Thursday, April 5, 2012

If you want to see change ...

... you've got to take steps to change.

I was talking to my students (university students studying English) today about their achievement so far in class. A number of them did not do as well on their midterm exam as they had hoped. So I asked them the ever important question -- did you do everything you could to prepare for the midterm? This would involve taking the time to do the practice exercises, going over their answers to make sure they understood why they made mistakes, looking up words they didn't know, coming to me to ask questions about things they still didn't understand, and above all - learning from their mistakes.

If they didn't take these steps, or do anything at all to help them improve, then was it realistic for them to see change?

You won't see the results if you don't put in the effort.

After class I had a phone conference with my PhD supervisor (who lives in England). It was the first time I was speaking to him since I submitted my thesis, and I was really nervous. It was a relief to hear him say that he thought the thesis was fantastic ... and it was a good reminder for me when he said -- the key to surviving and passing your defense is to take responsibility for your work. You did this research. You did the analysis. Now stick by it and defend yourself. The thesis represents all the work I've done. I need to be confident in myself and my work that I did everything possible to do a good job.

There it was again -- take responsibility.

Your final product represents all the work you've put into it - take responsibility for your work.

I feel like the exact same ideas apply for weight loss.

If you don't put in the effort, things won't change.
If you haven't put in the work, then it will show ... at least with weight loss the journey isn't done, but I know that every weigh in will reflect the work I've been putting in at the gym and the food I've been putting in my stomach.

I'm sure we've all done the math -- you need to burn 3,500 calories to lose 1 lb of fat. Of course that is combined with watching what you eat, exercising, and a whole host of other factors.

I'm sure that even after doing all the math, sometimes the numbers don't add up -- because there are other factors that come into the picture -- metabolism, hours of sleep, water intake, nutrition (not just the calories in food, but the type of calories in the foods that are consumed), stress levels etc. etc.

So really, nothing is 100% guaranteed.

Still, one thing is for sure -- if steps are not taken to reach your goal, then change will not happen.

I know that I can't not exercise and hope to see a loss on the scales.
I know I can't eat whatever I want in any number of calories and expect to see a loss on the scales.
I know that while that ice cream may taste so good for a few minutes, it's going to take me a few hours to burn it off at the gym ...

I am responsible for my actions, and all my actions have consequences.

I know that losing weight/living a healthy lifestyle is something that I really want ... so if I REALLY want it, shouldn't I do everything in my power to reach that goal? It doesn't come naturally to me. I have to work at it. I have to be conscious about what I eat and ask myself over and over - Will eating this get me to where I want to be? The constant effort can be tedious, but obviously I haven't done it well enough/for long enough to see the results I want. I just have to keep at it ...

Alright - down to today's workouts:

I was in a rush leaving the house this morning, which made me a bit frantic as I didn't think I'd have enough time to complete my workout ... but in the end it all turned out ok.

1 km warm-up on the treadmill -- I dropped a few more seconds off my time
NROL4W Stage 6, workout A2 -- negative chin-up is still a disaster, but I've improved with the assisted chin ups and I added more weight to my underhand lat pulls, my squats ... overall it was a good workout -- I ended with 100 crunches, 100 ab twists (per side), and 100 side bends (per side) holding 5 kg dumbbells.

My sides and back were already sore from yesterday's boxing workout ... I know those twists and bends are going to add to the pain!

I wasn't sure what to do for tomorrow's workout because of the possible special training that F talked about on Sunday. Unfortunately, we won't be training this week as the trainer will be in Dubai for a CrossFit competition ... maybe next week.

In any case, since I didn't want to overtrain before trying a new program, I had a mild workout planned for Friday ... but seeing that the training session is cancelled, I decided to head back to the gym today for a bit of cardio (8.25 km on the cross trainer, which took 65 minutes) followed by Zumba (so got in another 2 hrs of cardio today). Zumba totally lifted my spirits!

It's finally the weekend -- what a relief!


  1. Excellent post and so true! :)

    1. Thanks :)

      It's so easy to overlook how much control we have in our own hands!

  2. Very inspiring about your PhD thesis. I have a juris doctor degree and know about long papers. I think my longest for law school was about 80 pages. I've never done a dissertation, but I remember the typing of my Dad getting his doctorate when I was 3.

    :-) Marion

    1. I can't wait until the whole thing is over and done with! It's been 4 1/2 years of a lot of hard work!


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