Diet vs Lifestyle
Thursday, July 04, 2013
Diet mentality is all about the numbers. What is the number on the scale? Did I stay under the allotted amount of calories I am given? Did I burn more calories than I took in? Success and failure is defined by that. With this mentality, when I reach a certain weight, I will be happy. Sadly I know so many people that when they get there, they are still not happy when they look at themselves. When I mess up and go over calories, I feel like I've messed up everything that really matters.
Lifestyle mentality is more than that. It is about me. It is about my choices in foods and movement of my body. A healthy lifestyle focuses on the bigger picture: my health. Success is defined by how these changes make me feel about myself. It's not the fact that a banana has 100 calories but more the fact that I'm choosing to eat a banana vs a 100 cal mini bag of my favorite processed junk food. Being overweight is usually the result of problems in my life. It's not the cause. When I address and solve these problems, the fat will melt away. Food does not help me feel better.
The biggest difference between these two mentalities is how long they last. I recently started walking in the a.m. while I was away from home temporarily and have continued to do this since I returned. My biggest challenge is getting out of my comfort zone. What has helped me is to change into my workout clothes first thing in the a.m. and put on my running shoes. In the past, I would think about going to exercise and then think about changing my clothes and putting on my shoes and then having to change back into other clothes. This way I am ready to go. Also having a set time for it and sticking with it.
Food choices are a bit tougher for me. I have to put my flag in the sand and get started. My primary problem is not what I am eating or how much but the "how and why" of my eating. I am learning to take care of myself emotionally, physically, and spiritually. I think I have the physical part down. Doubt crept in just now. After typing that sentence, I thought you just think you have it down. The only way to get rid of that negative voice in my head is to just continue with action and follow my exercise plan each day.
Healthy eating, fitness, and weight loss is not the end goal. They are the tools I use to live the life I want. So in order to get away from diet mentality and have a lifestyle mentality, I need to identify the problems I'm having and then make out a plan to solve them. Having set goals that included fitness for April, May, and June helped a lot. June was a total bust. No, that's not true. in June I spent the first two weeks with my children and then my mother died mid June and spent the last two weeks taking care of my father and trying to make him a "new normal". I did continue to exercise daily but just not at the level that I was doing previously. So those new habits were starting to grow roots and become permanent. While it wasn't a total bust, I did not track my habits. It seems that tracking my habits makes me a success or failure. I must think more on why this is. But here is July and I have set some goals and am working towards them.