Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Get with the Program!


Congratulations! Whether you realize it or not, simply by picking up this book you have taken the first of what I hope will be many steps, both large and small, simple and challenging, toward the most rewarding journey of all -- the road to reclaiming your physical health, well-being, and happiness.

Living the best life possible is everyone's dream, and that includes maintaining a healthy weight; getting in shape; achieving strength, fitness, and self-assurance; and attaining a sense of feeling a whole lot better in general. Those goals are exactly what Get with the Program is all about.

This is not a diet book.

This is not a fitness book.

This is a book about moving -- in the right direction. It's a book about getting real about getting back in shape, physically and emotionally, realistically and gradually. It's also a wake-up call and a reminder about many things that you may have already learned over the years but have, for whatever reason, put on the back burner for a while or let slide. It's a book about tuning into and tuning up your body day by day and little by little, until, before you know it, your extra weight begins melting away. It's also a book about changing the way you think -- not only to help you make intelligent, healthy choices about how best to nourish and strengthen your body and to nurture your sense of well-being and self-esteem, but how to help you literally move out of your own way.

For as you probably already know, the best reason in the world to move -- perhaps the most difficult exercise of all -- is to learn how to push away the emotional obstacles that have been holding you back from accomplishing your personal goals. We all struggle with that challenge, believe me. The ultimate goal of Get with the Program is to help you get real about the changes you want to make in your life -- once and for all. Do that at your own pace but with complete commitment to this program, and I promise that you will soon become slimmer, stronger, and brimming with self-assurance.

When you get with the program, you will get in touch with your inner self. When you acknowledge and identify the emotional issues and triggers that have caused you to overeat when you are no longer physically hungry and begin losing weight through sensible eating and exercise, you will have achieved one of the greatest accomplishments of all. In doing so, the personal benefits and physical rewards that will follow will be lifelong and life changing. Emotional overeating is an epidemic in the United States, and simply acknowledging that it might also be an issue for you is a major milestone along your journey to renewed health and happiness.

So, once again, I want to congratulate you for taking your first step toward becoming the best that you can be: stronger, slimmer, healthier, and happier. One step at a time. Realistically. Gradually. Consciously. Finally.

If you're serious about losing weight and keeping it off for good, I'm going to show you exactly how to do it -- and why to do it. I can assure you that you are capable of doing everything that I teach you and -- best of all -- you will happily be able to do it for the rest of your life. I'm not selling anything trendy or something that promises unbelievable results with little or no work. There are no gimmicks here. You're going to be challenged in many different ways; that's always the case when you make meaningful changes to your life. What I'm offering you is good, sound, honest advice. And should you decide to follow this advice, it will change your life!

Get with the Program is not a quick fix. Let's face it, you've probably tried the quick-fix approach to dieting and know it never really works for long. My philosophy with this program is more along the lines of "slow and steady wins the race." It's about putting one foot in the front of the other, at your own pace, in your own time frame.

This program may or may not get you down to your "dream" weight. But realize that dreams can be elusive and so can a size-eight dress or a thirty-two-inch waist. Shooting for unrealistic goals is how the dreaded "yo-yo dieting" syndrome begins, and I'm sure you're familiar with that losing game. What we're trying for here are achievable results, results that you can live with comfortably.

Get with the Program is not about trying to get you to be "thin as a pin." You will find as you read further that my main motives are these: Move a little, lose a little. (Great.) Move a little more, lose a little more. (Even better.) Eat less, weigh less. (Naturally.) Stress and worry less, binge less. (Wonderful.) Weigh less, move more. Move more, eat more (but sensibly). Strength train more, metabolize more (and age less). And on and on until you soon discover that you're smiling more and looking great and feeling better than you have in ages.

This is a program for life, for people of every weight, size, shape, and age. When you Get with the Program, you will follow a simple progression of behavioral, exercise, and eating changes that will guide you through the following goals.

The Goals

1. Get real about adjusting your thought patterns to help create positive change.
2. Get stronger and healthier.
3. Get in touch with your emotional eating triggers.
4. Get on with finally living and feeling really good about yourself.

Who wouldn't want to achieve all four of these goals? Unfortunately, many people focus on the goal they believe is the most important one to them, which is usually losing weight, and they typically select the quickest way to do it. This is where their problems begin. If you're like the majority of people on this planet who have tried to lose weight, you have gone down this road at least once or twice and maybe ten or twenty times -- only to eventually fail. If that's the case, I say let's go back to the drawing board and rethink that quick-fix way of thinking about weight loss.

First of all, isn't your real goal to live the best possible life? And wouldn't the best possible life include being a healthy and maintainable weight, being in shape, being in touch with your emotions, and feeling better about yourself? These four goals are all interrelated, and the best overall way to achieve any one of them is to go about achieving all of them simultaneously.

