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The Messy Middle

A Common Pattern

You start a new health program, full of enthusiasm and excited for the change it will bring. The first days and weeks go well, you are making all the right steps, and you see early signs of progress. You’ve been exercising for a week and feel a bit stronger or more energetic. You’ve stuck to your nutrition plan and have lost 7 pounds. So far so good.

But then something shifts. It starts to get harder. Maybe you don’t feel like getting up early to exercise. Maybe you really want to order the cheesecake for dessert. Maybe you don’t want to go to bed early, you’d rather finish binge-watching the latest Netflix show you are plowing through. Before you know it, you find your progress has stopped or maybe you’ve even lost ground. You start asking yourself, “Is this even worth it? Why am I even trying?”

Welcome to the messy middle.

The Messy Middle

The messy middle is that part of the journey where excitement and enthusiasm have worn off but the “new way” has not become routine. This is where self-doubt and negative self-talk start to rule the day, and the voice in your head tells you it would be better to give up, that you are no good at this, and it’s not worth the effort.

Here’s something you should know – everyone hits the messy middle. Some get stuck, others persist and move past. In order to get the results you want, you’ll need to learn how to navigate past the messy middle.

Moving Past the Middle

I’m not saying that getting past the messy middle is easy. For most people it takes some work and persistence. But it’s doable.

So, if you’re getting stuck in the mess, what can you do? Here are a few ideas to help:

Anticipating the arrival of the messy middle will help you move past obstacles that stop most people. Rather than getting knocked off course, you can say, “Hello, Messy Middle! I’ve been expecting you! Please go sit quietly in the corner, because I’ve got work to do.”


Dr. Topher Fox

Dr. Christopher Fox I am a board-certified endocrinologist in Superior, CO, and I have been in private practice since 2003. People I work with achieve success when they learn all the ingredients of healthy lifestyle and the system to consistently follow through on good intentions. I use my knowledge of endocrine science, psychology, neuroscience, and human behavior to help people make meaningful, lasting changes in their health that they can sustain long-term.

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