You said 2019 was going to be the year of YOU.
You promised each month that it was YOUR month.
Then you swore that with the school out and the beautiful weather it was finally time to take care of YOU.
The reality is that you’ve been trying to lose weight for a long time now and put your health as a priority, and it just has NOT happened.
You probably feel like no matter what you say or how you commit that you just cannot gain control of your weight. That’s a scary feeling.
You feel that no matter what time of year or what hot, new diet strategy you try is not the solution for you.
You worry that maybe you’re really just destined to be fat and uncomfortable in your own skin.
Thankfully, that’s not the case.
You CAN take back control of your weight, and free yourself of that stress or fear of being out of control.
My hope is that you feel that sense of control once again, but first, we need to look at the things that really make dieting a real drag. These are things that drag down our success sometimes without us even knowing.
Changing the Norm
Your body is actually programmed to keep everything within the norm.
If you remember back to high school science courses, you might remember the term homeostasis, or the maintenance of a steady internal and external environment. The human body has numerous systems designed to bring the body back to homeostasis or “the norm” when changes are being made to the internal or external environment.
Your prior habits may not have been healthy, but your body has become so accustomed to them that it considers them normal.
Dieting is a complete change of the norm. Changing what you eat, what you don’t eat, increasing your activity, all in an effort to change your body composition.
If your goal is fat loss and a healthy lifestyle, these changes are necessary, but know that your body is going to fight change because of it is hardwired to do so. However, just as your body is programmed to avert change, it can also be programmed to adapt and learn a new norm.
Dieting used to be about books, magazines, and workout DVDs, but dieting tips and workout regimens are primarily found on social media these days. It is a great method for mass communication and has led to many lifestyle transformations; however, it has also really made dieting SUCK for many for two big reasons:
- Lack of Individualization
- Unfair Comparisons
When the goal is fat loss, you’re searching for a solution that will remove the confusion and insecurity about WHY nothing seems to work for you.
The growth of social media has dramatically changed the coaching industry, and unfortunately, some coaches use Facebook and Instagram as an opportunity to prey on your confusion and insecurity.
These pages look to convince you that they have exactly what you need and that thy can fix all of your problems.
How do they know what you need? Who said you have a problem?
They’re waiting to feed you a pre-written program, but where is the individualization in that? Where does it take into consideration your actual needs?
Then, you get started in this program (Heck, it happens with an individualized program as well) and look around on social media and see the amazing transformations by everyone else. Then there’s you, who no matter how well you’ve done, will never compare to that person you are looking at on the screen of your phone.
You’ve started the comparison game against someone who only posts in his or her best (likely edited) light.
Here’s the thing – you will never be that person!
Confusion and insecurity aren’t the only emotions that come with dieting… Anger, frustration, excitement, joy, and SO MANY OTHERS come with it because we are emotional human beings. Whether you want to be or not, you experience an array of emotions throughout the day, and those emotions can heavy influencers of our fat loss journey.
Fat loss requires you to focus on yourself, and in today’s world that’s just hard. So many of us have a job or family that asks us to put someone or something else first. We’re so busy moving through our day that we never take the time to actually process our emotions, and when you add a diet, you are REALLY going to add some emotions.
At the start of this year, I decided to really focus on my overall health. I was already committed to training and I was working with a nutrition coach, but I wanted to make more time for my mental health.
I did my best to set aside time each day and week for myself with the hope of doing something relaxing and allowing myself to decompress.
That meant I needed to slow down, which is so hard that I actually had to block time in my day for myself.
THAT’S HARD! And when I did that, it was really hard not to give in to doing something else because I was so uncomfortable being alone.
Then I noticed my nutrition became more of an issue. I found myself with too many cheat meals or days, so I stopped seeing the results I wanted. No matter what I did, it was a pit stop for food on the way home or a graze at home during what I considered “me time.”
“Me Time” quickly went from time for myself to time for demolishing my meal plan.
At first, I couldn’t figure out why and convinced myself it was a matter of willpower.
Sure that was part of it, but in reality, I wasn’t lacking willpower, it was just being misplaced.
I was fighting so hard the fact that I had time to process my day and the associated emotions that there was none left for resisting food.
I was ignoring the fact that everything seemed to hit the fan at work, that my workout did not go as planned, or that changes in body composition were yet to be seen. I refused to let myself feel and process the emotions, so I began to comfort myself with food.
That’s why it’s called comfort food! DUH!
For so many others, and myself food comforts us and masks what we’re truly feeling.
Our body loves comfort and feeling normal (see the first point if you forgot!), and food serves that role when we are looking for an escape from reality.
Like I said, dieting itself is an emotionally ridden process, no imagine stacking the emotions you experience as a result of your everyday environment.
Dieting sounds like a real treat, right??
The reality is that your environment, due to the emotional triggers and all other factors,
plays a major role in your diet and food choices.
Bad day at work? Pick up something quick and easy on the way home.
Another fight with a significant other? Ben & Jerry’s are the newest men in your life.
Family birthday party? Thanks, I’ll have another piece of cake, but this time hold the ice cream. Healthy, right?
Meeting up some friends on Friday? I’ll be the DD! I meant for the next morning to go get the cars in the morning….
There’s a reason eating and drinking are regarded as social activities!
You probably went into all these events swearing by your willpower and ability to say no, and then you “blew it” again.
Now you’re convinced that it’s your lack of willpower and swear that by the next time these events roll around, you’ll have WAY more.
You could eat fruit from the Tree of Willpower, and honestly, that still might not be enough to make any of those social events possible.
The reality is that it’s not a matter of willpower or determination. Those are internal factors. It’s the external factors that make these situations hard.
