January 8, 2015 at 12:00 pm EDT | by Gerard Burley
The company we keep
resolution, gay news, Washington Blade

Most New Year’s fitness resolutions fail because we get overwhelmed thinking about how far off and seemingly unattainable our ultimate goals are. Don’t fall into that trap again this year.

All right, all right, we are smack dab in the middle of resolution season.

As always weight loss, health and fitness are all at the top of many of our lists. A Twitter poll released last week said that for another year weight loss is the most Tweeted New Year’s resolution.

This is all fine and dandy, but as we all know many of us had this same resolution last year and the year before that and the year before that. So what is the elusive key to sticking to your weight loss resolutions and becoming successful? In my many years of working with people to stop their weight fluctuations and weight “yo-yoing,” I have two main focal points that I think are many times overlooked in the battle against the bulge. Follow these mental techniques and watch your waistline continue to shrink through the spring.

Surround yourself with healthy people

There’s a reason Oprah is friends with Julia Roberts, the Obamas, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, because you are who you surround yourself with.

Just as this principle works in the land of business, it is equally important when it comes to health and fitness. So many times I see people trying very hard to make big strides toward eating healthier, working out more consistently and thinking more positively, but only to stay around the friends and family who helped to get them into their current state.

No tea no shade, but your fat friends are not going to help you do anything but stay fat. If an alcoholic only hung around his or her alcoholic friends while trying to get sober, we would all realize it’s not the right environment. Same holds true for changing your health.

I suggest finding new friends who are fit, healthy and have achieved some of the goals that you would like to achieve. Having a support system really helps change your mindset of what is the norm. If all your friends work out five times a week and eat lots of veggies then guess what, that gradually becomes your new norm. Let’s face it — losing weight and getting fit is hard for everyone, so you don’t need any extra temptations or bad energy around you. If your partner is your partner in crime, but not your partner in health, that’s what Coach G calls a toxic relationship. They need to get on the program or get out. Love wants you to be the best and healthiest you that you can be. Some say you are what you eat, but I say you are whose company you keep.

Focusing on the little things

“I want to lose 30 pounds.” “I want to fit in my skinny jeans.” “I want to run a 5k.”

These are great goals, but they are all many steps down the road from where many of us are starting out. Sometimes looking that far down the road can cause people to feel frustrated when the goals aren’t achieved when they thought they would be. This will clearly be evident six weeks from now in early February when most people will have fallen off the wagon.

People who see progress stay committed. Instead of the last approach, I have had great success with getting my clients to live by this motto: “If you take care of the little things, the big things will take care of themselves.” Focusing on losing 10 pounds or even losing one pound can feel like a big task, but focusing on eating vegetables with two meals a day or getting in three cardio sessions a week can feel more doable.

I usually get the response, “Oh I can do that,” once I break down the small changes that I want them to focus on for their ultimate success. At the end of the day, success in weight loss, health and fitness is like success in other aspects of life; it’s the culmination of doing the small things right. Staying focused and staying consistent on the smaller pieces of the puzzle can go a long way to allowing you to stay on track to accomplishing your goal.

Losing weight and adopting a healthier lifestyle can be one of the hardest, but most rewarding, challenges that anyone can undertake. Though the task can be daunting at times, remember that by surrounding yourself with like-minded friends and keeping your focus on the smaller parts of the goal, your success is right around the corner. And if all else fails, hire someone to help you stay accountable. A financial fitness commitment can do wonders, I know!

19 Comments
  • this… this is satire, right?

  • this is stereotypical gay male body fascism taken to the level of outright sociopathy

  • this is stereotypical gay male body fascism taken to the level of outright sociopathy

  • You're kidding, right? I don't know to whom your "dump your fat friends like alcoholics dump other alcoholics" remark is more offensive, those with weight problems or addiction problems. What I do know is that they are vastly different circumstances and your advice to those hoping to get in shape is impractical at best, if not socially abhorrent. But hey, thanks for celebrating the very best of gay community: looking good at any cost, even if it means dropping the "lesser friends" who dare have weight issues (or age, or get HIV, or…).

  • You're kidding, right? I don't know to whom your "dump your fat friends like alcoholics dump other alcoholics" remark is more offensive, those with weight problems or addiction problems. What I do know is that they are vastly different circumstances and your advice to those hoping to get in shape is impractical at best, if not socially abhorrent. But hey, thanks for celebrating the very best of gay community: looking good at any cost, even if it means dropping the "lesser friends" who dare have weight issues (or age, or get HIV, or…).

  • "There’s a reason Oprah is friends with Julia Roberts, the Obamas, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, because you are who you surround yourself with." – Is Oprah now skinny, the President, white, geeky, and old? I don't get it …

  • Perhaps I should apply this advice it to the 'news sources' that I read: thereby dropping this shameful, bullying, and highly judgemental piece of dogmatic filth from my reading list. True, losing weight and adopting a healthier lifestyle can be one of the hardest and most rewarding challenges; however, if I've sacrificed my friends and my own body-image acceptance, then was the challenge ever worth it?

  • I had an exchange with the trainer who authored this piece, who stood by his suggestions that people ditch their fat friends: https://storify.com/ZackFord/washington-blade-the

    Shame on him for promoting such stigmatic garbage to the LGBT community and shame on the Blade for printing it.

