“How Long Until I See Results?”
The question on everyone’s mind when we start an exercise plan or adopt a new diet: How long do I have to keep at this until I get visible results? Unfortunately, because there are so many individuals/companies trying to make a profit off of our desire for quick results, we get sold into believing ideas such as “How To Lose 10 Pounds in 10 Days” and “17 Tips for a Flatter Stomach in One Week”. These individuals/companies know that the type of results they’re selling are impossible, but they also know that in our desperation for quick results, we’ll pay our hard-earned money to give it a shot. The true answer to the question won’t make for an attention-grabbing headline, but because it’s a question I often hear I want to address it now: It takes anywhere from eight to twelve weeks before you can look in the mirror and see real results. If anyone tells you something different, they’re trying to sell you a product/service/idea to profit off of your impatience.
Society has an evil way of poking fun at people who commit to new fitness goals as their New Year’s resolution. The “regular gym-goers” complain about the gym being too crowded, then celebrate when March rolls around and the gym is back to normal. What kind of support system is that? We should be encouraging these people to stick with it — it’s so upsetting to hear about and see people give up on their workout and diet plan after four, five, even six weeks because they haven’t seen results yet. They’re so close to that day when they wake up, look in the mirror, and actually notice the changes they’ve made to their body. And once you see those results, you can’t wait to get back in the gym and get back to work, because now you KNOW the results will come — you’ve seen the evidence. It’s the momentum effect of seeing progress, and it’s addicting.
Now, if you find yourself in the middle of your own eight- to twelve-week journey to results, allow me to offer you an extremely hackneyed story, but one that has been on my mind from the moment I typed the title of this post. I first read the story in Jeff Olson’s book “The Slight Edge”, which I encourage all of you to make time to read. I’ll summarize the story quickly:
Two frogs find themselves in a pail full of milk during an afternoon adventure. After enjoying the taste of their newfound surroundings they decide to head back to their pond for the night, only to realize they drank too much of the milk and now can’t escape the pail. They both swim for hours in a struggle to get out, until one of the frogs decides their efforts are hopeless, gives up, and drowns. The other frog is determined — he has faith that if he keeps trying hard enough, he’ll eventually make it out. He swims furiously for hours until he has no energy left, then finally concedes defeat. But to his surprise, he doesn’t sink — the milk he has been churning in for hours has turned to solid butter, allowing him to escape the pail!
I’ll admit, that story might make you roll your eyes. But the message is solid: Have faith that if you’re working hard and being consistent, the results will come. If you’ve been at it for eight weeks and still haven’t seen results, don’t give up! Maybe tomorrow is the day that you wake up, look in the mirror, and give thanks that today you didn’t make the same choice as the frog who drowned.