Have you ever said, “I just can’t stay motivated?” Well, guess what? You may be off the hook.
Having worked with literally hundreds of people over the past 4.5 years of coaching, I have heard this used again and again as an excuse to never even get started. Too many past failures have left so many feeling almost hopeless. People would rather not even try than fail again. And here’s the kicker: most people think this is only about motivation.
The truth lies partly in the psychological arena, but much of it lies in the biological aspects of changing nutrition and exercise. Check out the Crazy Diet Cycle diagram and see if this is you:
Most people start a “diet” and begin exercising. They cut their calories and consume lower energy-giving carbs. They might make some progress in the first two weeks. But then around days 10-14 it happens. They hit the wall. At this point, your body has been depleted of critical micronutrients that ultimately need to be replenished. If your body isn’t satiated, you experience MASSIVE food cravings, which of course lead to temptations and frustration. This is why so many people give up on their New Year’s resolutions by January 15th. Then comes guilt. And feelings of failure.
So what do you do when you feel like a failure? You shut down, maybe even for months…or years…until you get a doctor’s assignment, a medical scare, a vacation approaches or you simply can’t fit into clothes anymore. So, you TRY AGAIN, but you find yourself in the same Crazy Diet Cycle. And, without taking care of your micronutrient deficiency, you will probably fail again.
This is the CRITICAL REASON why fitness and nutrition goals need to be realistic and set appropriately. Getting (and staying) healthy means you must:
1) Keep a positive mindset.
Mindset matters. A lot. If nutrition is 90% of a healthy life (see below), then I’d say that mindset it 100%. Okay, I know the math doesn’t exactly add up here, but hear me out and listen to what Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right.” What we fill our minds with each day directly affects how we see and feel about ourselves. So, STOP the negative chatter by LISTENING to positive influences. Put right, good thoughts into your mind to squelch any negatives that might try to take hold. Finding the right resources, listening to the right podcasts, reading the right blogs and books, surrounding yourself with life-giving influences, all of this will help you focus on the positive.
2) Focus on your nutrition.
Here’s the truth: you can’t out exercise a bad diet. You can do all the P90X, 21-Day Fix and Insanity that you’d like, but that’s not going to get you results if you undo all your hard work in the kitchen. Through my years of coaching others to their goals, I’ve come to believe that nutrition is 90% of a healthy life. It means eating whole, clean foods that are rich in important vitamins and nutrients.
3) Know your portions.
We all know we can’t overeat and lose weight, but neither can we under eat. If you think you can eat 600 calories a day and lose weight, then let me tell you it ain’t gonna happen! The problem is that when we don’t eat enough, we either pig out at the end of the day because we are so hungry, or we don’t have enough energy to workout and push it like we need to. Our bodies go into starvation mode. Our bodies are programmed so that when we don’t meet our caloric needs, they will shut down and store fat for survival. So know how many calories you should be consuming a day, and eat every 2-and-a-half to 3 hours to keep your body fueled.
4) Set realistic weight loss goals.
Sure, many of us would like to be our high school weight (or less), but that might not be appropriate for our frames. Not to mention that muscle weighs more than fat. Don’t just focus on a number. Consider what being fit means to you all around, including how you feel about yourself, how your clothes fit, how you can go up a flight of stairs without being out of breath, how your arms have definition. Those are all important factors in health, not just the number on the scale.
5) Don’t weigh yourself every day.
I know that’s hard for some people to do, but you’re only messing with your head if you step on that scale every single day (this goes right along with keeping a positive mindset mentioned above). Do the work, give yourself time and remember this:
6) Don’t make excuses.
Too many excuses can’t make progress. Continuing in the cycle of giving yourself too much grace and not enough responsibility won’t get you any closer to your weight loss goals. You have to put in the time and effort to do the workout, retrain your taste buds and plan nutritious meals. Will you slip up at some point? Sure! But, you can’t have a donut today, sleep through your workout in the morning and end the day with a carton of ice cream tomorrow. Don’t allow excuses to snowball. Acknowledge when one happens and refocus on your goal. Self-discipline isn’t just for Michael Phelps. Everyone can train themselves to push through the temptations.
7) Get support.
We all need a cheerleader in our court, encouraging us and reminding us that we are stronger than we realize. Do you remember Kerri Strug in the 1996 Olympics when her team’s gold medal came down to her completing a vault and sticking the landing even on an injured ankle? How was she able to accomplish the feat? Because she had her team and her coach, Bela Karolyi cheering her on. Her coach’s only words were, “You can do it!” And she did it. I would argue that if she didn’t have that encouragement, she wouldn’t have completed the vault or, if she would’ve, it wouldn’t have been enough for her team to win the Olympic gold. We all need those Bela’s in our lives to tell us, “You can do it!” even when the temptation or frustration or discouragement gets the best of us. We need that coach to remind us of important truths and cheer for us when we stick the landing.
I want to be that coach for you. I am YOUR HEALTH ADVOCATE. I am here to help you stop defeating yourself, so you can get the breakthrough you’ve always wanted. And I’d like to offer you a guide to help get you started.
I’ve put together an eBook with helpful and easy tips to get your nutrition on the right track. This is my gift to you. I hope you’ll download “6 Keys for Successful Weight Loss & What You’ve Been Doing Wrong” and read through it today. It’s a quick read with simple tips, healthy snack ideas and a bonus recipe. To get your copy, sign-up below and then check your email for a confirmation message:
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(Photo credit: © patronestaff & bernardbodo – Fotolia.com.)