Have you have seen these weight loss shows where the trainer goes mental about the contestants eating something not on their meal plan?
We have all been there. Everyone says you have to stick to doing the program by the book or it’s not going to work. Do you believe that? Do you feel like you have to do it all faultlessly in order to be successful?
A lot of these ideas come from the DIEt industry. You have to follow their DIEt plan to the letter or you will not see the results they boast of. This belief is so wrong on so many levels. It causes so much stress and anxiety that you are straight away setting yourself up for failure if you try to copy them.
What happens is that you are given a standardized meal and exercise plan to follow. You must follow it exactly. You may be given a few choices but for the most part this is the strategy and anything that deviates outside of it is, well, cheating or failing.
Have you ever noticed that most DIEts nowadays have ‘cheat days’? The reason for this is that no one can stick to anything perfectly day in and day out without messing up, and especially when it is something so far outside their ‘normal’. It is very very rare to find anyone with the kind of fortitude needed to complete one of these regimented programs.
To overcome our ‘lack of willpower’ and to give us the feeling that we are ‘sticking’ to the DIEt, cheat days have become a necessary thing.
What if someone is having a party on a day that is not a cheat day? I mean you could change your cheat day, or you could go without eating the stuff you really want, but that is hard!
All this thinking and planning, and charting our progress.. Seriously, it shouldn’t be that hard.
Then what happens if you don’t follow the instructions to a tee? You give up. Or you followed the instructions, and didn’t see results right away. What do you do? You give up.
Show me a person who is perfect and I will show you a liar. There is no such thing. We are human and we are all perfectly imperfect.
We are not meant to eat the exact same way everyday. In fact, that can actually work against us. This is exactly why people hit plateaus.
As I have talked about before, our bodies are these amazing things that learn to adapt to what is happening to them and around them. So if we are doing the same thing day in and day out, our body will adapt and set our new ‘normal’ to whatever it feels comfortable with.
This is why people who go to the gym and do the exact same exercises every week will stop seeing results after a while. They just maintain, because their body has adapted and set a new ‘normal’. This is the time we need to shake it up and do something different to keep getting those good results.
When it comes to your new ‘normal’, it is about listening to your body and living your life.
You will not now, or ever be perfect in your eating. You just have to be real. Learn to listen to what you body needs and give it that. It will want different things are different times.
There is honestly no need to be this ideal person who can do no wrong. You are instead going to be putting into place a long term ‘normal’ life-plan taylored specifically for you.
The minute you up give up the perfectionism mentality, not only will you be happier but you will actually start to get the hang of this.
Instead of trying to be perfect, start to experiment with what you eat and what you do in order to create a new lifestyle that will help you feel good about yourself.
When you find yourself feeling let down and notice your actions or old habits creeping back in, the very first thing to do is to forgive yourself.
Honestly, there is no one in the world harder on us than ourselves.
So you took a step back and made a choice that well, you may not be happy with, but there are no mistakes, just opportunities to learn.
By feeling disappointed in yourself and regretting your actions you are much more likely to repeat them. However, if you show yourself forgiveness and then become open to digging into the why, you can create a different outcome in the future.
Once you are in an open state of mind and not guilt ridden, look at the outcome of your choice.
I say that you need to be in a good state of mind is because…
The answers to your problems will never come when you are angry at yourself or others. What happens in this case is that you try to place the blame on something else or someone else and come up with excuses like…
- “I overate because I am fat and useless”
- “I ate that whole cake because I am just worthless and what else would I do?”
- “They are so unsupportive. Why else would they have brought pizza home? They just want to keep me fat”.
- Or, “Nobody loves me. Nobody cares if I get fat and sick. I might as well eat what I want, it’s the only pleasure I have in life”.
Answers like these will not get you anywhere. However…
If you are in a calm mood and really ready to see WHY you did what you did, then you could get answers like…
- “OK, I ate chips and dip for dinner because I was in a hurry and wasn’t prepared”
- “I ate pizza tonight because my friends ordered one. It wasn’t in my plan but that’s ok. I can even it out with what I eat tomorrow”
- “I feel great when I eat nutritious food rather than the junk I ate today. I think I will eat better tomorrow! “
Can you see how this changes things?
Now a lot of these answers will come from a place of thinking about the outcome of how you feel.
What if you just had a giant pig out? Let’s set aside the guilt and anything else like that for a moment. Just tell me how you really feel right now.
Do you feel sick?
Is your stomach hurting?
Do you feel bloated?
Are you feeling down and worthless?
You are not in a good place right now. But the bigger question is…
Why would you WANT to make yourself feel like that?
Unless someone stuffed food down your throat, you willingly chose to eat like that, and thus you are the only one responsible for how you feel right now.
Think about it. Is this an outcome that you want in the future?
Now that you have forgiven yourself and really looked at the outcome of your choices, it is time to create a plan going forward.
You know what it will take to get to where you want to be and how to integrate these new habits into your life.
Ok before you think it is a cop out on my part, I’m saying “you know” because only YOU truly know how you think, feel and live. I could find all the life hacks in the world out there for you, but unless you liked them and were willing to use them until they become a habit, then they are useless to you.
This is why we can’t really find fault with all the different diet and exercise programs out there, because we don’t follow them to the letter long enough to see if they actually work or if they are worthless. We seem destined to take the fall for those programs not working because of course, we are the ones who gave up too soon.
Only you know what will work for you and all the answers you need will come to you in form of memories, ideas or random bits of inspiration from the world around you.
Create your plan but be flexible. There has been more than one day where I really felt like ice cream for dinner, had ice cream for dinner and still dropped weight.
It is all about experimenting.
Everything you do in this journey is about developing a deeper understanding of YOU.
How you think, what you believe, why you do the things that you do and what works for YOU.
In everything you do, there is a level of understanding that comes along with it. There is no right or wrong, no one size fits all, just an understanding of yourself and those around you.
It is also good to be aware that just because something works for you, it may not work the same for others. Don’t judge or force your views upon someone else. While it is good to share, be respectful of others viewpoints, as you never know what trials they may be facing on their own journey through this life.
This step is as simple as it sounds. The easier you make it on yourself, the simpler it will be to create a lasting habit.
If you know you might come home late, starving hungry, try to have some prepared meals ready to microwave. Yes, I know, it may not be the best choice but it is simple and easy and better than chips and dip for dinner.
If you know you are time poor, don’t look for complicated recipes to cook, keep them simple.
If you know it is hard to get out of bed in the morning and go for a walk, prepare your clothes ahead of time and have your walking buddy waiting for you.
Simple little changes are the best way to build habits rather than fancy overcomplicated things that you will never stick too or even worse, overthink and never start.
This is a journey, not an “If I do this then I can go back to my regular way of eating” type of thing. That doesn’t work. How many people have you seen that take the HCG shots and try to live on 500 calories a day, or the gastric bypass patients who lose tons of weight in the beginning, only to bloat up as big as before when they stop the DIEts?
If your old ‘normal’ was wonderful, why would you want to change it in the first place?
Being able to create a ‘new normal’ that is free from perfection and allows YOU to enjoy a joyous, easy and caring life where you can live up to your full potential, is what we are striving for here, and YOU are the only one that can make it happen!
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