Since Christmas has come and gone I’m sure you are seeing friends, family, co-workers, and even media post things about how they are going to start “X” diet on the first, or do a cleanse, or drink nothing but maple syrup and lemon juice for a week (gross), cut out an entire macronutrient (carbs are a popular choice because we all think they are the DEVIL), and a whole host of other silliness to combat all the food devouring that has taken place since Halloween came.
Let’s take a breath and a reality check. Ready? Ok on 3. 1…2…3….AAGHHHHH………..WOOSA…..
You chill yet? Good. Cause this blog is about to get a little angsty and I want to make sure you are staying with me on this.
Personally, I despise New Years and not because gyms get overcrowded but because this is the only time people feel the need to go over the top with changing their lifestyle. Why did you wait till after Christmas hmm? Could you have made better, healthier foods to eat with family and friends? DUH. You CHOSE, just like everyone on the planet, to indulge in a “holiday” because that’s what we do as Americans. Funeral? EAT. Birthday? EAT MORE. Wedding? LICENSE TO EAT!!! Do we seriously wonder why we can’t get to our goals or manage our weight for life instead of for a one time event?
New Years always means EXTREME change. You want to combat the pendulum you just swung by striking it even further than you did with overeating. They start buying into all these fad diets: Atkins, Paleo (a glorified Atkins), grapefruit diet, no fats, no sugar, no salt, 10 billion gallons of water a day, protein and veggies only, as well as diet pills, shots, injections, etc, etc, etc!!! Please stop the MADNESS.
Let’s recap: You just blitzed Christmas like it was the last supper and you are feeling a little, ok a LOT bloated, disgusting, fat and miserable. Want a remedy? Quit eating the CRAP. Did you gain 10lbs from overeating at one meal? No, you didn’t. You did put additional calories and are experiencing water retention. Your body is an amazing thing, but it takes a few DAYS to process all that stuff!
I realize New Years give semblance to starting over, or making a fresh start and I am ALL OVER THAT. But let’s get real. Are you really going to stop eating bread for the REST OF YOUR LIFE because a diet plan told you that you can’t have it? That is LUDICROUS. Diets that restrict macronutrients are senseless and trainers that impose them are setting up their clients for failure. Can you realistically live on 800 calories a day? What happens when you slip up? Overeat a bag of CARROTS? See how distorted our vision of food is in regards to our health?
When I began my fitness journey in 2006, I watched my portions. BOOM. See all that rocket science going on? See all the pizza, breads, cokes, and other junk food I cut out of my diet at once? NOT. You are looking at a self-proclaimed Cheeto addict. I’m the girl who ordered pizza for homeroom, one for the class and one for MYSELF. Who, later that day went and ate FRIED CHICKEN and still had room to put down Mom’s home-cooking.
My eating habits now are the RESULT of a journey of more than 6 years and will continue for the REST OF MY LIFE.
Did I deny myself things I ate regularly? NOOOOOOO! I still had chips, I still ate out, and I still did what I was doing. I made a small change, and STUCK with it until I had MASTERED it.
This ONE CHANGE, helped me drop 20lbs in 2 and a half months. Do what?? YES. Then I began trying to eat things I knew were good for me but disliked. I hated oatmeal, but I knew it was a much better carbohydrate for me to have than white bread. I began having protein shakes to help me fill in the food gaps. Over time, I continued to REFINE and shape my food choices. I now no longer have things like artificial sweeteners because they upset my stomach and make me feel worse.
My big point in all this is STOP thinking that if you eat zero carbs and do cardio EVERYDAY for a week you will look like this:
This is NOT realistic. Expectation vs Reality reveals that if we start at this point:
Is it impossible to look like the fitness model and start here? Absolutely not, but you have to have the RIGHT mindset if you truly desire to be successful in 2013. I’ve had many clients that I gave them advice and they RAN with it. Succeeded in all their goals and then some. I’ve also had clients that I trained for years and they could never keep consistency with food because it was either FEAST or FAMINE. Extreme to luke-warm. Is this you? Do you go all out for something, and then fizzle out?
Success is the result of SMALL, continuous steps that never stop. Is it frustrating waiting for your body to change? Well of course. You always have two choices: you can either repeat your habits that have led you up to this point and binge diet for January like thousands of people will do this year, or: resolve that your approach will be something manageable, measurable, and have a deadline.
With all that said, I want to give you tips to establishing the right HABITS. This is NOT a food guide, a lose weight quick scheme, or a ploy to get money. These are the habits I instilled to bring me to the success and body I have today.
- Assess your mindset. Are you a wishy-washy person? What are the things you EXCEL at? How is it that you are so successful in these situations? Is there a difference in your committment to these things as opposed to your health and fitness goals? If so, ask yourself WHY.
- Pray. Have you asked God to guide you on this? I know many times I would ask God, “Please let me lose weight!” and then be frustrated and angry that he didn’t answer my prayer the next morning on the scale. God will equip you and strengthen you to make better choices. He will give you ways to resist temptations and he will encourage you in your journey when you make this about PLEASING him, instead of yourself. Instead of asking that you lose weight, ask him for the knowledge and committment to stay on track.
