“Shape” magazine is targeted to women and is filled with new stories about weight-loss secrets and special cayenne pepper, seaweed diets. There is typically a bikini-clad photoshop job on the cover and pages of pictures of flawless muscle definition and perfectly proportioned supermodels demonstrating stretching methods. It’s essentially the Cosmo of the Weight-Loss Industry.

As I sat on the stationary bike yesterday, thinking about what I would have for dinner, I glanced over at the woman next to me because she had this magazine resting in front of the annoying yellow lights that tell you you’ve only been working out for 3:52 and you’ve only burned 2 calories. Stretched out along the top margin (above the red bikini) was the headline, “An Easy Workout to Burn 950 Calories Without Breaking a Sweat!” I didn’t think much of it, just rolled my eyes at the $5.99 she spent on the trashy magazine and resumed my virtual mountain biking. But later (aka now) I got to thinking about how lazy we all are. We want results without work; we want a workout without the hassle of sweating. It’s the instant gratification we crave that gets in the way of committing to losing weight, or just plain getting healthy.

I wonder if they pay for the hospital bills when you get really sick!

I get frustrated when I don’t see results right away. I will think, “but I watched what I ate today and I went to the gym once last week, so why am I gaining six pounds a week?” (or just that one week...whoops!) Weight-loss would be so much easier if you went to the gym and the next morning you had lost a pound. But in reality, it just doesn’t work like that (and if you did lose a pound, it’s water weight, sorry). It takes real dedication and a real time commitment to become a healthier person, and it’s not going to happen without some honest hard work. It’s not going to happen without sweating.

Since I’ve been watching what I put into my mouth, basically since I was forced to tweet everything I eat, I have been falling to the same traps I usually fall to when dieting. I cut things out. I eliminate carbs, or fat, or sugar, because in my head it’s easier to stick to a plan if you know exactly what you can’t eat. If you’ve ever tried this, you know it doesn’t work. The minute you tell a child they can’t do something, they do it. The minute you tell me I can’t have a cookie, I’ll eat three. So, I’m not doing that. I’m putting in the hard work it takes to actually diet correctly. I am eating what I want but I am counting calories as I go, and tweeting them @Adnsbelly. I’ve set a daily minimum and maximum, and I’ve noticed that I’m eating better, but I can still have a ramekin of ice cream (1/6 of a pint of Ben and Jerry’s is 150 calories, jerks).

I guess what I want ya’ll to take away from this, is that hard work will pay off in the end, and a half-assed effort will result in dangerous weight fluctuation (don’t look at my graph). The goal in all of this isn’t what the scale says, but how you feel and the quality of your overall health. Good health is hard work, sweating is good for you, and six-dollar trashy magazines don’t fit into my budget.