I was having a conversation with a friend of a friend the other night and after discussing my background as a personal trainer, he told me he was dying to lose some weight – specifically, he wanted to get rid of his “belly”. This 30-something-year-old man used to be fit and athletic but, over the last few years, his career and his social life got in the way and he let his healthy regime slip. He told me he’d love to tone up and get back to his former physique and I told him that is so easily achievable for him. Then, he told me “Okay, you’ve got two weeks to get me there.” I laughed. “You think I can undo the last three or four years of fitness neglect in two weeks? It doesn’t work that way… unfortunately.” But it got me thinking. There’s no need to start with an all or nothing mentality when it comes to fitness and achieving goals. A lot can be done in two weeks. In fact, the most ground of the journey can be made in those two weeks because, more than anything, the road to fitness is a mental one. So, here’s a few of the pros and cons to consider about the two-week-fix frame of mind.
Let’s start with some of the positives of a quick fix mentality:
- The person wants change and is willing to dedicate themselves to making it.
That right there is a HUGE win. It’s hard to commit to making a big lifestyle change. Starting from scratch and telling yourself, “Okay, starting tomorrow, for the next 12 months I’m going to start exercising 3-4 times a week and eating healthy all the time.” That is what I call an epiphany and it doesn’t happen very often (if at all). However, tell yourself you’re going to do that for the next two weeks… that’s achievable for pretty much any of us. When it’s short term, it’s not so daunting to make the lifestyle changes and make the start you want.
- If you have not been exercising and have not had good nutrition, you can see big changes.
Let’s be realistic, you can’t undo years of not taking care of your body’s health in two weeks. But, you really will see positive changes in that much time. If you really dedicate yourself to two weeks of healthy living (including good sleep habits and staying hydrated as well as sticking to your diet and fitness plans) you will lose weight, have more energy and improve your mobility and flexibility. There is ample research out there that provides evidence of this. Plus, I see it all the time.
- It shows you what you can do when you put your mind to it.
One really nice benefit of this two-week mentality is the ego boost that comes with it. If you are someone that doubts yourself, then this is something you need to try. The best feeling in the world is when you impress yourself. I am a self-confessed chocoholic. It is a challenge for me to get through a single day without the sweet, brown stuff. But, every Lent I give it up, and I do not know where I get the strength to resist it, but I know that at the end of those 40 days and 40 nights, I am so proud of myself. That feeling of achievement alone is worth the sacrifice.
- It creates some positive schedule changes and makes way for habit formation.
A lot of people put off starting fitness programs because they think they don’t have the time, or they’re not willing to find it. But, we can all make some sacrifices and move some things around when it’s for the short term. What those two weeks allow you to see is that Netflix binges are better saved for rainy Sunday afternoons anyway, lunch and a stroll is just as enjoyable, time efficient and cheaper than the dinner date with your friend, and it’s much nicer waking up for work without the stale taste of G&Ts and that fuzzy headache that only the strongest coffee can cure. Those two weeks can allow you to find that time in your schedule that you thought you didn’t have. You’ll see you don’t have to give up too much if you just get good at effectively and efficiently using your time.
- More of the good stuff.
Two weeks is plenty of time to show you what it’s like to have more: more energy, more movement in your joints, more positive emotions, more endorphins, more self-confidence. Who doesn’t want more? More importantly, who wants to go back to not having more after two weeks?
Okay so the two-week-fix mentality probably sounds very appealing by now. But it’s not all rosy. Here are some of the cons to consider:
- You can’t make real, lasting change to your body in just two weeks.
Yes, you will see some positive changes. But they won’t last if you give up after two weeks. And, you are likely to get more frustrated and less willing to try again if you fall off the wagon. The more times you fall off, the harder it is to get back on again because you know that you are the one to blame and we all want to protect ourselves from self-blame. You may go into this with a two-week-fix mentality but you need to be open to continuing the journey if you want to see serious change.
- It’s not enough time to form a habit.
Two weeks should show you that it is achievable to make changes to your schedule and your mind-set. But, don’t be fooled into thinking that you will magically and unequivocally adopt this new way of life by the end of that time. In fact, even the sacred “21 days to form a habit” is just a myth. It is going to take much longer and you are going to have to keep yourself on track until it becomes natural and ingrained in your lifestyle to exercise, eat and live healthily.
- Usually, it’s for some event/occasion/holiday that will likely lead to undoing all the good work and leave you back at square one.
Often this two-week-fix mindset is born from the last minute panic before some big event. A lot of the time, that panic is why people who think this way have the ability to be so dedicated. It’s just like floating through the whole year of school or college and then right before exams you have no choice but to start cramming. So, on the day of your exams, do you actually know and understand the material or do you just have enough acronyms and bullet points in your head to get you through? Are you setting yourself up to go into the next year confident that you know your material or two weeks after the exams have you forgotten it all and find yourself exactly where you were before you decided to cram? If your only goal is that two-week marker so you can fit into that dress or look decent in that swimsuit but eat and drink and splurge all you want after that, then you are only kidding yourself and the two-week-fix mindset is a dangerous weapon.
Short term thinking in relation to health and fitness is not a bad thing. But only in so long as you give it a chance to be continued. If it’s what gives you the kick start to get going… GREAT… Jump on board that thought train! But, just remember, your planned stop isn’t the last one on the route and it is up to you to get back on track after if you want to see some other pretty impressive destinations.
Thank You for Reading