- Review your schedule. Many people use the excuse that they “don’t have time to cook” which is hogwash. I commute 3 days a week 3 hours total and still prepare home cooked meals, train clients, and get my own workouts in. You have so much down time it is unreal–we just don’t want to think we have to actually get off the couch and prepare meals for the week because it takes CHANGING YOUR HABITS. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy down time and vegging on a couch as much as the next person but if you seriously want to lose weight then you can’t really expect me to give you a free pass when you are still chilling on the couch.
- Establish a time line for mini-goals leading up to your big ones. Back in 2011, I made a resolution to read the bible from front to back in a year. Well, it is almost January 2013, and guess who isn’t done? This girl! I am almost to the book of Mark. Has it taken me a lot longer to get there? YES. I made sure to set small goals, such as reading at LEAST a page a day so I stayed in the word even when my schedule got busy and rough.
- Begin a food diary. Sounds basic, boring, and tedious but guess what? How can you change habits if you don’t realize you eat an entire bag of chips in 30 minutes? I had no idea I did that. You also realize if that food makes you feel good or bad, which is an indicator of whether or not you should eat it in the first place! Does this mean write calories, macronutrients? No. Just put down foods at first, and if you want you can add that information in as you get further into it. There is no need to be obsessive or crazy about a certain number. You can see where you are making mistakes and where you are excelling when it comes to food choices.
- Look at food as fuel, not as a cure for our emotional feelings. For years I ate emotionally, whether I was stressed or happy, mad or depressed. We NEED food to survive; we also need to eat to lose weight. We can stop our metabolisms by eating less than what our bodies need.
- One of the biggest questions I get is “what do I eat?” Honestly, this is very simple. You might hear it called many things, but to me it is eating what came from the earth. Fruits, seeds, nuts, vegetables, meats, and oils. If it came out of a box, it didn’t come from the earth. It was created in a lab and manufactured in a factory. If this STILL seems to boggle your mind, or you still don’t understand the concept of eating what comes from the ground and can rot after a few days, EMAIL ME.
- Surround yourself with a support system. Find friends, family, co-workers, a gym, trainer, or someone who can hold you accountable and have your back when you are desperate to dive head first into a pint of Ben and Jerry’s. Not only will they motivate you, they can understand and empathize with your journey if they are on the same path.
- Drink water! Your body is made up of water. We transport nutrients in our blood through water. We NEED water to lose weight!
- If you eat out regularly, either reduce the number of times you go out to eat or additionally make healthier choices when going out. There is no need to segregate yourself because you want to change your food habits. You can still enjoy life and spend time with people you love. This is not a DEATH sentence! This isn’t supposed to make you struggle mentally or depress you because Bobby Sue is destroying bowl after bowl of chips at the Mexican food restaurant.
- Begin working out. Whatever YOU enjoy, is what you should do: jazzercise, zumba, walking, running, sports, weight training, etc. For me personally, I did cardio for years and never saw the results I’ve had with weight training. In the beginning, it won’t matter as long as you begin MOVING your body from sedentary to active. Experiment and find out what YOU enjoy. If you don’t like it, DON’T do it! There is no need to be in a program you dislike or don’t enjoy. Life is too short to waste it on something one person proclaims as the end all be all when it comes to fitness.
- Educate yourself. Learn about your body in terms of muscles, biomechanics, nutrition, and health. Don’t take the word of anyone at face value. EVEN THIS BLOG!!! Put in the time to research anything you are interested in doing. Just because someone has a BLOG, doesn’t mean they are an expert on the subject–ME INCLUDED!! If you find an approach or plan that interests you, find some data to back it up. Don’t just be a lemming and fall off the cliff like everyone else. There is not a one-size-fits-all Rx for health and fitness. True knowledge, comes from God and if we put him at the forefront of our thoughts and actions, he will give us discernment to these different plans. He will guide you if you let him!
- Above all stop the FAD diets. Just don’t DIET. Saying that you are going on a “diet” implies you will come off said diet when you get to a certain point or get plain frustrated because it doesn’t end up working out the way you wanted. This is a BILLION dollar industry–you don’t need a self-help book or other nonsense to do what you already know you need to do! How many people do you know PERSONALLY who went on “X” diet and still promote it or follow it? They don’t, because dieting doesn’t work for life.
- COMMIT. Probably the hardest concept of this whole process. You have to be committed for LIFE for this to work. Why wouldn’t you want to be? Is it really worth it to waste time only giving 50% and getting 50% results? Think about your family. If you have a spouse, think about them. Kids too. As a parent/spouse, do you give 50% effort into being the best parent/spouse you can be? I certainly hope not. You give more of yourself to them than you do to anything else! Just think how much MORE you can give them if you decided to put your health first and not just because you wanted to look good for Cancun this summer? Don’t shortchange yourself–there will be obstacles, the devil will try anything to get you to quit, and you will lose motivation and drive. Don’t quit.
There are an infinite number of other tidbits I could throw at you, but honestly if you master these basics you will be where I’m at right now. Seriously.
This is it. We are on the precipice of something huge, but only YOU can fulfill your purpose. Your success has everything to do with what you do, and nothing to do with any diet, workout plan, trainer, or self-proclaimed guru. No more hocus-pocus. No more finger-pointing. It’s time to put up or shut up.
“But thank God, though you were once slaves of sin, you have become obedient with all your heart to the standard of teaching in which you were instructed and to which you were committed.” Romans 6: 17