  • I had an exchange with the trainer who authored this piece, who stood by his suggestions that people ditch their fat friends: https://storify.com/ZackFord/washington-blade-the

    Shame on him for promoting such stigmatic garbage to the LGBT community and shame on the Blade for printing it.

  • How about choosing supportive, awesome friends, and not filtering who you're friends are based on their daily caloric intake? These writers always scream about wanting acceptance from everyone around them in the world, but then refuse to practice the same acceptance within their own communities. Hypocrisy at it's finest.

  • How about choosing supportive, awesome friends, and not filtering who you're friends are based on their daily caloric intake? These writers always scream about wanting acceptance from everyone around them in the world, but then refuse to practice the same acceptance within their own communities. Hypocrisy at it's finest.

  • Right? Not to mention that if our bfs or partners have a different body weight, it *must* be a toxic relationship. Pretty disgusting article.

  • Right? Not to mention that if our bfs or partners have a different body weight, it *must* be a toxic relationship. Pretty disgusting article.

  • I'm really looking forward to your next article about who people of a certain race should only hang out with others of that same race. (End sarcasm) This article was incredibly disgusting. If there's anything toxic about this it's your unbelievably superficial view of the world. You choose relationships based people who care about you and stick by you–not based on what they look like. Having a healthy lifestyle is important, but I'd rather have a less in shape friend who loves me for me, rather than someone who accepts me into their circle primarily based on my appearance. You're what's wrong with the gay community, Gerald Burley. You should be ashamed of yourself.

  • A letter from Darren:

    Dear Gerard Burley: This article really got under my skin. One of your two tips is basically "ditch your fat friends, they are keeping you fat." "The friend who helped you get through college who is now overweight, ditch em. The ones who held your hand over a lost parents, kick them to the curb, you don't need them, you want to be thin." "Your partner who has been with you through all the hards times, who has a few extra pounds, fuck them, you need to be thin" This Is what it seems you are saying. Not to mention you have the balls to compare this to "tip" to those dealing with alcohol addiction, (I am not even going to bother explaining how stupid that comparison is). So, in the spirit of wanting you to be the best Gerard you can be, here is my tip to you; you may want to drop some of your vapid (look it up) fit friends and surround your self with people who like you no matter what you look like. Believe me when I tell you that the people who will be there when you are no longer young and hot will be those counted as your true friends. I'm sure you are a nice person, just ignorant. All the best on 2015.

    PS – No tea no shade.

    Darren

  • I remember struggling to quit smoking among an entire social circle AND a bf that smoked, like chimneys. I knew that the major trigger for lighting up was anyone in my circle lighting up! So yes, I found myself spending less time with friends that smoked in an attempt to avoid that trigger. I get it Gerard, avoid people who perpetuate your own negative behavior. This does work; I'm smoke free 17 years. I lost a few friends, but I did keep the bf, and convinced him to stop smoking a few years later. So before we all get outraged over what was said here, let's break it down. People surround themselves with like minded individuals; sharing the same values and behaviors, positive or negative. This is simple truth. What the focus here should have been, and what I think Mr Burley was trying to express, is that you should seek out people that inspire you. Make some new friends that share those values and behaviors, not discard your loved ones. For many of us, the friends that have been with us through thick and thin are the only family we have, and a true friend is going to support your desire to make changes to your diet or gym regiment, and they may just come along for the ride and join you in your quest for total fitness. The friend that dismisses or rideicules your desire for change? Yeah, kick them to the curb.

  • I think the first thing I need to say regarding the article is that I never meant to be insensitive. The point I wanted people to gather from my article is that when you are struggling with weight loss and adapting to a healthier lifestyle, the change is a very arduous one, one that most people are not able to adapt to and maintain on their own. We see this in our country's current obesity epidemic. The biggest misconception in my article was that everyone should get rid of their overweight friends. When I said to get new friends I meant to get "additional" friends. With that said, you can encourage your friends to get healthier with you, but if they are not ready, I think it is smart to expand your circle of friends to ones who are already living a healthy lifestyle. Once you have adopted a healthy lifestyle, you understand the balance and discipline needed to live a healthy life, and your environment is less significant than at the beginning of your journey. In my experience people who are just starting this journey have not yet mastered this process and their environment is crucial to their outcome. Overall, weight and health are sensitive issues for many because pain is connected with it, and people feel attacked. At the end of the day, as much as it may hurt to hear, those closest to you could also be the main ones holding you back from achieving your goals.

  • I think the first thing I need to say regarding the article is that I never meant to be insensitive. The point I wanted people to gather from my article is that when you are struggling with weight loss and adapting to a healthier lifestyle, the change is a very arduous one, one that most people are not able to adapt to and maintain on their own. We see this in our country's current obesity epidemic. The biggest misconception in my article was that everyone should get rid of their overweight friends. When I said to get new friends I meant to get "additional" friends. With that said, you can encourage your friends to get healthier with you, but if they are not ready, I think it is smart to expand your circle of friends to ones who are already living a healthy lifestyle. Once you have adopted a healthy lifestyle, you understand the balance and discipline needed to live a healthy life, and your environment is less significant than at the beginning of your journey. In my experience people who are just starting this journey have not yet mastered this process and their environment is crucial to their outcome. Overall, weight and health are sensitive issues for many because pain is connected with it, and people feel attacked. At the end of the day, as much as it may hurt to hear, those closest to you could also be the main ones holding you back from achieving your goals.

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