Wow, you look good!…

Feeling a little down-trodden about your fitness or weight loss goals?  Here’s a suggestion – go spend some time with people who haven’t seen you in a while.  It will utterly alter your perspective on how you’re doing.

Yesterday I spent 11 hours volunteering at a charity golf tournament (I don’t golf, but I’ve been working at this particular tournament for 4 years now, riding around the course in a golf cart and helping to make sure the event goes off successfully).  Since I’ve worked at this event regularly for the past few years I’ve gotten to know some of the regular golfers, but these are not people I see at any other point in the year, for the most part.  So, there I am, standing at the registration desk and one after another folks are commenting on how much weight I’ve lost and how good I look.  And here’s the best part – asking me how I did it.  How cool is that?  Talk about positive reinforcement and motivation to keep it up.

Here’s another thing – I’ve been down this road before, and lost a significant amount of weight, but previously the remarks I’ve gotten from people were tinged with concern.  One guy I talked to yesterday, who has been told by his own doctor he needs to get into better shape or he’s headed for a lifelong prescription to statins and other pharmacological interventions, remarked that I didn’t just look like I’d lost weight, I looked healthier, happier and stronger than he’d ever seen me.  He actually made me promise to email him with a list of the books and blogs I’d been reading for guidance and information about the workout programs I’d been following.  This is a man who was really depressed about the notion of going on a “diet” and was thrilled to hear that such a thing had nothing to do with how I have gotten where I am.

You know, all this stuff can start to sound a lot like some obnoxious infomercial, but the reality is that there is no magic bullet.  There’s no one change you can make in your habits that will miraculously, and with no real effort, cause you to get more fit, more healthy and more strong.  But, if you really want it to happen, and it’s truly important to you, making the changes that are needed isn’t hard.

The funny thing is I’ve got a supportive family, supportive friends and lots of people around me whose comments and input have helped me, but there is something really striking about the reaction you get from an acquaintance, who you rarely see.  Your friends and family notice changes, but they see you every day, so they’re seeing the same gradual change you do.  Someone you only see once or twice a year… well, if they’re blown away… well, it’s just a rush.

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