What we’re REALLY in charge of
When we moved into our second house German home, back in December 2016, we found that we’d inherited this little cutie along with it. Of course, as soon as he (el Gordo is his real name!) found out about our dog, Daisy, he didn’t like us so much.
That was in December of 2015. Fast forward to the beginning of the fall of 2016, when his outdoor cat lifestyle caught up with him, and he wasn’t so ‘gordo’ anymore; he was skinny and hungry. We started to feed him, and over the next couple of months he adopted us. He not only let us pet him, he demanded our attention, marched into the kitchen and yelled at us if the back door was open, and just generally thought he should be attended to at all times.
At that point in time, we were already speculating what would happen when we moved In the summer of 2017. My daughter, Taylor, asked me, ”What will we do when we move? Do we take him with us? Will he get along with Daisy? Do you think he’ll turn into a housecat by then?”
My answer was that we would just have to wait and see.
I pointed out that el Gordo had already made a pretty big transition from being an outdoor cat back to being kind of a pet, getting used to Daisy, trusting us, and feeling mostly comfortable in our house just in the past two months alone. “All we can do is be patient, keep trying and doing our best, hope for the best, and wait to see how things turn out.”
Be Patient. Keep Trying. Hope for the best. Wait to see how things turn out.
Not exactly a gratifying answer for an 11-going-on-20 year-old. Then again, it’s not the kind of answer most of us want to hear—especially when it comes to making diet/fitness/health/lifestyle changes.
Which, as soon as the words were out of my mouth, was exactly what I thought of.
We so much of the time want to control the outcome. We want guarantees that our efforts will give us the results we want—the exact results we want, no ‘side effects’ included. We want the exact formula and timeline for successfully reaching our goals—and the faster and with the least amount of effort possible, please.
Trouble is, that’s just not the way things work.
It’s the reason I NEVER tell a client they’ll be X pounds lighter, able to do pull ups, down a size, or lifting pounds in a certain number of weeks or months.
There are just too many factors that are out of our hands, unpredictable, beyond our immediate knowing or understanding.
- We never know when we might get sick.
- We don’t have guarantees that a certain diet or nutrition change will work exactly as we envisioned, or were told, or as it did for our mother/sister/friend/coworker.
- We don’t always know how much exercise we need or can tolerate, realistically.
- We often don’t realize there’s a postural issue or nagging injury we need to resolve before we can keep up with our fitness regime, or make progress.
Some people might freak out and throw their hands in the air and say, fine, if you’re telling me there’s no guarantee this will work or turn out the way I want it to, what’s the use? Why bother?
First, if we never try then we can guarantee that we’ll never succeed/reach those goals—THAT is one guarantee I can make you!
But moreover, what we can control—well, influence is a better word—is making a positive impact on our own lives, and often the lives of others, through our continued efforts.
Actually, the more we try, the better we can make ourselves feel—inside and out, which to me means cognitively, emotionally and physically.
One of my favorite books is SPARK: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, by John J. Ratey, and I have ‘dog-eared’ the heck out of this book. This book has reinforced what I already felt/knew to be true about exercise: its benefits are far beyond simply burning fat and making lean muscle.
Turns out, we are hard-wired to move—it makes our brains happy, calms us down, helps the brain create new neural pathways (keeping dementia at bay), stimulates heart-healthy hormone creation, energizes us, and makes us feel strong, capable, powerful, resilient and successful.
That is HUGE.
And, honestly, it’s those feelings and outcomes that most of us are probably after when we go on diets or start new exercise programs or plans—we want to feel GOOD.
- We want to feel strong, capable, powerful, resilient and successful—we just get caught up in thinking that’s the result of certain outcomes, not the impact of our continued effort.
- We get tricked into thinking our happiness is at the end of the rainbow when we meet our goals, fit into those jeans, hit X pounds on the scale.
- We don’t realize that our happiness actually lies in what we do for ourselves through our daily/weekly exercise efforts.
The good stuff lies in our consistent efforts.
That’s where we get the happy—not just when we hit that ‘final’ goal.
And the funny thing is, that when we start paying more attention to that daily work, celebrating our little wins, enjoying the positive impact we’re making in our own lives, that’s often when those results start to show up.
OR it’s when we stop being so attached to the outcome we wanted in the beginning, trading it in for enjoying the process instead.
Hope for the best.
Wait to see how things turn out.
AND enjoy the process—dial into that positive impact you’re creating.
Because at the end of the day, that daily positive impact is stuff that counts; that’s the stuff that shapes how we live so much more than simply what we might weigh, how we might look, or what size we might wear.
“If you fall in love with the process, the results are a foregone conclusion.”
~ Jen Sinkler
If you need a couple of workouts ideas, here are a couple that you might enjoy as part of your daily, continued efforts!
And if these don’t suit your needs, I have a whole library of Workout Wednesday videos you can choose from here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL649MHt6sZFCXY4UxL-OdWaNbrCLeSTmz
If you’re looking for support getting started on making lifestyle changes, to build a stronger body and sustainable healthy eating habits, shoot me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org! I’d love to talk. We can set up a discovery call and get you on the path towards creating a body and lifestyle you love.
By the way, we never did have to make any hard decisions about el Gordo. Shortly after the winter weather ended, el Gordo decided he would be an outdoor cat once more. He’d come for visits, and to have his food bowl filled–out on the patio–but there was no way he would become our housecat.
So when we left Germany in June of 2017, we left el Gordo, too, hoping that the next tenants would adopt our cantankerous little friend. We still wonder about him from time to time, and hope that he’s well and happy.