I’m not quite sure how or when our efforts to lose weight became an all or nothing approach but it seems we have taught ourselves overtime to think if we’re not all in and giving it 100% every day then we have failed. Which typically leads to thinking “what’s the point” and give up. We could be on the top of our game, exercising every day, eating healthy all week and then we have one slice of unplanned pizza Friday night and it’s all over- might as well throw in the towel because you’ve broken your healthy streak. Eating healthy and sticking to your exercise plan 100% of the time is not only unrealistic but also unnecessary.
I see almost all my clients start off with this mindset. They come to me all excited and ready to jump in not 100% sure about what to expect. And sometimes even a little scared that life as they know it is now over. Good bye fun yummy food and hello celery stick (am I right?!). The inevitable “my diet starts tomorrow” dooms day.
Well I’m here to tell you to cut it out! Stop putting so much pressure on yourself to get it all perfect right out of the gates. We are busy people in a hectic world- start with some baby steps for goodness sake!
Not to use a corny analogy but this is a marathon, not a sprint. You wouldn’t get up off your couch after not running a single mile in years to clocking in 32.5 miles, would you? Our diet industry has led us to believe that “dieting” or losing weight must be an all or nothing, restrictive eating, endless hours in the gym type of approach or you won’t get results. I’m here to tell you to stop listening to the very expensive marketing these companies put out. The most successful client’s I’ve had are one that have ditched this all or nothing mentality, took the pressure off themselves and starting changing one or two small things at a time.
Start with one small focus and make it an easy one. Like breakfast. Most of us are motivated in the morning and can make healthy choices – much easier than say during that afternoon sweet tooth slump or evening snacking habit. Start with something you know you can do. If you don’t eat a breakfast or usually grab something unhealthy, unplanned and on the go this is a great first step. For the first week or so just focus on eating a healthy breakfast. Don’t have time to cook up a few eggs and cut some fresh fruit? Grab a protein bar and a banana out the door or from the nearest convenience store. Here are a couple easy ideas:
Greek yogurt + fresh blueberries
2 scrambled eggs with spinach
Whole wheat English muffin with nut butter and ½ sliced banana
Protein shake with almond milk, green apple & frozen kale
Kashi granola bar or protein bar and banana
2 hardboiled eggs with slices avocado
Week 2 pick another small goal to build on top of the first one. Perhaps it’s focusing on hydration. What are you drink? (don’t even worry about addressing alcohol yet). Sugary coffee? Lattes? Soda? Diet soda? Juice? Swap it all out for water. At least 64 oz. / day no soda, no DIET soda, no sugary beverages. Enjoy a vanilla chai latte? Limit it to 1 per week- maybe a Friday end of week treat to start your morning. Get a water bottle and fill it up though out the day, you should always have a water nearby. Have a hard time remembering? Put reminders on your phone to go off every 1-2 hours. Keep a sticky note by your desk and make a tally mark after each finished water bottle until you get to your goal- this one sounds SO simple but it works! Try it! Wake up, chug a glass of water before having your coffee. Chug a glass of water before every meal and snack. Getting a food craving? Chug a glass of water first and see if you still want that food after.
Week 3- now you have breakfast down, drinking water is becoming easier, chances are your confidence is growing and your motivation is beginnings to get stronger. Usually after the first couple small changes, other areas start to get healthier as well. Making 1-2 healthy changes starts a domino effect in the right direction. Week 3 might be the right time to address something more challenging. Perhaps it’s time to get back into an exercise routine or pull back on the social drinking, cook some new healthy dinner recipes you’ve been wanting to try, give meal prepping on Sundays a try for lunches for the week.
If you continue this path of tacking on small, achievable healthy changes each week, in a few months you’ll have crafted a whole healthy lifestyle without running into too much challenge. To address everything at once is just too difficult and unrealistic. Start small and be consistent. If you get through a week and didn’t achieve the new small goal you set for yourself, repeat the small goal until you get it right. Get to a point where you are confident and consistent with the single small change before adding another new one. Keep this strategy up and I promise you in a few months you’ll be looking back amazed at how far you’ve come without much challenge.
So there you have it, the third tip that is PROVEN to help you lose weight and actually has nothing to do with a specific meal plan, magic supplement or following the latest fad diet.
1. TRACK YOUR FOOD.
2. WEIGH YOURSELF EVERY DAY.
3. DITCH THE ALL OR NOTHING MENTALITY!
...still more to come, stay tuned!