Saturday, February 20, 2010
Suppose for a moment that you just gave in to a big piece of cake, or skipped a planned workout. Have you destroyed your new healthy habits? Is your first reaction to beat yourself up with negative self-talk that you will always eat the wrong foods and never stick with a workout schedule? Well Stop It... give up the all-or-nothing attitude and realize that you have set a goal of perfection, never slipping up, you set yourself up for failure.
It is not as important that you went off your diet or workout plan - that was going to happen at some point. What matters is what you do next. You need to resume your healthy eating and workout plan as if there was no slip-up. Don't let a poor choice lead you to giving up on making healthier choices. The extra pounds didn't come on overnight, they are the result of eating a little more than you burned off for months and years. In this same way, making the healthier choice more often will develop a healthy eating pattern that will stop weight gain and lead to losing extra fat.
Analyze the situation and your emotions that led you to get off track. Were you needing comfort, needing some time off or tempted to join in with friends? You will have these same needs and emotions again and again. Think about the situation and come up with alternative plans for what you will do next time. It will help you preserve your healthy living plan.
You can call it cheating only if your diet is an event rather than a lifestyle. Will you never have cake again the rest of your life? Will you never again be too stressed out to make it to a workout? The lifestyle changes you are making need to be sustainable. You need to plan what you will do when you want a favorite high-calorie food or you need a rest day. Perhaps you will plan ahead for the treat by eating lighter meals earlier that day, or plan to savor a smaller portion of a treat presented unexpectedly.
If you love corn chips, you are not going to live without corn chips the rest of your life. Don't demonize any food - find a way to enjoy it once in awhile in a healthier way. I save the bag of corn chips or milkshake as a reward for walking a long distance workout where I know I have more than burned off the extra calories. If you love higher calorie, higher fat foods, plan to enjoy them once in awhile but in smaller portions. Take the time to really savor the flavor and texture of each bite. Share them with friends so you aren't forced into finishing a whole package or portion.
You will make eating and exercise choices every day for the rest of your life. Make the healthier choice more often than the uncontrolled choice. When you splurge, make it a conscious decision, try to limit the portions and enjoy every bite.
Friday, February 19, 2010
Ok so today wasn't such a great day.
I overslept, missed my workout class, had a weak moment and ate the wrong stuff.
Does this sound like you? If so, you are far from alone in having this difficulty. There are several reasons that can contribute to this. First of all, there are simply so many temptations to stray from your diet that it can seem like you need an iron will to be consistent.
Then there is the issue of information overload. We get so much contradictory information about what we should or should not eat that we can easily get overwhelmed and simply eat whatever we feel like. It's also possible, if you have a half dozen different nutritional theories running around in your head, to selectively pick the one that conveniently fits your current whim! In this case, you are not really following any plan at all.
So how can we remain faithful to a healthy eating plan when it is so easy to fall back on old habits? If you are someone who has trouble sticking to diets, then you may want to try a different approach. Rather than trying to follow the precise rules of a particular diet, use sensible guidelines that will point you in the right direction. Along similar lines, don't make promises to yourself, such as people do when they make New Year's resolutions that you will "never again" eat a donut, drink a soda, order a double cheeseburger or give in to whatever your weaknesses happen to be.
Strict diets and resolutions sound good in theory, but they have a fatal flaw built into them. They can be a way to set yourself up for failure. Then, when you predictably give in to temptation, you say to yourself that you've failed yet again, and quit even trying to stick to your original plan. If, on the other hand, you work on gradually eating fewer donuts and cheeseburgers and drinking more water and less soda, you can't so easily "fail" by making a single slip-up.
You may feel that having "guidelines" rather than rules is going to be too vague and not put enough pressure on yourself to change. This is not the best approach for everyone. If you think you really can stick to a good diet, then by all means do so. However, if you have repeatedly failed at this, it may be time to try a new approach.
One thing you can do is make your healthy eating guidelines more real and powerful is to write them down and frequently refer to them. You can also cut out or print out pictures of the foods you want to eat and make a vision board. This may sound silly, but it can be a good way to help your subconscious mind absorb your new goals. Using this approach, it's better to focus on the positive rather than the negative. In other words, write down and collect images of the foods you want to eat more of, not ones you want to avoid.
For example, your list may include water, various types of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, salads and natural meats and dairy products, depending on the diet you want to follow. It would be convenient to carry around a single page with names and pictures of, say, a bottle of water (or a picture of stream), luscious looking fruits and so forth. When you think about food, whether when shopping or before ordering at a restaurant or take-out deli, refer to your list. This will get you moving in the direction of eating more of the foods you know are good for you.
Carrying around a vision board of nutritious foods is only one technique. It's not essential to do, but it's a tool that can help you stick to healthy eating plans.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Here are the 8 reasons why I fall off the wagon...
1. No focus: I didn't set small enough goals, I didn't put my goals in
writing, and or I didn't keep my goals in mind daily (by reading
them, affirming them, looking at a vision board, etc.)
2. No priorities: I may have set a goal, but I didn't put it
on or near the top of I priorities list. For example, my goal
is strengthening my core muscles, but relaxing on the couch and playing on the computer is higher on my priorities list than exercising.
3. No support system: I tried to go at it alone; no buddy system,
training partners, family, spouse, friends, mentors or coaches to
turn to for information and emotional support when the going got tough.
4. No Accountability: I didn't keep score for my own
accountability - with a progress chart, weight record, measurements,
food journal, training journal, and I didn't set up external
accountability (ie, report to someone else or show my results
to someone else)
5. No patience: I was only thinking short term and had unrealistic
expectations. I expected to lose 10 pounds a week or 5 pounds a week or
3 pounds a week, so the first week I lost "only" 1 or 2 pounds or hit a plateau, discouraged I would weaken and or I gave up for the next week.
6. No planning: I winged it. I walked into the gym without having a workout in hand, on paper, I didn't plan my workouts into my weekly schedule; I didn't have a menu on paper, I didn't make time (so instead I made excuses, like "I'm too busy")
7. No balance: the diet or training program was too extreme. I went the all or nothing, "I want it now" route instead of the moderate, slow-and-steady wins the race route.
8. No personalization: my nutrition or training program was the
wrong one for me. It might have worked for someone else, but it didn't suit my schedule, personality, lifestyle, disposition or body type.
So there you have it - the 8 common mistakes that causes me to fall off the wagon. Are you guilty of any of these transgressions? If so, the solutions are clear and simple:
Focus, prioritize, get support, be accountable, be patient, plan, balance and personalize.
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