my legs getting heavy and the need to start aggressively toggling the mph buttons on the treadmill down so I can simply catch my breath and while making sure not to jump the rails. I then realize that though going initially at a fast pace allowed me to reach my personal best with a sprint, I was unable to sustain that pace for an extended period and I could not wait to stop and get to my usual, comfortable pace of running.

In contrast, when I think of a marathon I think of a long-distance run. It is an activity that demands discipline, endurance and personal accountability because an individual must train the body to have the physical endurance to run the race to its completion. They must even eat a certain way prior to running to keep up with the body’s demands for oxygen and glucose to achieve endurance and sustainability during the run. The remarkable thing about endurance running is that the more you do it, the stronger your fitness level becomes and then the farther you are able to go; achieving your long-term goal of being able to successfully run a marathon and at a sprint pace! However sometimes the hard knocks of life, the stress on the job, the lack of motivational support, or any psychosocial barrier can negatively impact or undo anything that has been achieved…if you let it.

The same above examples (as it relates to sprint vs marathon) apply when we want to successfully achieve lifestyle changes. It is very important to understand that losing weight quickly should not be the priority when achieving weight loss and wellness goals. First and foremost, weight loss should be done healthily. It should also be done slow and steady with the intent of achieving long term sustainability.