Fitness guru Bob Greene, former personal trainer to Oprah Winfrey, has advice for those who want to stick with a healthy lifestyle change.
The exercise physiologist spoke recently at the Biennial Conference for Women on the University of Illinois campus.
"A lot of people go into this process with either unrealistic expectations or at least unrealistic for what it takes to be successful," Greene said. "And everyone that I work with has been on a diet where they showed initial success, only to have that erode because they couldn't maintain whatever it was they were doing."
Making a personal change is a physical and psychological endeavor, he said.
"So the first thing that's really important to understand is really yourself," Greene said. "Why are you doing it? So many people do it for surface reasons, and those rarely hold up, and they're not in touch with the reasons they do it."
Losing 10 pounds or looking better in clothes are surface reasons, Greene said. Those who want to make a lifestyle change should look at areas of their life with which they are satisfied and unsatisfied and determine the types of changes they want to make, he advised. They should get to the root of why they are entering the process.
A second step is to understand that making a change is hard work.
"Whether that's the exercise or giving up your favorite foods, you're going to have to put something into it that you're most likely underestimating how hard that's going to be," Greene said.
He said those who journal are more likely to examine their strengths and weaknesses and, in his opinion, more likely to succeed. People who achieve success aren't obsessed with losing weight, eating certain foods or exercising, he said.
"That's not where the magic is," he said. "The magic is waking up each day and feeling real satisfaction taking a few small steps toward the best life for yourself."
Greene said he identified his great passion for helping people make these very personal changes in their lives during a shopping trip with Oprah Winfrey to help her get ready for her first half-marathon.
"There was a look in her eye that was like a child at Christmastime," he said. "This was a new experience for her, and there was an excitement and a willingness to look at her life completely differently."
Bob Greene (fitness guru)
Born in Cherry Hill, NJ, he is a graduate of Cherry Hill High School East. Greene studied physical education at the University of Delaware and then went on to get a master's degree in exercise physiology from the University of Arizona. He is a member of the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Council on Exercise.
Greene has authored over 10 books concerning weight-loss, diet and health, including two books co-authored by Oprah Winfrey. He is a frequent guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show, has a radio show on the "Oprah and Friends" satellite radio network and is a contributor to O magazine. He lives in Santa Barbara, CA with his wife Urania and daughter Kylee (born October 17, 2006). Winfrey was the "best woman" at his 2005 wedding.
Best Life Diet, by Bob Greene, 2006; ISBN 1-4165-4066-0
Best Life Diet Daily Journal, by Bob Greene,
Make the Connection : Ten Steps to a Better Body and a Better Life, by Bob Greene and Oprah Winfrey, 1999;
A Journal of Daily Renewal : The Companion to Make the Connection,
by Bob Greene and Oprah Winfrey, 1996;
Keep the Connection: Choices for a Better and Healthier Life, by Bob Greene, 2004;
Get With the Program!: Getting Real About Your Weight, Health, and Emotional Well-Being, by Bob Greene, Sydny Miner (Editor), 2002;
Get With the Program! Daily Journal, by Bob Greene, 2002;
Get With the Program! Guide to Good Eating: Great Food for Good Health, by Bob Greene, Bonni Leon-Berman (Designed by), 2003;
The Get With The Program! Guide to Fast Food and Family Restaurants, by Bob Greene, 2003;