Get with the Program will help you accomplish all of those goals. It may not be the fastest way, but it is by far the best way. Trust me on that. This program is a recipe for success. You will become healthier, slimmer, happier, and stronger -- mentally and physically. Don't worry about the daunting goal of trying to quickly get down to your ideal or fighting weight. Toss that goal out the window now and replace it with striving to be simply trimmer and stronger.

This program is especially geared for people who have found it difficult over the years to maintain their shape, weight, and strength, and who have tried numerous diets only to succeed for a short time and then to fail. If you include yourself on that list, you are certainly not alone. In fact, you have a lot of company, and this book was written for you.

Get with the Program is comprised of four clear-cut phases, which correspond directly to the program's four goals. Each phase requires that you make specific investments in yourself, which will physically and emotionally prepare you to successfully move on to the program's next phase and goal.

Phase One is about preparation -- mental and physical. You'll begin with simple changes to your body and, more importantly, to your mind-set. You won't change what or how you eat. You won't even do any formal physical exercise. You will, however, perform several written exercises that will help you learn as much as you can about yourself and your attitudes about the process of change. These exercises will help you get in touch with your personal issues with regard to your health, happiness, and any potentially self-destructive habits.

Simply put, this is the time for you to learn the truth about your real attitudes toward changing your life. In doing so, you will learn plenty about the actual process of weight loss and the specific obstacles that have been in your way. You will also begin to move by gradually increasing your usual amount of physical activity to strengthen and prepare your body for regular (or increased) exercise in the next phase. You might start by stashing your remote control in the closet and getting off the couch every time you want to change the channel on your television set. Or you might decide to climb the stairs to your office on the sixth floor every morning and afternoon instead of taking the elevator. Whatever it is, you decide. Just stick with your decision. Be faithful to it and to your health.

I will also ask you to sign an actual contract with yourself, committing to Get with the Program. You'd be surprised how motivating putting your intentions in writing can be. Oh, and yes, you'll also drink plenty of water -- lots and lots of water.

In Phase Two, you'll learn how to exercise properly and what aerobic exercise can do for you, especially to kick-start your metabolism. As you progress through this phase, you will actually begin to see weight loss results as your body's metabolism increases. This metabolic boost will eventually lead to dramatic changes in your body. This is the time when you'll begin to modify your eating and drinking behavior -- especially if you currently drink alcoholic beverages, which you will begin to limit at this stage. You will also continue to drink plenty of water.

In Phase Three, you will continue to follow and benefit from what you've already accomplished in the first two phases, as you begin to focus on the emotional connection to your eating habits and how they affect your overall health and fitness. In this part of the program, you will identify the emotional issues that trigger you to eat when you're not hungry -- stress, anxiety, depression, boredom, loneliness, and fear of failure (or success!) are among the possibilities. By identifying and acknowledging those emotional trigger-points rather than by numbing yourself to them through snacking, overeating, and inactivity, you will soon find yourself making much better eating choices and decisions about how to treat your body. As you become physically and emotionally stronger and healthier, you will be better equipped to make a total commitment to fully impose your will to bring about permanent positive change to your life.

Finally, in Phase Four, you will continue to increase the amount of exercise that you perform, including the addition of strength training exercise. This is one of the program's keys to maintaining your weight loss success on a permanent basis, because it keeps your body's internal "metabolic fire" burning calories at a high level even when you're not exercising. This final phase will also find you focusing on fine-tuning your eating. The end result? A lifetime of health, well-being, strength, and stamina.

The four phases of the program remind me of the process of building a fire. Phase One is all about getting your inner fire going. It's when you strike that first match and spark the first flames. That flash of light that ignites the whole process. Phase Two is where you begin to fan and build up the fire, turning up the heat by adding fuel and oxygen to the flames. It's where you really get moving aerobically and start to stoke your inner furnace. Phase Three is where things really begin to burn in earnest as sparks start to fly and dance and the flames grow both in temperature and intensity. This is the stage where you get in touch with your hot buttons -- where you discover why "emotional eating" has been weighing you down and what's really been "eating at" you. Finally, in Phase Four, your fire is ready for the really big logs -- strength training exercises -- which not only will help to make the fire burn brighter and stronger than it ever has done before, but will help to maintain the radiating glow and brilliant burn long after you have lifted those heavy logs and heaved them onto the fire.

Get with the Program is designed to get you where you want to go. It's a program that is designed to help you finally become the person you were always meant to be.

Now let's fire it up...and get going!

Copyright ©(2002) by Bob Greene.

Get with the Program!: Getting Real About Your Weight, Health, and Emotional Well-Being

by Bob Greene
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