This post is a full-chapter excerpt from Tough Love Letters, Eiler's latest book.
New Year’s Day is just around the corner, and Randy is preparing for the first day of his new life. Randy is frustrated with his 34-year-old, 6' 1", 290-pound frame, as well as the stress that comes with his commercial insurance sales job and the high-pressure monthly sales quotas. He’s tired physically, and psychologically he’s struggling. He reflects frequently on his high school glory days of being a three-sport athlete at 179 pounds as a senior and is determined to get a lean and energetic body back. This New Year will be the start of the “New Randy” and an end to the red-faced, double-necked, big-bellied, saggy-chested, stiff, sore, and exhausted Randy.
He’s already joined Earthy Fitness, where he received the New Year’s special of zero money down and $8/month for 12 months. He even upgraded his membership to Earthy Plus, a whopping $14/month, which will give him access to the hundreds of other Earthy Fitness franchises across the country for when he’s traveling for work.
With only five days left to the New Year, Randy is pounding down every single one of his favorite fat-, sugar-, and calorie-loaded foods, knowing that a huge sacrifice is coming where he’ll make drastic changes to his lifestyle.
When New Year’s Eve finally arrives, Randy heads to the grocery store to purchase a large stock of health foods such as low-fat cereals, whole grain breads, low-sodium soups and lunch meats, microwaveable bags of frozen veggies with low-sodium season packets, protein bars, and fruit juices. He also grabs a few succulent goodies such as his favorite cupcakes and frozen pizzas, as he’s planning to eat up until midnight and go “cold turkey” from there on.
The next day Randy hits the gym, where he gets acquainted with the machines that work each individual body part, and after a few circuits of each, he grabs 30 minutes on the elliptical machine.
Randy feels great! He’s planning to head home now and grab a bowl of low-fat cereal and a bagel with light cream cheese, and begins to plan out the rest of the day and week, up until he gets his first “cheat” day on Sunday. (After his huge sacrifice he feels he’ll have earned it.) Randy hits the gym four days that first week, and is eating mostly the items he purchased for his resolution.
But he folds on Thursday evening (Day 3 of the New Year’s resolution) when he’s out with a group of clients who are of similar age, and the social cocktails turn into an all-night festival that concludes with late-night bar food and more alcohol. Needless to say, Randy has failed his latest resolution as the Day 3 letdown rolls into a weekend of partying.
Randy hasn’t thrown the New Year’s towel in completely, however, as he thinks to himself that Monday is the perfect time to get back on track. As a matter of fact, Randy promises himself to get on track on most Mondays of the year, as well as the first day of each month. And when the first of the month falls on a Monday, look out! Randy really means it this time. Nonetheless, by the time the end of January rolls around, the hint of a successful New Year’s resolution is history.
Thus, Randy now has his sights for transformation set on the upcoming Lenten season, where he’ll give up many of the unhealthy foods he likes to consume! His plan of attack is the same. As soon as Lent begins, he will make huge sacrifices in his food intake and begin a consistent regimen of fitness. But in the meantime, he’ll load up on all the goodies he can force down, climaxing with an epic “Fat Tuesday” binge for the ages. The following day he’s at the gym with the identical approach of a few rounds through the machine circuit, and then off to the elliptical for a good 30-minute sweat. And of course he takes the same approach to his version of sacrificial eating, where he begins the day with low-fat cereal and a piece of whole wheat toast with light butter, a lunch of multi-grain bread and low-sodium lunch meat ham, and dinner is a salad with low-fat dressing, low-fat cheese, and low-sodium croutons along with a can of low-fat chicken noodle soup.
But after 11 days, and that includes a cheat day at Day 5 (hey, Sunday is a cheat day, after all), Randy again loses his focus, this time when he’s out with his buddies, which again leads into a weekend of drinking and really poor food selections.
Next up is Easter, so he’ll get through the Easter Sunday festivities and “feast” and will commit to getting fit on Monday. Once this resolution dwindles, his new primary target will be following the Memorial Day weekend where he’ll consume a massive amount of picnic food and beer, for he knows the next day is the first day of his new life. Then, the week following Independence Day. Next up, postsummer vacation, where the week-long consumption of boardwalk foods and beachside grilling will be his final feasts. After that fails, his next target is Labor Day weekend, where again he’ll load up on picnic foods before he enters the days of abstinence. This is followed up with the day after Halloween and then finally right after Thanksgiving. Come full circle, Randy’s next target is…what else? The New Year’s resolution. But rest assured, Randy will consume an excessive amount of all of his favorites throughout the extended holiday season before that huge commitment begins on January 1st.
I realize you have to be hurting emotionally with the more than 100 pounds added to your frame since high school. I’m sure it weighs on you physically as well. But Randy, your resolution approach to long-term transformation is not rational. You feel as if you are making an insurmountable sacrifice by giving up the gluttonous foods that you eat day in and out, when in reality the foods you choose for your resolution are not doing you any favors. How about the next time you go shopping you try to stock up on fresh veggies rather that the frozen varieties seasoned with oils, sugars, and salt? Fruits such as apples, oranges, and grapes rather than fruit juices. Proteins such as fresh meats and seafood rather than deli lunchmeat, protein bars, and soups. And oats, potatoes, yams, and rice rather than bread, bagels, and cereal.
Also, you approach fitness in a half-assed way, where somehow a circuit of strength machines and a hamster wheel is going to give you the lean physique and the physical abilities you crave. Note: you get what you pay for.
Randy, you need to learn what well-programmed performance training is. Even more so, you need to understand the rule of adhering to a nutrition philosophy based on foods that can be fished, grown, and butchered.
And Randy, this whole wait till Monday, or the first of the month, or after the next holiday? Switch it up man—what you’re doing isn’t working! You are 290 pounds! Shock the world and start on a Friday. Yes, that means you’d eat clean on a Sunday! You haven’t even come close to earning a “cheat” day—talk to me in six weeks about a “cheat” day.
Randy, in the words of the great Apollo Creed, “There is no tomorrow.”