This past week I was working with a client that has been with me for awhile. She works very hard when she’s with me, but once she’s on her own, suddenly all the good intentions and goals she sets for the week take a back seat to her busy life.
There are commonly two reasons people can’t seem to get started with a consistent program, they include: Setting goals that are too high or believing that the work involved to achieve their goals is insurmountable. Either way, it makes moving forward and actually succeeding nearly impossible.
The clients that are most successful are the one’s that have no expectations, they just know they have to do something. If they don’t, they know their future will include a life filled with meds and doctor visits, neither of which sounds appealing.
Since I know this is common with many people, following are some suggestions to think about if you continue to struggle with consistency. Remember, a healthy lifestyle isn’t about perfection it’s about making good choices for your health MOST of the time. Remember my 80/20 rule, if 80% of the time you are active and eat well, 20% is life, i.e. celebrations, vacations, etc.
1. Never go into any life changes with an all or nothing attitude. If you believe you can NEVER have a piece of chocolate or pie or whatever, when you ultimately give in (and you will) you’ll feel you have failed. The problem is that those “treats” have become everyday foods for us. If we treat them as something that is a “once in awhile” thing, it becomes less about deprivation and more about moderation.
2. If you decide to change your lifestyle for weight, it will be short lived. When the focus is just weight loss, people make choices based on numbers and not health. Think about it, life becomes about the number of calories versus the quality of food you’re eating. I have had clients that did the “point” system and invariably skipped breakfast, ate a Snickers Bar for lunch so they could go out at night and stay within their “points.” That’s so not about health, it’s all about the numbers. If you really want to be healthy, you will gradually make appropriate changes and the weight will adjust accordingly.
3. Let perfection go! Unfortunately, our world has evolved in to this expectation that all women should be tall and thin and all men should be sporting a Patrick Dempsey beard and a 6-pack. Given that description hits 2% of the population, where does that leave everyone else? Feeling like a loser. How wrong is it that we’ve created a society where perfection has become an expectation? And what’s worse, if perfection is not achieved, you feel like a failure…..again. I encourage you to embrace the best of you, there is plenty and let the perfection thing go. If you continue to focus on a certain size or a certain weight, it will never be good enough. Don’t let the power of the media dictate your worth.
4. Be Realistic. Here’s the deal, the reason why so many people are overweight is because they eat more and move less. It’s really that basic. The last 20 years our portion sizes have dramatically increased while our activity levels have dramatically decreased. That equation will add up to an unhealthy weight and an unhealthy body, not good. Instead of looking to diets as your “ticket to thin” look at modifying your lifestyle as your “ticket to health.”
I am of the belief that it is due to the proliferation of diets that we have become such a weight obsessed society. I swear, I really believe that if diets never existed, we wouldn’t have the obesity issues we have today. If tomorrow, we removed the words, diet and weight loss from our vocabulary, the world would change.
Instead of allowing charlatans to push their “magic” weight loss pills, we need our society to celebrate and value health, period, end of statement. If people said, “Wow, I really need to get my health in check”, that is totally doable. Losing 40 pounds or becoming a size 2 isn’t always so doable based on genetics and age. Consequently, it becomes an obsession that spirals out of control.
Health you can change, within weeks you can affect your health positively simply by eating well, and moving more. That’s it. So, I ask that this week you try to get the weight loss, diet thoughts out of your head and out of your vocabulary for one week. The latter will be much easier than the former, however, give it a go. Don’t talk about diets, don’t talk about how much weight you have to lose, nothing negative. Instead, this week try to make choices based on how it will affect your health, not your weight. You will immediately start feeling better as you will naturally make better choices. It’s not about the weight my friends it’s about your health. That’s my focus, see if you can make it yours!