KILTED! is a philosophy that I developed to help guide my quest for better health. KILTED! Can be summarized by 7 simple principles that are crucial if you want to make a transformational change in your life. Today we move to the final principle: “!” which is to remind you to Get Excited.

If you’ve made it this far through the KILTED! Principles you may be wondering why there is always an exclamation point at the end of the word. Besides the fact that I wanted to follow my own advice (the last letter, D, was for “Don’t Quit” after all!), I felt the need to wrap up the Principles with the excitement that you will feel when you begin to see your progress.

It Takes Time

Doing one round of sit ups will not make a six-pack appear suddenly where your gut was moments before. As I have said before, this is a marathon, not a sprint. Slow progress is still progress.

Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see the results right away. When you start putting in the effort to get healthy, you’ll become healthier and fitter almost from the moment you start. In most cases, though, the results will not be immediately apparent, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t see improvement right away.

The keys with fitness are perseverance and patience. There is a plethora of motivational sayings about fitness results and specifically on these two concepts.

                “If you start now you’ll start seeing results one day earlier than if you wait until tomorrow.”

                “Results happen over time, not overnight. Work hard, stay consistent and be patient.”

                “I may not be there yet, but I’m closer than I was yesterday.”

                “Small Daily improvements are the key to staggering long-term results.”

 “Even if you can’t see the results in front of you, every single effort is changing your body from the inside. Never get discouraged!”

The point is that your results will be there before you will notice them. Don’t believe me? I know that mine were. I lost my first 30-35 pounds without any noticeable change in my physical appearance. In fact, today at 50 pounds of cumulative weight loss, I still don’t believe that I can see the difference in myself. But one day last fall, the effects of the amount of weight I had lost slammed into me like a freight train – a happy, excited train that made it obvious that I had lost several inches around my gut.

My Loaner Kilt

For context, I have a kilt that has been loaned to me to use at highland games where I might be representing my clan. I call it my “loaner kilt” or my “fat kilt.” However, when I received it, I was disappointed that even it did not fit my voluminous size. For those of you who aren’t familiar with kilts, there are two important facts you need to know. First, they wrap around you and sit higher than your pants waist, typically around or just above the belly button. Second, they are fastened with Velcro (on cheap kilts) or with typically three straps and buckles (on the mid-level to better kilts). For those of us who put on weight, there is something called “kilt extenders” which are short straps on buckles which can attach to the kilt’s buckles and add about 2-3 inches to the size range of the kilt.

In my case, the extenders I had bought allowed the kilt to fit, albeit rather snugly so I could wear it at my local Highland Games last May. Then as often happens, the kilt went into the closet for several months. When October rolled around, I pulled the kilt out of the closet and packed it up for a trip to the Stone Mountain Highland Games. When I arrived at the games field I put the kilt on, and immediately found that the extenders did not work anymore.  Awesome! I had to remove the extenders to make the kilt fit with the last hole on its strap. That was the first time I had proof (other than the scale) that I had lost weight! Even though there had been no measurable change in my pants waist, my kilt waist had shrunk significantly. That is when I first got excited about my progress.

As an aside to this statement, the scale currently says I have lost another 15-20 pounds since Stone Mountain. But the kilt doesn’t lie – when I put the kilt on two weeks ago for my new local highland games, I had moved up another 2 holes on the kilt’s original straps!

Momentum

Being excited helps keep you going and it helps you build momentum in your fitness journey.

When I started the KILTED! Principles, I included a critical law of physics in my post for Principle #1. Newton’s First Law of Motion states that a body at rest will remain at rest unless an outside force acts on it, and a body in motion at a constant velocity will remain in motion in a straight line unless acted upon by an outside force.

