it's Monday and you're starting a cleanse. or, it's the New Year, and you're going on a low-carb-eat-only-vegetables-and-grapefruit diet. heck, it's a new day and you've decided to cut out all of your guilty pleasures and sweet obsessions. read as: no more drive through stops or late-night dates with a gallon of ice-cream. we've all been there. that pivotal moment where you go on a diet overhaul only to all-too-soon veer off course and land yourself in one of the following scenarios: a. you, binge eating every sweet and salty thing you can get your hands on. sticky fingers, check. guilty conscience, check.
b. you, hating yourself. but seriously. now you have to start all over again…tomorrow.
c. you, overweight and over dieting. it's too much work, amiright?
when was the last time you became awesome at something overnight? case and point. but I'll expand on that for those of you who still believe you should be able to go to sleep with motivation and wake up to perfection. if we can't rely solely on motivation and will power (both of which are finite things, that will wane over time), what can we rely on? habit. by incrementally changing one small thing at a time, we take small, consistent steps toward our goals. will it happen quickly? not a chance. but let me ask you this - would you rather reach your goals quickly and be happy with yourself for a second before inevitably falling off the wagon, or would you rather be happy with yourself forever, regardless of how long it took you to get there, because you adopted a different way of living altogether? either answer is okay. if you want to keep yo-yo dieting and trying every up-and-coming trend, go for it. but I'm tired for you. I'd encourage you to instead chose one small goal. maybe you start with drinking more water, maybe you center your meals around protein sources, perhaps you'll start by taking a multi vitamin…whatever it may be, it needs to be small and sustainable.
before starting anything, you should ask yourself: can I do this for the rest of my life? if the answer is no, why are you doing it now? temporary satisfaction? okay. but wouldn't you rather have long-term gain?
Here are a few small, but great lessons from Fitness Professionals around the web, courtesy of Girls Gone Strong:
Nia Shanks: Learn to let go. "I stopped focusing on the minutiae and instead focused on the few basic principles that produced the majority of results." Like eating more veggies, eating only when hungry, etc. Keep the big things big, and the small things small.
Emily Socolinsky: Start your day with a glass of water with lemon and you've only got 7 to go! Staying hydrated is critical to optimal performance and weight loss!
Julia Ladewski: Timing of carbohydrates is important when focusing on body composition and athletic performance. "I place my carbs around my workouts - before and after." Carbohydrates are our bodies main energy source, so when we eat a bowl of oatmeal around a workout, our body will pull those carbs for energy…energy we don't need if we're just sitting around doing the sedentary thing.
Jen Sinkler: "The smallest habit change I made was upping my protein intake." Protein will keep you fuller for longer, encourage muscle growth and put you on the fast track to fat loss. Protein should be a vital component to every meal.
Jilian Teta: Shedding the "all or nothing" mindset and not allowing oneself to be a victim of ones beliefs about food. The world becomes a lot kinder when you lose negative mindsets surrounding nutrition, such as "I can't eat that", or "this will make me fat". Live your life in the 90/10 zone. 90% of the time you're on your A game, eating well and feeling proud. 10% of the time you make room for those unplanned meals and spontaneous treats.
Joy Victoria: "Chill the f- out." Step back and take a look at the bigger picture. If you aren't enjoying the process in some capacity, you're doing it wrong.
Sirena Bernal: Slow down and eliminate distractions when you're eating. If you honor your food, your food will honor your body. Eating mindfully helps to encourage fullness queues and aids in digestion.
So, more water. eliminate distractions. and chill out. Sounds sort of…easy, no? I'm not claiming that it is, but it's a heckuva lot easier than crashing and burning a half dozen times a year only to be 5# heavier by Christmas. stick with small and sustainable and you'll be feeling better, looking better, lifting better and living your life. not dieting. not starving. not restricting. but rather, it will just be what you do, how you eat.
Ditch dieting. Ditch deprivation. Stick with small and sustainable habits and you'll find success.
Eat well. Live well. Be well.