I am an immediate-gratification person. If I want it, I want it NOW—and that can be a really frustrating thing for someone who’s trying to get in shape, lose 80 pounds, learn to run without busting a lung, and figure out how to eat properly. If someone can tell me how to do all that in a week or less, I’d be really grateful, but since all my efforts to date have led me down paths that DON’T work quickly, I’m coming to the conclusion that I’m going to be forced to accept delayed gratification.
It’s true that eat-less-do-less diets can result in fast weight loss. People lose 10 pounds or more in the first week on some plans, however, not only is that NOT sustainable in the long run, it’s not something that can support a highly active lifestyle. And if you’re reading this as a CrossFit Cerberus member, chances are, you’ve got a pretty damn active lifestyle. That means you need food—and plenty of it. Starvation diets that promise to help us drop tens of pounds at a time are simply not going to cut it for those who want to remain active and healthy, and that means things are going to take a little longer.
Let’s just say that the BIG picture, the apex predator of your goals, the elephant in the room…that’s the thing that’s going to take a while. And that’s not to say you’re not working toward it. Every step that’s taken toward a goal is a step in the right direction, however, it’s simply unrealistic to think we can achieve everything on our lists overnight. Big goals take time. The bigger the goal, the more time it will take. By expecting immediate gratification, we are setting ourselves up for failure—and possibly even for allowing ourselves to accept defeat.
Is It Worth It?
My grandpa used to say, “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.” When I was little, I didn’t really understand what he was talking about, but now, his sayings and tidbits of wisdom make a lot of sense. Do we really want to shed 10 or 20 pounds of water weight and feel too weak to deadlift a bar? Is it worth the gratification of stepping on the scale to see a lower number if we have to give up the strength it takes to max a squat clean? Everything is a trade-off, but the bottom line is this: if you do it right, you can have the best of both worlds. When you behave like an athlete and feed your body like an athlete, your body will start to feel like that’s the way it’s meant to be. And when your body feels like that’s the way to be and you maintain your efforts, your exterior appearance will start to match the way you feel inside. But that’s the part that doesn’t happen overnight. That’s the part that requires patience and perseverance. A little bit of delayed gratification, if you will.
Paul Nobles of Eat to Perform says it best when he says, “The good news is as soon as you ditch the ‘instant’ mentality, patience and work become your new lifestyle.”
As CrossFitters, we’re no strangers to patience and work, so we just have to adjust our thinking to include patience when it comes to achieving our health and nutrition goals. When we take a long, hard look at the Eat to Perform Wave Method, it becomes clear that nothing is going to happen overnight. In fact, according to Eat to Perform, a typical Wave will last 2-3 months, followed by an extended maintenance period of 3-6 months, after which time it’s repeated again until each individual athlete is at his or her individual best. That is definitely NOT the definition of instant gratification, but if we take a look at the results and feedback on the Eat to Perform forum, it’s clear that those who have mastered the plan are happy with their newfound health and fitness. The lesson? It takes time to do something worthwhile.
It’s time to rethink the way we see gratification. By setting small goals and working to achieve those—both in the box and with our nutrition—we can fulfill some of our needs for more instant gratification. However, it’s important to take a look at all those small gains and realize how they all stack up in the long run and add up to some really awesome delayed gratification. I may not lose 80 pounds by next week, but when I do finally lose it, chances are I will have accomplished a lot of other small gains along the way!
Now, go lift something, eat something, and be awesome!