As a Personal Trainer in Toronto, I’ve noticed that one of the biggest problems with sticking to a diet and exercise regimen is the temptation to do otherwise. It can be incredibly difficult for us to drag ourselves to the gym on an off day or say ‘no’ to foods that we love. The key to beating this temptation is surprisingly simple: keep your eyes on the prize.
This video, though not about fitness, perfectly exemplifies this principle. In it, 12 children are placed, one at a time, in a room with a marshmallow. They are told that if they do not eat the marshmallow, they will be rewarded with a second marshmallow. Unbeknownst to the kids, there is a hidden camera in the room.
The video is very funny, but it also teaches a valuable lesson. Only 3 out of 12 children were able to abstain from munching on the tempting marshmallow prior to receiving the second one. The ones who were successful seemed to be calmer than the ones that indulged beforehand; instead of picking up the marshmallow, licking it or sniffing it, they generally just left it alone. One little girl even shoved the marshmallow to the other side of the table so she didn’t have to look at it.
What does this have to do with fitness? The children who refrained from eating the marshmallow were focused on the reward of the second marshmallow, which kept them on track to eventually get it. If you want to get a better body, you have to stay focused on that second ‘marshmallow’ of your dream body. Granted, as a Toronto Personal Trainer, I am well aware that it will take you longer to get an amazing body than it took the children to get their second marshmallow. But the reward of a streamlined, fit body is also much greater.
So when you are tempted to go for that 600-calorie dessert or sit on the couch instead of going for a scheduled workout, think of those kids waiting patiently for their second marshmallow. Do whatever you have to do to stay focused: like the little girl who shoved the marshmallow away, you may have to remove temptation by avoiding restaurants that serve unhealthy foods or scheduling workouts with a personal trainer so you can’t skip them. But whatever you do, don’t eat your marshmallow now – your amazing new body will make resisting temptation so worth it.
Fitness Coach Mike,