Monday, August 27, 2007

Motivation for Fitness

There are many reasons people decide to start exercising or dieting - wanting to look better, to have more energy, for better health, or to avoid health problems, or pride. For me it was definitely a combination of these. Three things in particular hit me at once that 'flipped the switch' for me. First, it's not good to be out of breath just from climbing a single set of stairs. Second, my young kids were loving to play and wrestle with Dad, but I would get tired so quickly. Finally, I got on the scale which I had carefully avoided for the past year, and it was a shocker. Not just another ten or twenty pounds, but I was up at 290! At 6'5" I can carry a lot of weight without looking fat, but this was ridiculous. To confirm how bad the situation was, I measured my waist. Hmm, no wonder my 48 pants were so tight, I was just under 50. Two milestones I vowed never to let myself hit were 300 lbs and50 inches, so something needed to be done. Besides, I want to be around to enjoy my grandchildren someday! I could also not ignore the fact that I was not taking very good care of the temple of a body God had given me.

As a Type-A guy, and as a businessman, I found "The Business Plan for the Body" by Jim Karas to be very helpful, both in terms of motivation and practical information that makes sense to bottom-line people. He's also the author of several books with the title (and idea) "Flip the Switch". A key point repeated is that you need to make a conscious decision that leads to action, and not just "wish you were thinner." (His books should not be confused with ones with a very similar title by Robert Cooper who is plugged a metabolic thermostat idea.) The timing was perfect, finding such a book at a point where I was completely ready to flip the switch. Karas' approach and style may not fit for everyone, but it should for many - check out an excellent excerpt of his book "Flip the Switch: Discover the Weight-Loss Solution and the Secret to Getting Started" by ABC News at (Good Housekeeping has an excerpt on his other book, "Flip the Switch: Your Year to Get Slim" at

There's no shortage of motivational books and tapes on diet and exercise, but no matter who you read or follow one thing is clear: becoming physically fit is a noble and extremely difficult undertaking for most of us, and finding the right motivation to get you started and keep you going is absolutely essential to success.

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