Most mass/formula movies have a similar plot. How about I map out a few similarities and stretch this metaphor to a fitness journey? And as with all movie scripts, show you a twist that changes EVERYTHING.
As with all metaphors, don't take it too literally.
Start with a bang!
The hero is introduced. Either with a title song or with a fight sequence. Starts with a bang, gets the adrenaline racing.
You find a new diet. Or a new workout routine. And this is what you are gonna do. You can already feel the positive energy with this decision. You just know that this is gonna be awesome.
When I started going to SF CrossFit, that's how I felt. While running was a slow-burn i.e. it took me a few weeks to fall in love with it, CrossFit was just perfect. I knew this was it. I knew that by the time the end titles came around, I would be a different person.
Start with a bang. The first week or two weeks is just BOOM. You go daily to the gym. You don't have any cheat/treat meals and are following the diet to the letter.
Intro to the world
It is all happy times. You get introduced to the hero's world. You meet his friends and family, and inevitably his love interest. It is a care-free time where all goes swimmingly well and things are fun.
The energy is still high. You are figuring out the lay of the land. Your initial energy carried you through the first 2 weeks. You woke up early, you made it to the gym, you figured out your cooking, you prioritised your health and fitness above all else and that made it possible.
You are slowly figuring out intricacies and nuances about this lifestyle. A few edge-cases and problems appear but you figure your way through - either with coaching or just trial-and-error.
Overall, things are still great and smooth and going well.
The results start to pour in
The hero romances the heroine in exotic locations. Everything seems to work out positively.
Results keep streaming in. You keep putting in the work and you keep seeing positive results. It fuels you further. This is so easy. How come you have struggled before? Why do other people complain so much?!
The cracks start to appear
The villain makes his entry. The plot is revealed. The hero falls down, has a huge problem in his hands. How is he going to solve it?!?!
After a few weeks, life starts to catch up. You can only stay away from family functions and social events for so long. You can only say no to alcohol/dessert/whatever for so long in these places. Assuming you are still holding strong at home. Even that's difficult - other characters in the household want their sweet-fix and it makes the temptations seem to be all around you.
You have a few ups and downs. But nothing crazy.
And then it blows up. You are starting to get angry. There's only so much you can do. Meetings take priority. Work takes priority. You start missing the gym here and there. A few meals are just impossible to stick to the template because you didn't have time to solve it and just ordered in.
The big slump
The villain makes his presence felt. There's no simple solution to this. He needs to be taken down. But you are also hurt and ailing.
The downs happen more often. You are in a slump. The honeymoon period of the start of this feels eons ago. How did you manage 100% compliance? Where are the results? Why is the weighing scale stuck? How dare it go back up a bit?!? Who do you punch?
After a few weeks or maybe a couple of months, we are here. Too much to take on.
The hero's journey
In the movie, the ending is inevitable. The big bad villain is dismantled at ease, after the hero figures himself out.
With an overly dramatic climax, all is set right in the world. Everyone lives happily ever after.
This is easier said than done. But definitely doable. If not, you will not see too many success stories. You will not find people going back to the gym.
Of course, a lot of people fail in the previous steps as well. Not many have a 100% success record. It happens.
It does require a hero's journey to make it here. You have to conquer your demons. You have to solve your problems and solve them well. You just cannot keep running away from them and hope it will go away. And so, when you step up, you find that you can beat it.
The plot twist
The movie ends.
The hero is victorious.
Everyone, except the villain, is happy.
Except if you think that's your case, you will start the inevitable slide. For you, the above themes continue on an endless loop. You have to keep living with the same elements again and again and again.
You will find a new tool. You get your honeymoon period where you prioritise fitness and health over everything else, and it feels so easy.
You will run into glitches. Small life events and big life events. You have to conquer them. You will have saboteurs. You will have helping hands.
But it all comes down to you.
And it does not end.
It is an endless loop. It is Groundhog Day.
Remember, it is not just the before-after. But the after that comes after the bef0re-after.
Enjoy your mass movie! You are the hero.