Persistence Pays

Neale, a reviewer from the beginning, read a number of chapters multiple times. His story:

“Your book has had a profound effect on my wellness, far beyond what I imagined when I first began to read it as you were cranking out the drafts.

“I’ve always enjoyed exercise in various forms, from hiking to cross-country and alpine skiing to occasional weight lifting. Being moderately active, I never thought I had a weight problem. When I first began to read your book last fall, I was somewhat surprised to discover that my 195 pounds placed me over the edge of the limit of the “acceptable range” of 185 pounds for my 6’1″ height. That got my attention.

“Then I read the chapter on aerobics. The section on interval training brought back memories of training sessions for track (half-mile and one-mile runs) in high school, and I decided to put some intervals into my workout routine. Very quickly my level of fitness improved. This improvement spurred me on to increase the number of workouts I did per week from three to four to four to five. Then I stepped up the intensity a few notches.

“After I read the chapter on nutrition I began to pay more attention to what I was eating. I made a few small changes in my diet: cut breakfast English muffins from two to one and substituted a spoonful of yogurt for a pat or two of butter on the muffin. My weight stayed the same. Then I cut afternoon cocktail-hour glasses of wine from two to one and occasionally none. Still nothing happened . . .  for awhile.

“Suddenly, one day my weight dropped from 195 down to 192. I stepped up the workouts a notch. A couple of weeks later the scales tipped at 186. I started eating slightly smaller portions, especially at dinner, and a few weeks after that the scale hit 180. Occasionally I have a dip below 180 or rise to 185, but generally I can stay in the 180–185 range without difficulty. This is a very happy outcome for me.

“Note that these changes didn’t occur in a smooth, linear fashion — the pattern was choppy. No change for long periods, punctuated by periods of rapid but irregular change. The only thing that stayed relatively consistent was my pattern of exercise and then, later, the closer ‘management’ of my diet. The pattern of my exercise did change gradually from a moderate level in the beginning to a more frequent and more intense level now.

“The key words are ‘gradual’ and ‘consistent.’ Perhaps a better word would be ‘persistent.’ I didn’t give up. I kept going, even when nothing seemed to be happening. But, as you point out in the book, in terms of my physiology things were definitely happening. Because of the contextual understanding provided by your book I was able to ‘keep the faith,’ and stick to the program. As a result, very positive changes have occurred. I remain forever grateful that your book has provided the stimulation and inspiration to help me make positive changes in my lifestyle.”