Everyone Rely On The Mirror and cares about how they look in the mirror. To even the most selfless of us, this still matters. In the best sense, we want to look the best we possibly can for ourselves and others.
Some deny the importance of this. That could be for religious motives (“Don’t be vain”), or it could be part of a “Don’t expect me to change” attitude. In either case, it may be little more than a response to the anticipated onerous work of weight reduction or fitness. Sadly, many of us know from bad experiences that results seem to never come at all.
Fancifully, we can blame the mirror for this. If only it would have shown us some improvement, we would still be in our routines. But, of course, the mirror is not out to get us. Rather, we are expecting too much when looking into it. This is almost always the case when starting out, especially after never having done anything even during high school years.
The motto “You will not undo in one month what you have been putting together for twenty years” pretty much sums things up. And, painful as it might sound (for this is the summer we really want to look on the beach), most of us can see the inherent wisdom in this phrase. For whatever reason, we have gotten into bad shape over a long period of time, yet expect that we can see dramatic differences in a short one. Of course, this is folly, but our expectations do not get put in check easily.
Common sense would say that we should know this before we even start. But we do not. Rather, we think this time will be different. That is because we have found a secret weapon. This is the newly approved fat-burner or patch which promises maximum results for minimum effort. Most of us intellectually know that is too good to be true, but the advertising lingo makes the product irresistible. Therefore, we not only buy it–the product, but also the expectation that the mirror will show an entirely different person in a reasonable period of time.
But what is reasonable? The day after we start? Probably not. A week after start? Maybe? A month later? Most certainly. There are thirty capsules in the bottle or thirty patches in the box, so this must be the necessary period of time. That has a certain amount of sense to it. But, we still have checked the mirror every day anyway. Why? Because we are not only taking this product but also slaving away daily at the club, doing impossible workouts. Surely the combination of the two should pay off soon; and, perhaps, today is the day.
Thus we are going off of a mixture of belief in miracle drugs ( wonders of modern science) and a belief in what our parents taught us–that “good old-fashioned hard work” really works. With a new drug being approved each quarter, it seems only right that an effective fitness pill might have been developed. Take it for a month and see the difference. Considering the near-overnight effect of what the MD prescribes when we need his or her help on other unrelated health issues, this is wholly reasonable.
Too, the belief in hard work is still part of us. Even with the underserved job losses of the last ten years, we still believe that hard work at anything pays off. We carry this over into fitness, thinking that sweat and hard work will make the difference. Thus, we look in the mirror to see the fulfillment of this promise, escalated by the effectiveness of the new capsule.
But again, when do we look? The next day? One week after we start? One month? Probably. There should be some tangible result of our efforts, so we believe. But the truth is that there is next to no noticeable difference not only after the first day but after one entire month. And, it is the mirror that is the real bearer of the bad tidings.
That is enough to make us quit. It is as if we have been lied to by the FDA-sanctioned pill manufacturer and our parents. Therefore, who should waste their money on bogus drugs; and who would waste precious time without seeing results? Certainly not us. But can this be happening? Yes, it can. Proof of the bad news confronts us every morning in the mirror, What is wrong with this picture (or reflection, if you will?)
The three problems here are these: 1.)one month is not long enough when it comes to exercise; 2.)one month is not long enough when it comes to the pill or patch;3.) every day looking in the mirror for reassurance during the early phases of fitness is counter-productive. (That, more than anything drains the essential will to persevere.)These three factors are enough to make us stop the effort without even addressing diet or supplements to maximize workout intensity and regularity. What should be done?
When starting out, the best thing first off is to know that results do not come overnight. That is in spite of whatever we do or take, and in spite of whatever we have been told by a pill manufacturer or our parents. Thus we must simply know that we will not see what we want in the mirror for quite some time. Therefore, we should not look too closely into it for at least six months
Next, we should also know that starting is one-tenth as important as staying with it. That means not for a week or a month, but rather for a year. By then, the accidental revelations in the shop windows on the street will be the most encouraging thing imaginable. But it takes that long, with patch, pill, bicycle, weights, diet, supplements–preferably all of these, but any combination.
There is nothing better than diet exercise and supplementation along with the latest fat burner, assuming it is a good one. Those, over a long enough period of time, will cause lasting results. But the most important thing about them is that they will at first cause dramatic changes in feeling. These changes in feeling and that these changes alone are what we should focus first upon, ie. not our shapes as reflected back in the mirror.
Thus, when should we rely on the mirror? Long, very long, after we have started; and then only to motivate us to work harder through the inevitable plateaus. By then, we can stand a little bad news, which, instead of discouraging us, will make us push for a few more repetitions or revolutions per minute. But that is not going to be within the first thirty days; rather it will be after the first six months, if not a year.
For further thought about self-image in relation to training order my e-book “Think and Grow Fit.”