The good news? Those external factors are MUCH easier to adjust than the internal factors.
The internal factors require you to change as a person, but those external factors typically require a change in environment.
If you consistently have bad days at work, and can’t remember the last time you had a good day, it might be time to change your work environment.
If major fights are a regular part of your relationship, then maybe it’s time to evaluate and decide to move on or seek some outside guidance.
Birthday parties and nights out with friends aren’t going to go away forever, but if you’re feeling pressured to eat or drink foods that will sabotage your weight loss, it might be time to talk to your friends, make those outings less frequent, or keep your time there short to avoid food and beverages.
Cheat Day Mindset
You know dieting is hard it’s out of your norm and forcing you to do a lot of uncomfortable things.
When you get tired of creating this new norm, you tell yourself that you’ve worked really hard and that you deserve a cheat day.
During your indulgence, you tell yourself how awesome this diet is – work really hard, and then reward yourself.
That sounds great and continues to sound great until the next day…
You wake up probably feeling bloated and hung over (from food or alcohol), and you jump on the scale to assess the damage…
Your eyes shoot open and you scream “WHAT DID I DO!? I HAVE THROWN IT ALL AWAY!”
As a remedy, you swear to getting back on track and never allowing another cheat day again.
You have not thrown it all away or completely sabotaged yourself. Honestly, the weight gain is likely due to the bloating and water retention, so it is HIGHLY unlikely you gained 3 to 4 pounds in one day.
But it all feels so negative and you continue to beat yourself up because of this cheat day. This diet really has become a drag because of this one-day.
It’s not the one-day that made the diet a drag. It’s the mindset behind it.
Cheat day has developed into a negative term, and that’s primarily due to the fact that cheat is a negative word. The term alludes to the fact that you’ve cheated on yourself and your success, and instinctively, just like any other form of cheating, there should be a punishment for bad behavior.
You punish yourself through restriction.
Eating the foods you enjoy is not bad behavior. Not following your plan 100% for one day is not bad behavior.
But the mindset around it needs to be changed because food is fuel, food is necessary, and food is a reward for your body.
You SHOULD have days off plan.
You SHOULD have untracked meals.
You should NOT completely restrict yourself!
Because those things are a part of a REAL healthy lifestyle.
Do you think it’s truly realistic to ask you to never overeat or go off plan again?
I have been doing this for a while, personally and professionally, and I have not met one
person who starts eating healthy and NEVER indulges again (including myself).
One day does not determine the rest of your life, so don’t treat it as such!
Did you know that you have to have a culinary degree to diet?
Or that you have to have an unlimited budget for groceries?
Or that you have to eat dinner at exactly 6:00PM everyday to see the scale drop?
Of course you didn’t know that because none of those things are true!
However, these things are simple ways we seem to overcomplicate dieting.
You think that every meal needs to look beautiful and be filled with all the fresh and organic groceries.
Too often dieting becomes complex and overly complicated.
Dieting should be simple because THAT is what will make the lifestyle stick and you successful.
The reality is that when you are striving for fat loss, what matters most is the relationship of calories in versus calories out.
A fat loss goal means you want to take in fewer calories than you output.
The what’s, when’s, and how’s matter much less than what most believe.
If the best you can do is grill up some chicken and throw on a pot of rice because you are no wiz in the kitchen, guess what? I would LOVE to come over for dinner because that is about the extent of my meal prep.
If you only have $80 to spend on groceries each week, but you want to lose some fat, there are PLENTY of ways to set you up in the right calorie range for you to be successful on that budget!
If your meal times fluctuate each and everyday, not a problem! That’s called having a life and being flexible.
Changing your daily routine and habits is hard enough, there is no need to overcomplicate things by applying this pressure of what your food needs to look like or consist of. Keep it simple to start and challenge yourself further when you feel ready!
So how do we keep dieting simple, change the norm, and manage the emotional aspect of dieting?
How can you make dieting be less of a drag?
- Plan Ahead
- Keep It Simple
- Be Present
Plan ahead in a way that works for you. Know who YOU are – if you like to plan and prepare for the entire week, do it! If that stresses you out, take time each night to map out tomorrow.
Too often with a lack of planning we view ourselves as having no time or opportunity to dedicate to ourselves.
Therefore, planning helps you to view your day with an active mindset. You are able to identify the gaps of open time to cook, eat, workout, or take time for yourself!
Keep It Simple
Avoid the additional stress by keeping dieting simple.
Stick to a realistic workout routine. That means if you’ve never worked out 2 or 3 days of a 30 minute workout is much more attainable than 5 days worth of 60 minute workouts.
If you love breakfast foods, then have breakfast for lunch or dinner! But that doesn’t mean you need to make a gourmet breakfast quiche because scrambled eggs will do the same thing!
Your goal is to minimize as much complexity as possible and to allow your body to develop one skill or habit at a time.
When it’s simple and your body has the time and ability to truly and adapt and recover from the stress of change, that is when the foundation of a healthy lifestyle can be set in place!
Whether you’re reveling in your successful week of dieting or dreaming of where you want to be, both of those are putting yourself in a position to forget where you are in the moment.
You NEED to celebrate your successes and dream of your future, but the most important part is being present in the moment.
This allows you to process emotions, act with clarity in social environments, continue to progress when life just doesn’t go as planned.
Presence allows you to stay accountable to yourself, which is the key to reaching your fat loss goals.
If you find yourself struggling to stay present or you feel dieting is just such a drag no matter what you do, I want to show you the way. I want to help you realize that you can live a healthy lifestyle and truly enjoy it, so click HERE and let’s get you more information on my coaching program.