Recently I started up an experimental program that is designed to guide people through their goals One Step at a Time. I found a common thread among most of the participants. Everyone seemed to be All or Nothing. I’m not sure if you have been through this yourself, but I want to talk about it and help you understand a few things.
It’s a common trend. We have a goal, we give up anything and everything to work towards it, and when we don’t see the results we hope to see, we give it all up again. Unfortunately our body doesn’t work this way. And fortunately for you, that’s a good thing. Let me take you through a common scenario.
You decide you want to get in shape. Two things happen.
1) You commit to eating healthy. You quit eating the foods you were eating before and you now only eat healthy foods. Your calorie intake is instantly dramatically slashed. You start with a breakfast (maybe a piece of fruit and possibly some oatmeal), have a healthy lunch (salad of some type) and then finish up with a healthy dinner (often times another salad). You start repeating this over and over again until you can’t stand it anymore. About a week later you are starving so bad you can’t stand it. This slowly leads to the end of your nutrition program.
2) You commit to exercising 5 or 7 days a week. No matter what, you are going to get a great workout. The first week you make it every day. You feel great after the first workout or two. It wasn’t easy, but you felt good knowing you survived it. But the second week you miss your workout mid-week. Suddenly you realize you probably won’t make your goal this week, so maybe you should just start over next week. You’re getting kind of tired anyway because you haven’t been eating much food. When you miss that next workout because you are too tired, you decide that sleep felt better than exercise anyway!
The problem is that we tend to do things ALL or NOTHING, and unfortunately our ALL will lead us to the point of doing NOTHING eventually. Here are a few things you can do right now that it will make it easier to achieve what you set out to do.
1. Make small changes. I think this is the most important thing you can do. Unless you are working with a personal trainer who is constantly keeping you accountable (sometimes even that is not enough), trying to go from doing nothing to doing everything is too many changes at once. It becomes overwhelming and unmanageable. If you can just add exercise in a couple of days a week and improve 2 meals a day, is that an improvement from last week? So if you improved from your current lifestyle, don’t you think that will make a positive change to your health and your waistline? Of course it will!
2. Reward yourself. I have several people who just can’t handle changing everything at one time. In fact I have some clients that are almost panicked by the idea of giving up certain foods. There is the thought that they will never be able to enjoy the foods again, which makes it harder for them to stick with a healthy program. The reality is you can occassionally enjoy foods that aren’t exactly good for you. Look at it this way. If you really are eating healthy throughout the week and exercising, one meal that is not good for you will not have that much of a negative impact on you. It’s usually the constant things that we do with our nutrition that gets us. If you are consistently eating things that are not good for you, you can expect to see unhealthy results. (Here’s a challenge for you…if you don’t think you do this, log all of the food and beverages you consume for one week. It will surprise you.) If I can get someone to follow the program I design for them 85% of the time, I will get great results with them. The other 15% isn’t a big deal when everything else is on track. In fact, I am so confident about that statement that I made a deal with one of my clients this morning. If she follows her program for a week, I’m not only going to give her the go ahead to eat her dark chocolate Snickers she’s been craving, I’m going to be the person to give it to her. That’s right, I’m actually going to give her a food she shouldn’t have. But one candy bar will not keep her from getting results when she does great on her program all week. It’s the way it works, and we should be thankful for that.
3) Have a plan. You won’t accidently get in shape. You have to have a solid workout and nutrition plan. Sometimes you have to just start eating better. Sometimes you have to increase your cardio intensity or add strength training. But you have to have a reasonable, progressive plan in order to get results. Your plan needs to have reaasonable nutritional goals (something that is healthy, but not starving you) and include exercise (you have to move your body). You then have to know what to expect. If you plan to lose 5 pounds a week, you are going to be very disappointed. Have a reasonable plan (for your lifestyle), expect a reasonable outcome (it could be 0-2 lbs lost a week), and stick with it 85% of the time.
Doesn’t sound too hard, does it? If you need a plan, call us or email us right now. We are here to help. 281-500-6055