By that principle, once you get your fitness in motion, it will stay in motion. But the good news is that it takes less effort to keep going that in did to get started. So, if you continue applying the same effort forward into your progress, it will compound your benefits. As you lift, you will grow stronger; as you grow stronger, you will lift more; as you lift more, you will grow stronger; and so on. You will get into a groove, a self-perpetuating cycle that will keep getting better and better – making you better and better as you go!

Principles 1 and 6, Kill Excuses and Don’t Quit are designed to help you continue your fitness momentum by combatting the roadblocks which halt that momentum. Don’t let excuses slow you down. Don’t let them get in your way. And whatever you do, don quit because that will halt your momentum, and then you’ll have to start over and waste energy to get the momentum started again.

Harnessing Newton’s Law will kick your fitness routine into high gear and you will be unstoppable!

Then It Gets Exciting!

Here’s the good news: once you start to see and feel the progress you’ll get the rewards you’ve earned for all the efforts you have put in to your fitness. Don’t wait for a trophy or a medal, because there aren’t any here. The reward is something much better: a fitter you, a healthier you, and the amazing sense of victory you’ll feel. Now that’s exciting!

If you plan your goals properly, meaning in easy and manageable steps, you can keep this feeling going for week after week, victory after victory. Most importantly, don’t focus just on the end goal. Set achievable milestones so that you can track your progress and have early accomplishments. Once you achieve one, shoot for the next. Then the next. And so on. Success will get addictive! For more on goal setting you can read about Goal Setting Basics.

Stuck on a Plateau?

Sometimes, no matter how hard you work, you can get stuck on a plateau where the progress slows or even stops. This is normal and natural, and it happens for several reasons. At the time of this writing, I had been on a plateau for several weeks – and at the time of revision, I’ve been on one for a couple months.

I am using my weight as the primary measurement of my progress and it has plateaued. In my case, there are several reasons. I have been slipping on KILTED! Principles I, L, and T: Improve Diet, Lift Weights, and Trek Out (Part1 and Part 2). Over this period, I haven’t been taking as much care with my food intake (we’ve had Scotch Pie and sloppy dogs for some dinners, need I continue?), I’ve been doing less cardio, and I haven’t maintained a good lifting routine. Slipping on any one of these principles can park you on a plateau, but that’s a triple-whammy that runs the risk of reversing my progress.

If you have slowed your momentum in any of the three categories mentioned above, then you may have reached a plateau as well. But what if you have maintained your momentum and you’re on a plateau? There’s good news – it may not be a bad thing. You may have plateaued because your body has reached an equilibrium between the fat that you are burning and the muscle you are building. In this case your net weight may not change, but you are still getting healthier.

And that is why simply weighing yourself is not always the best measurement of your progress. It is a good measure, but certainly not the only one. BMI isn’t much better, because there are fewer categories. (I’m happy to see that I left “morbidly obese” behind 20 pounds ago, but I need to lose another 65 pounds before I will drop to simply “overweight.”)  Measuring only your waist is not the best method either, since we all store fat differently. In my case remember that my waist measurement hasn’t changed yet, but I’ve lost at least 4 inches from my higher kilt waist. Therefore, a comprehensive set of measurements of your neck, chest, waist, hips, legs, arms, etc. will show you that you are indeed losing inches.

Wrapping it Up

It’s time to ask yourself again why you are on a quest to get healthier. Regardless of your core reason for being on the fitness journey, your results are the proof that it is working. Get Excited!

 “!” is all about progress. Get excited as soon as you see it. Stay excited as it continues. Feed it with more effort and it will continue and increase!

Be sure to check out Get KILTED! for more information on the KILTED! Principle and links to more relevant blog posts. 

Be sure to read all 7 of the KILTED! Principles:

            Principle #1 – Kill Excuses

            Principle #2 – Improve Diet

            Principle #3 – Lift Weights

            Principle #4 – Trek Out Part 1

            Principle #4 – Trek Out Part 2

            Principle #5 – Expand Knowledge

            Principle #6 – Don’t Quit

            Principle #7 – Get Excited

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