Once upon a time, I purchased a Boot Camp Groupon. On day one, our waist, legs, neck, and arms were measured.  We were timed on running a mile and it was noted how many sit-ups and push-ups we could do so that there would be record of our progress (or lack thereof), at the end of camp. For 30 days, I jogged up hills (forward and backward), did push-ups, sit-ups (well, not so many of these), burpees, squats and jumping jacks. Boot Camp started at 5:30am each weekday, so in addition to my muscles being sore, I was exhausted after the first week. Nonetheless, I pushed through, because I just knew that I was going to lose 20 pounds in 30 days.

Imagine my disappointment when I had only lost one pound after the first week. Do the math. At this rate, that would only be a loss of four pounds at the end of the Groupon! So I went to our Boot Camp Instructor, Lauren, and shared my disappointment. She asked me if I changed my eating habits when I joined Boot Camp. Huh? What? All this running and jumping. I’m burning more calories than I ever had in an hour. So even if I am eating exactly the same – the work out should be enough to lose weight! “It’s not just what you do; it’s what you eat,” says Lauren. Apparently, working out helps build a stronger heart, but to truly lose weight, you have to change your diet. 

Fast forward. I wasn’t a terrible eater, but I did have room for improvement. So I made small changes like using spray butter, incorporating a couple more servings of fruit and veggies, not eating at night and being mindful of portion control (oh, and enrolling in three more months of Boot Camp). Eventually, the scale showed a 15lb. loss!

I share this story with you as encouragement – because this philosophy applies to various aspects in life in many ways. From developing a healthy team to growing leadership skills, what we take in is just as important as what we exert. Our intellectual nourishment (the food!) and our ability to choose our behavior (the exercise!) actually sit hand in hand; one without the other will only get us so far. It’s when we take small steps in both that progress happens.