verb (used with object)

1. to make the form, nature, content, future course, etc., of(something) different from what it is or from what it would be if left alone: to change one's name; to change one's opinion; to change the course of history.

Alter, transform, modify, adjust. All of these ideas are encapsulated by the word change. It seems like a simple concept: make something different than how it currently is in its present state. But to change something, like a habit, your health, or even your very lifestyle, seems like a pretty difficult thing to do.

One of the most rewarding aspects of this blog for me has been able to sit back and look at the workout data that we have collected. I like looking for  trends that have developed over time. For instance, our team still has some sort of aversion to Friday workouts. Seeing changes in behaviors over time as a result of the seasons, holidays, unseasonable warm weather and cold weather streaks, and also race training has shed light on what actual change requires. It has also gotten me to think about my own journey, and what has helped me succeed in making lasting modifications to my life. Here are some things that I thought about when deconstructing what it takes to "Change".

1. Set a reasonable but lofty goals. Maybe you have an upcoming wedding that you are trying to look your best for? Maybe you set your mark on your first 5k, 10k, half or even full marathon? Setting a goal that is out of reach for now, but is attainable through some work is one of the best motivating factors I've seen. I set several goals a long the way, like running my first 5k, losing 40 pounds, and running a half marathon. When I reach a new level, I raise the bar to a new level, to somewhere attainable but achievable.

2. Have a personal reason to do it. Setting a goal is great but if there is no truly personal reason for doing it, the goal will often be forgotten about. For me, I wanted to prove to myself that I could lose weight, that I could run a half marathon, that I could make changes for the long haul. It was all about me, and I didn't want to fail myself. Once I made it about me, I wanted to succeed and prove I could.

3. Make it what you do. I'm not saying you have to eat, sleep and breathe it because honestly too much is a great way to burn out and give up fast. But you should get into it. Find a community (Like 2 Fat Nerds) and get social about it. Talk to people who are working towards the same sorts of goals, sign up for races if you are into that. The more you immerse yourself into an activity the more committed you get. Starting this blog has thrown me head first into a whole new community of healthy-minded people.

4. Roll with the bumps. Let me be the first to tell you that it isn't going to be easy. Real change takes time. Throw everything that you see on TV out about 90 day beach body,  losing 10 lbs your first week of exercise, and any other too-good-to-be-true claim. It took me a year to lose ~45 pounds. The is about a pound a week for a year. Honestly, that is a reasonable expectation. Things happen, holidays happen, friends birthdays happen, a bad week at work resulting in a wine-filled weekend happen. The important thing is to roll with it and don't let it throw you off course. Which leads me to my last point.

My weight-loss over time... it takes a while.

My weight-loss over time... it takes a while.

5. Be Reasonable. The most important thing is to be reasonable. Are you really going to get frustrated and give up when you weigh-in because you didn't lose weight, even though you ate our three days the week before, went out drinking over the weekend, and had 1 am tacos the night before? Every action you take has a predictable outcome, stop and think a little bit and it will go a long way.

Change. It takes time, and there is no way around it. Lasting change, the change that makes you a better person and healthier is not easy. Real change takes real commitment. Sorry, there are no loop holes.