Instant Gratification or Long Term Success?
People are so hungry for instant gratification. Technology has trained us that we can have what we want no later than next day shipping. We fall for this in everything. Sacrificing what we really want down the road for some cheaper, faster, less satisfying version of what we can get our hands on today.
You see this all the time in fitness. People that are in a starvation/binge cycle, trying to get results. People dropping money quickly on teas, waist trainers, pills, potions, gimmicks - all in an attempt to achieve results tomorrow. They cannot wait.
People seem to be way more willing to get scammed than they are to put in the work over time.
When I adjusted my program from being predominantly cardio to predominantly (and truthfully lately, almost entirely) weight lifting, I did so with the aim of changing the shape and composition of my body. That was nearly two years ago.
My approach was definitely the long game. I love the long game. I love the slow and steady. I love the people that say "if you just stopped eating you'd hit your goals way faster." Everyone had some kind of advice, and nearly all of them were the types scrambling for the easy fixes.
I took the hard road. I have spent twenty-one months cycling between eating in a calorie deficit or maintenance, but not a surplus. I have stuck to a successful split, lifting progressively, gaining muscle and strength but maintaining my body weight. Losing inches, but gaining on my goals.
And I have done so while getting through the pandemic, going through a divorce, through setbacks, illnesses, minor injuries, work challenges, and momentary emotional frustration that my progress has been slow.
But my progress does show, finally. The result of grinding away, in a sustainable way. I eat a decent diet of food I enjoy, fluctuating between maintenance or a slight 15% calorie deficit - in no way is it starvation. I spend an average of 45 minutes a day in my gym, not hours and hours. I go in with a purpose, I focus, I get it done and I get out. But 45 minutes a day over two years stacks up amazingly well, far better than wishful thinking, magic teas, and giving up after 2 weeks.
In the first picture below, I was about 9 months into my program change. I'd seen progress. I was happy. I was getting stronger, losing body fat. I was excited. People told me I should seriously restrict my calories. Or worse, that if I didn't stop what I was doing, I would look like a man. I did not listen. I stayed the course.
The second photo is a year later, body fat much lower, and so much stronger. Exactly the same body weight, and still feminine. I can deadlift 300+ pounds but I still look like a woman in a dress. And I am lapping the people who tried to sell me on the quick fixes.
And this isn't the end. Nowhere close.
Time is going to pass. In a year from now you are either going to be sitting in a stagnant pool of your own regrets, or you are going to be chugging away and making progress. Don't be deterred by the long game. Soak it in. Nothing great ever came from a quick fix. Don't look for change tomorrow, be willing to be patient.
And you'll find it's not the outside that sees the most benefit. I see my physical progress, but I have trained hard and with purpose through the most difficult period in my life. My mind is where the most progress is. My confidence comes from having proven what I am capable of. I am courageous, committed, and strong. And that always looks good.