It can be tough out there in the diet world – especially when you're trying something new. If that new thing means making some big changes in your daily life in the name of health and wellness, that can be especially challenging.
But you're certainly not alone. Most people are always engaged in a self-improvement game of chess, constantly refining focus and strategies in the hopes of getting exactly what they want.
So when I had a chance to catch up with Janet Hasty, one of the H-E-B Slim Down Showdown contestants (see our coverage of this year's contest: Let the Weight Games Begin), I figured it would be a great opportunity to focus on what she's doing to be successful. For her and the other contestants, there's a lot at stake - aside from improved health and a better quality of life, there's $10,000 on the line.
After going through an intensive, weeklong Fit Camp, the contestants are now at the end of their third week at home, where they'll have to put all the tools and insight they learned to work in the real world.
So, how's it going?
"Things are going really well," says Hasty. "My clothes fit better, I have more energy, and I'm down 11 pounds since the program started."
Aside from incorporating a more regimented exercise program, which includes 40 minute walks five days a week, and the recent addition of working with a trainer in the gym about twice a week, Hasty says perhaps the biggest change is modifying how she cooks.
"I normally cook quite a bit, and I've even followed programs before that reduced calories, so the biggest change for me was keeping nutrients relevant; reading labels and paying attention to carbohydrates, fats, proteins and fiber," she says. "As a result of balancing out my nutrients, I'm satisfied and don't feel hungry, which was a bit of a concern before starting the program, but that certainly hasn't been the case."
The showdown officially ends April 6, but Hasty has a larger goal in mind - dropping 75 pounds by the end of the year.
"Truth is, I already feel like a winner because of the experience I had at Fit Camp," she says. "I learned so much, and feel that once I get started, I'm pretty disciplined, and that's why this whole experience has been such a great benefit for me."
Her biggest tip for anyone looking to make a similar change: "Find an exercise or diet buddy who can support you," she says. "Someone you can walk with and share with ... Someone who can help you along on the journey."
We can't all participate in contests and competitions to help us stay focused on eating right and staying fit. Which is why I'm thankful for the folks at Stanford's Persuasive Technology Lab, who recently produced a top ten list of mistakes people make when trying to change their behavior. In the context of this column, the tips are especially interesting when applied to diet and exercise; an area where most people struggle with change.
Check out the slideshow by clicking here.
Or click on this graphic, which compiles the top 10 list onto a handy cheat sheet, suitable for printing out and posting on your fridge, or using as a wallpaper on your computer desktop.
Aside from arming ourselves with information and analyzing our own successes and failures, it can also be helpful to share with other people on the same journey, and learn from their experiences as well.
Success comes in all forms, including human performance. Check out this video from the New York TImes, Racing Against History, which chronicles 116 years of Olympic history in the form of the men's 100 meter freestyle event. Amazing to see how far we've come, and how far we may be able to go.
Tom Trevino is a writer, artist and wellness coach based out of San Antonio. His column, “The Feed,” addresses health and fitness issues and dispense practical advice for San Antonians attempting to wade through the often-confusing diet and fitness world. He holds a B.A. from the University of Texas, with training and certification from the Cooper Institute. He has a fondness for dogs, the New York Times, and anything on two wheels. When he’s not writing, training, or cooking, you can find him wandering the aisles of Central Market.
Related Stories on the Rivard Report:
HEB Slim Down Showdown: Let the Weight Games Begin January 2013
The Feed: Food, Fascism, and Super Bowl Eats January 2013
The Feed: Fat, Calories, and the Best Diet Ever January 2013