The Key to Fitness and Lasting Weightloss

A guest post by Linda Formichelli of Happy Fit Coaching 

Fit and healthy equals happy

Do you struggle to lose weight and get fit?

Here’s what I hear from 90 percent of my female wellness coaching clients: “I was thin when I was a teen, then I put on weight when I went through a divorce/when I hit 30/when I went through a stressful time at work — and now I’m 20 pounds overweight. No matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to lose the weight.”

When I ask them why they want to lose weight, they say that they want to look good in their jeans, or want to weigh what they did when they got married, or have to pare pounds for an upcoming reunion. They have strong motivators and definite numbers they’re trying to reach, which are key to making lasting change.

So why is it difficult to lose the weight and get healthy?

The problem is often that our health goals don’t resonate with us– because the goals don’t tie into our deepest, most important life values.

Let me tell you a story: When I decided to become a personal trainer in May, I freaked out because I didn’t look like a personal trainer. I was slim and generally fit, but I didn’t fit the stereotype of a super-buff and thin hottie wearing skimpy exercise clothes.

So I started working out harder. I did more weight training and running, and took a weekly yoga class. But I couldn’t seem to reach my goal of looking like a fitness model. Also, though I was working out regularly, I didn’t really feel inspired to do it — it was more of a chore.

Then, two realizations hit: (1) I work out to feel good, not to look good. Exercise helps my anxiety and depression, and that’s why I do it. (2) The people I want to train aren’t super-fit marathon runners, but people like me, who want to exercise to improve their quality of life and boost their mood.

After I made this realization, I quickly lost six pounds without changing what I was doing. Exercise became a pleasure, not a chore.
What are your real life values? Chances are, they aren’t to look good in a pair of tight jeans. Here are some I’ve helped my clients discover, and how they tie into healthy living:

  • I want to eat better so I can be a good example for my young child.
  • I want to exercise to help me be more productive at work.
  • Exercising boosts my creativity, which is important to me.
  • I want to live a long life so I can help more people.
  • I want to have the energy to travel the world/do a lot of volunteering/keep up with my kids.
  • Eating organic/vegetarian/vegan is good for the environment/animals.

Your values are very personal and highly individual. Only you know what drives you to be as healthy as possible. Think or journal about why you really want to lose weight or be healthy, and let those be your inspiration to make positive lifestyle changes.

Get more fitness tips by Linda Formichelli on her blog Happy Fit Coaching.

Turbulence Training

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  1. David Delp says:

    Great post, I totally agree about where to find motivation. The problem I have is that I’m one of 20% who don’t feel endorphins when I exercise. I never feel great during, and often lose my energy afterwards, unlike a lot of people who feel more energized. When someone told me that it’s not an uncommon trait, I felt a little less discouraged. I’m in decent shape because I’ve developed exercise habits for other reasons than if feels good. I bike everywhere (we only have one car); I eat better because of my child’s decisions to be vegetarian; and I like to play outdoor games with my friends, but it’s pure willpower that gets me to the gym. I wish it felt as good as it seems to for other people. *alas*

  2. David, good for you for finding a value that worked when ‘”It makes me feel good” didn’t work for you! I know that people with Fibromyalgia become fatigued after exercise, so you’re not alone. Glad you could make it work.
    Linda Formichelli´s last blog post ..Hungry? 9 Quick, Healthy Snacks That Will Keep You Going Until Dinner

  3. Howard says:

    Meh. One of the big problems I see with bloggers in general, and this post in particular, is the “blame the victim” mentality towards obesity. I have followed what passes for “research” in the field of nutrition for over a decade, and like the attitude of most bloggers, most of what I have seen there would not get a passing grade in any rigorous college-level science class.

    Obesity is caused by mitochondrial damage. This damage occurs *before* excessive weight gain, and, in turn, makes excess weight very difficult to lose because the damaged mitochondria has an impaired ability to process lipids. Clinical research has shown clearly that if the mitochondria is not damaged, weight gain due to feasting is easily lost after the feast is over.

    There are some questions brought up by this discovery that are not adequately addressed by most of the “research” currently sponsored by Big Pharma and the Grain Foods Foundation: 1) What causes the type of mitochondrial damage seen in the muscle tissue of morbidly obese people? 2) How can a morbidly obese person repair that damage? 3) Why is it that some people (about 20% of the population) seem to get along at a normal weight without having to “diet” or otherwise consciously restrict eating?

    Since the “researchers” will pointedly ignore such questions, I have some guesses. Obesity rates started rising shortly after WW II, and the increase accelerated significantly in the mid-1950’s. The initial rise was caused by a large switch from natural, healthy animal fats (principally butter) to highly-processed vegetable oils (oleomargarine, Crisco, et. al.) containing large quantities of trans-fat. Trans-fat has been clinically demonstrated to cause mitochondrial damage, but the result can take a few years to manifest.

    Then, starting around 1950, a genetically-modified strain of wheat was introduced without any testing for fitness for human consumption. Since it was shorter, easier to harvest, and had higher yields, it edged out all other strains of wheat over the next few decades. This corresponds very closely with the accelerated pace of obesity increase.

    For more detail, you should consult Dr. Davis’ new book, “Wheat Belly” (see my article at — note that the blog has several authors; look for my posts by “Howard”). Dr. Davis is rather monomaniacal about wheat, which he considers to be the #1 health problem in the US. I disagree. I think wheat is the #2 or #3 health problem, but it remains a huge problem. The net result of the tremendous increase in (a heretofore non-existent form of) gluten, along with strange gliadins and lectins have produced a tremendously addictive group of toxins into our food supply. More mitochondrial damage.

