By Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter
Following our New Year’s resolution to get fit, my husband, Rob, and I have lost a combined total of nearly 40 lbs. During my last weigh-in, the scale’s little pound-marker quivered between a 19 and 20 lb. net loss. With 15 lbs. yet to lose, and after having “somewhat mastered” my strength and fat-burning cardio routine, I now must sharpen my focus on free weight and upper body training, which I’m working on.
How we stayed the course these past nearly 3 months boils down to our personal reality check and a resolve to make it work ‘this time.’ Both Rob and I are in this together (which means we are in sync with meal plans and snacks and totally accountable for pretty much all we eat). A few rules we followed and lessons we have learned during this ongoing journey follows:
#1: CREATE A PLAN AND STICK WITH IT
After CLOSELY counting calories the first 2 weeks of the plan in January, we’ve stuck to a pretty rigid meal formula:
a) Breakfast: single serving Quaker brown sugar-flavored oatmeal + 1 banana;
b) Lunch: 1 serving soup; 10 crackers; 1/4 cup cottage cheese; slice of fruit;
c) Dinner: Baked fish or chicken; veggie; freshly made, ROBUST salad (lettuce, 1/2 egg, strawberries, olives, bit of cheese, cucumber, tomato, a few sunflower seeds, etc.) – no dressing except for a splash of olive oil;
d) Evening snack: Jello pudding; individual serving;
e) We keep baked almonds around for afternoon hungries – I usually measure out 1/4 cup; and,
f) Pretty much eliminated all cocktails during the week, and reserved such treats for weekends.
Also, we have cut out bread/carbs for the most part (except for the crackers at lunch). That was difficult at first, but it’s funny how, after nearly 3 months, the things I strongly missed don’t matter nearly so much now.
Bottom Line: We are satiated and don’t go hungry; so this time I’m getting healthy versus dieting and starving myself, which I used to do, while also being highly motivated by shedding pounds! I need to see my body change and get trimmer, but I also know it’s about being healthy inside. The biggest surprise to me is and how much more energy I have to make better decisions in my business. I feel more optimistic and hopeful. Stronger, for sure.
On weekends, we take 1 day off to have fun, enjoy an off-diet breakfast or dinner, enjoy a glass or 2 of wine and simply play.
Takeaway for Job Seekers: Whether you are unhappy with your current job and want to find the escape hatch, or you have been thrust into the sea of job search, you MUST commit to a transition plan and discipline yourself to stick with it. Structure is key, especially in the initial stages of executing your plan, and sticking to that structure. Over time, new habits will form!
While enduring through this new disciplined approach, be sure to take time to smell the flowers: play, laugh, let go of the job search at least 1 day per week. Rest in the evenings. Rejuvenate.
Not only will you find that your imminent goal of landing a new and/or better job is more likely to be met, but you will find renewed vigor, confidence and clarity of thought for future career decisions.
Your lifeless, limp job search will grow muscle and traction; subtle improvements in the shape of your career body will show up.
#2: GET SWEATY; NO PAIN NO GAIN
100% commitment to 50 minutes of sweaty exercise 5 days/week + some sort of fun physical activity on the weekends (e.g., our new bicycles that we can ride to the lake and back, a 3.6 mile ride with a few challenging hills). Investing in The Biggest Loser Weight Loss DVD has been my secret weapon.
Bottom line: Rob and I both are not huge exercise fans, but we realized, as we moved into and past our mid-40s, that we HAD to do something – we love life too much! We were becoming unhealthier each day. We love to eat, and imbibe, but it was starting to turn on us. We now enjoy our breakaways from the healthy eating plan, on weekends, but we also embrace the feeling of strength and clearer thinking that result from sticking to the plan, for the majority of the week.
Takeaway for Job Seekers: Show commitment to tangible, uncomfortable action, not just words! Live outside that ‘box’ you’ve been hiding in. Sweat out your angst, demonstrating to yourself that a little pain is worth it for the gain. Research and invest in tools and strategies that will help propel your goals to the finish line. Perhaps a resume writer or career coach can help!
#3: DON’T EXPECT INSTANT RESULTS; CHANGE TAKES TIME / PATIENCE
During the first few weeks of our fitness routine, the fit of my clothes remained the same while the weight on the scale ticked down. So, while I saw measurable progress, the visual results were slow to follow. However, nearly immediately, from day one, I felt better, emotionally, intellectually and physically. Over time, week over week, and month over month, more significant changes to my body’s shape and strength have begun to emerge.
Takeaway for Job Seekers: Akin to crash dieters, job seekers who impatiently seek instant results are not only being unrealistic, but they are setting themselves up for unhealthy habits and results that will be difficult to maintain. Long-term career dissatisfaction is the ultimate outcome. While you are implementing your new, healthier career transition plan, you may not see results the first week, or even the first month.
Trust the plan, and be patient; constant tweaking and obsessing often create chinks in the armor of a well formed strategy. Give the plan time, and you WILL begin to strengthen your career course, creating more resiliency and more reaching the various success ports you aspire to. The ultimate result is that a healthy career plan, well executed and maintained will serve you for the rest of your career.