Linda Melone
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3 Reality checks you must cash in if you want results

When I started working as a trainer in the mid-90s (a.k.a. the mood ring and leg warmer era), I was a mere child of 36. 

Armed with my first personal training certification, portable bench and fitness tubing, I was on a quest to get the world in shape.

Like all naive new fitness trainers, I was counting on several things:

  1.  People would follow instructions because they paid me to guide them
  2.  They’d enjoy the process most of the time because they wanted results 
  3.  They would stick with the program and be patient along the way, knowing it’s not something that happens overnight

Cue the laugh track.

Clearly, I lived in a mystical, unicorn filled world. 

In reality: NOT EVEN CLOSE.

Yes, you would think when people pay good money for a trainer, they’d actually listen to the trainer.

Surprisingly, money is not a major motivator. Just ask all the people who sign up for gym January 2, go twice and then stop.

This brings me to three of the most common beliefs I hear from clients that keep them stuck… and the real deal truth to get unstuck so you can make progress…

FIT MYTH #1:Motivation can be found by having someone yell at you, reward you, or otherwise coerce you into doing something when you don’t want to do it.

 REALITY CHECK: Motivation can’t happen without your consent or, more accurately, your own doing. Nothing outside of you can give you motivation. It must be an inside job. Plus, commitment must come before motivation, not the other way around. 

Going through the motions of working out because you’ve signed up for a class or session can only go so far. At some point your internal cues must kick in in order to keep going or you’ll eventually give in to that inner voice that has been nagging you to stay in bed every morning when your alarm goes off. 

Maybe it will happen as an “ah ha” moment, or simply a gradual process of realizing you’ve got to make the decision to DO IT, but in the end it’s all up to you.

FIT MYTH #2: If you find a program that works, at the end you can get on with life as it was before

REALITY CHECK: Once you make a change for the better, be it working out consistently, eating clean, cutting calories, etc., the minute you resume your old habits you will resume your old body as well.

In short, you can’t get there from here and then go back there. It’s like driving from New York to California in the winter and expecting to go back to New York and keep the warm weather with you when you arrive home. Still ice and snow unless you make a permanent move. 

This is not all bad news, however. Because if you make these changes slowly and in a healthy way, your old ways will now feel yucky.

Case in point. I used to drink liters of diet soda back in the 80s. Then I made a decision to stop and I did. It took a little back-and-forth before the change became permanent, but now a sip of the stuff is enough to make me toss the entire can in the trash.

Once you wean yourself off junk food — it may take a couple weeks — the cravings go away. You’ll lose your cravings.

FIT MYTH #3: If it doesn’t work within a week or two, it’s time to give up.

REALITY CHECK: Getting and staying fit is a lifelong process, not a one-stop shop situation. Starting and stopping is one of the biggest mistakes I hear from impatient women who say they’ve “tried everything.”  

Trying something for a week or two, checking the scale and/or mirror for signs of progress, and then giving up will never get you where you want to go.

It’s the equivalent of planting a seed and digging it up every day to check it’s progress. I’m no gardener, but that seems counterproductive.

Get started, stick with it, challenge yourself and get help along the way if you’re not seeing results about a month or so. Give yourself at least three months with any new program before making any decision to change. Otherwise you’re stopping before you’ve really given yourself a decent chance.

You can’t do a little of this and that and expect results.

Be honest. Do you see yourself in any of these three tips? No judging, just hoping if you do that you decide to try a new approach. I believe in you! 

Other posts you may enjoy:

3 Surprising reasons for weight gain after 50 (no one tells you)

2 Surprising ways you unknowingly sabotage yourself

3 age-related excuses to ditch now

Got questions or comments? Email me at linda@lindamelone.com or (preferably) leave a note in the comments section and I’ll be sure to get back to you!

Your Ageless Body Coach,

About the Author Linda Melone

Linda Melone is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, certified trainer and award-winning health and fitness writer. She specializes in helping women over 50 get in shape and lose weight.

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Leave a Comment:

Teresa says

Thank you for this article! I’ve been a starter and stopper for years now. I was once a slim, fit, semi-health nut who slipped after menopause. Since then I’ve been guilty of starting an exercise program and/or diet then been amazed that I’m not getting results in one to two weeks. Having a realistic time frame (three months) gives me a better idea of really how long it takes.
I started counting calories with My Fitness Pal this week, walking most days, doing two days of strength training, and am really enjoying your suggestion of daily stretching. So far, I’ve already lost three pounds which may be water, but it along with feeling better has encouraged me.
Please continue to send your common sense, plain talk articles! I could also benefit from some specific diet instructions.
Thank you!

Reply
    Linda Melone says

    Celebrate those three pounds, Teresa! It doesn’t matter where it came from — it’s progress. And yes, three months gives you a good start. Are you in my monthly membership, the Ageless Army? I include three meal plan templates proven to help women over 50 lose weight. 🙂

    Reply
Alyson Stanfield says

I love this, Linda! I have also been dumbfounded by clients who pay a bunch for my programs and then drop off the face of the earth. You. Have. To. Do. The. Work.

So grateful to have found you! Your personal coaching has been life-changing.

Reply
    Linda Melone says

    Thank you SO much, Alyson! Yes, the easy part is talking the game. Taking consistent action is the ONLY thing that moves the needle. xo

    Reply
Lynne says

Great article, thanks. Hit the nail on the head!

Reply
    Linda Melone says

    Glad you liked the article, Lynne!

    Reply
Char says

What do you think about using a mini rebounder for working on balance! I have severe pain in my right hip and knee, to the point where I can barely walk. I’ve been told it’s osteoarthritis and that the pain is from bone on bone, both in my hip and my knee. I went to a new doctor a couple weeks ago who thinks it’s really MY BACK! I still believe I can improve the quality of my life by following Linda’s plan. I intend to try. I’m a brand new member (less than 24 hours) and I hope to lose weight and improve my balance and walk, sit and stand without a pronounced limp and excruciating pain.

Reply
    Linda Melone says

    Hi Char! I’m hesitant to suggest using a rebounder since the rebounder could be too much of a balance challenge and not safe for you. Since you just joined the Ageless Army (YA!) let’s use our mini strategy call to go over your specific situation.

    Reply
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