    My personal experience with the total elimination of all grains from my diet was that my mysterious arthritis (about which I blogged on the site mention above) completely and permanently disappeared in three days, long before I had any significant weight loss. Unfortunately, mitochondrial damage takes decades to repair, so I still struggle with weight loss, even after losing about 1/3 of my bodyweight.

    It is likely that there are other causes of the type of mitochondrial damage that leads to obesity.

    Obesity is NOT caused by a lack of willpower, nor by laziness, nor by lack of ‘motivation’. It is caused by mitochondrial damage.
    Howard´s last blog post ..Deep Breathing Exercises That May Help You Lose Weight

    • Thanks for your insights! I also cut out wheat and have seen benefits to my energy. I certainly am not calling anyone lazy, and I still maintain that in order to instill and keep up healthy habits — whether it’s quitting smoking, exercising regularly, eating well, or taking care of yourself — these habits need to reflect your own life values.
      Linda Formichelli´s last blog post ..6 Motivation Hacks to Help You Reach Your Goals

  4. Brad says:

    Great perspective Linda. I’m happy with my health, but struggle on motivation in other areas. I keep getting reminders to find my Why. As you said, having motivation that is meaningful to us is a big part of the game. Thanks
    Brad´s last blog post ..Occupy Your Heart; a Call to Loving Action

  5. There was some research conducted in the UK that claimed around the age of 36 people start to ‘let themselves go’ – I totally disagree with this as I know a lot of people (myself included) who really started to look after themselves in their mid-thirties. This is because priorities change. When I was in my 20’s I wanted to look good in a bikini, so sporadic fitness and dieting ensued. Now I have two children and want to be around to see them grow up and also set a good example – whilst ensuring they are eating right and learning habits for life. I’m probably in the best shape of my life, I run three times a week, do lot’s of walking and eat balanced meals whilst reducing unhealthy snacking and alcohol. I’m never going to be a swimwear model (particularly after giving birth to two kids!) but I feel great. My biggest tip to anyone struggling with motivation is get sponsored for an event, regardless of what level you are starting at – be accountable and commit. Once you get going, the momentum builds and before you realise it keeping fit is a habit!
    Jo@simplybeingmum´s last blog post ..Can A Family Kitchen Be Minimal?

  6. Ciara Conlon says:

    Hi Linda, Great article, I am a personal productivity coach and my goal is to help people live a happier and more successful life by first sorting out the ground level, helping them get organized to get things done. What I am finding more and more is that in order to be truly successful the first step is taking control of your health and fitness. One of the things I always do with my clients is help them to be 100% clear about their personal reasons for their goals, as you have mentioned some people want to lose weight for health reasons, others to attract a partner and sometimes people aren’t consciously aware of their reasons. I agree 100% that it’s very important to help them understand their own values first. Whether you want to lose weight or achieve something very different in life, understanding the reasons why you want it and making sure it is for your benefit and not for the benefit of others will help you to achieve your goals more quickly.
    Ciara Conlon´s last blog post ..I Love the Wind

  7. Linda says:

    Same with me because the main reason I went to the gym was to look good. Then I notice the many other benefits exercise provide. Aside from the goal of looking good, I exercise since it gave me energy and it made me appreciate life more. Living healthy would definitely make us feel good about ourselves as well as allow us to provide a good example to people around us.
    Linda´s last blog post to get a girl to like you

  8. Hi, Linda,

    Thanks for sharing your insights. Your story proves the motto: ‘Work smarter, not harder.’ I’ve met resistance in my Life when I get too much inside my head.

    Once I consciously let go of whatever perception I may be holding onto things begin to flow, like they should. It’s all in the releasing, as you’ve proven in your post.

    Connie Lee @ The Power To Live´s last blog post ..Putting Your Awe into Awesome

  9. I like this post because of the personal insight into the attitude changes that were made. At one point or another a psychological barrier was crossed or broken. It’s a beautfiul moment in anyone’s life when something clicks for them and all the pieces fall into the right places.

    One of the weight loss golden rules is “image last”. Proper planning and execution coupled with the right mindset triumphs every time. This story here is a shining example of how someone understood that the more proactive they got at it, the better they started to feel. The better feelings inside were triggered in one way by the body physically feeling more alive!

    Once you’ve got these feelings all stirred up inside you, healthy living can become a wonderful blossoming part of anyone’s life. Thanks for sharing this Linda as these words jump right out of the computer screen because they have so much truthful meaning behind them. I’ll be sure to add to bookmarks or even share with my readers.
    Dan @ Fitness and Weight Loss Central´s last blog post ..Top 10 Health and Wellness Blogs

  10. Well, Eating healthy is always great. People who eat out are more likely to consume unhealthy foods compared to those who take to home-cooked dishes. I also loose my own 5kg in last 1 month by doing Yoga and exercise!!

  11. Hanro says:

    Nice one! I also found that doing what you LOVE is way more sustainable. Instead of running like a hamster in a sweety gym, I’d rather be outside, get fresh air and some vitamin D. This has been a much more sustainable approach for me. Workouts should be enjoyable.
    Hanro´s last blog post ..What Is The Ideal Body Weight For Women? Includes Calculator

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