Do you find yourself coming up with a slew of excuses to start a healthy routine? When faced with a treat, do you tell yourself it's BAD? Do you put off or skip workouts because you don't have enough time or energy to make it as productive as you feel like you need?
We all struggle with not just starting but maintaining a healthy lifestyle. But what if I told you the key to staying consistent and being successful is actually quite simple?
Last night I knew I wanted to get a workout in. But I didn't have much energy. I thought - well, if I can't really hit it hard, I'll just skip it and get it in tomorrow. But then I thought, "you know what? A core workout would really help my back feel better and some arms and glutes will help with the toning I feel like I need these days and I can do that! Maybe I won't burn all the calories I need to lose weight today, but I'll be doing something great for my body" - and it's time spent not Netflix and chilling with some snacks I don't need which, let's be honest, is where I was headed.
So I did it and it was simple and easy and quick and I feel great.
Let's begin by getting mental!
The key is to start with your BRAIN!
Every time you find yourself thinking "what choice will help me lose weight/not get fatter?"
Think instead, "what is the choice I could make right now that will make me FEEL good and be a healthy choice for my body?"
That's not to say that your weight loss goals are not important or you need to stop caring about how you look. BUT, what if you re-structured your thoughts about your choices to focus on your health vs. what will help you lose weight?
I firmly believe this is the KEY to your weight loss struggles. Your focus is off. Looking great is an awesome goal! But to get there, choose a healthy path. Not only will the weight loss stick but it will come off easily and consistently and you will feel great (physically AND mentally) throughout the process! No more punishing or calling certain foods bad. If you go off track, no biggie! One donut will not halt a diet! But following it up with a trip to In n Out, some nextflix and chilling and a bottle of wine, might.
Take Donut Saturday, for example (it's a thing in our house!):
When you focus on weight loss and "fat," it is easy to say "well, that donut (or 3!) already sabotaged any weight-loss for today so unless I run for 10 miles, it's not worth even trying to get in a workout. And, since I'm already staying fat today, I may as well grab that In and Out burger I've been craving.
"Diet starts tomorrow!" Sound familiar?
Maybe the next day you skip breakfast, drag yourself to the gym and hit the treadmill for 90 minutes to get rid of yesterday's indulgences. Then you feel horrible and tell yourself "I'm a grown up, I can do what I want. I don't need to live this way!" And it all starts over.
You won't lose weight that way.
You won't be healthy that way.
And you definitely won't feel good that way.
This is not sustainable and there is always an easy out and a reason to halt your progress when you focus on the path to skinny.
It's easy to choose to start over "tomorrow" when it seems like the healthy choices are too small to impact your weight.
That's where you have it all wrong. It's the consistency that is key. The consistent small choices and the inner pride you take in making a "good" choice over derailing your efforts. And constantly feeling like you've let yourself down by letting impulsive choices ruin a day or a week can keep you from trying.
So now let's think about the choice we might make if we shift to focusing on what is the healthy choice:
It's donut Saturday and you've just had a piece of a cronut. And before you know it, you've- piece by piece - plowed through the whole thing. And a chocolate old fashioned as well (too specific? I might be speaking from experience). So what do we do with the rest of our day?
You make the healthy choices regardless of what you did an hour ago.
Choose what is good for your body even if your last choice was choosing to indulge. The consistency will get you to your goals.
Grab a healthy lunch because it will feel good for your body (and mind!) after a morning of donuts. Get in that quick workout that you planned even if it doesn't burn the 3,000 calories you ate this morning. You will be moving and stretching and getting stronger and that is HUGE progress for your health even if it doesn't burn all the calories you need.
Now you feel proud and motivated that you made healthy choices and you'll be much more likely to choose the healthy option next time.
So what have we learned?
Unhealthy foods shouldn't need punishments.
When you indulge (even unplanned) you can always hop right back on track and after a morning of donut Saturday, you are still on course and headed toward not only a healthier body (medically speaking), but closer to that weight loss goal and ready to keep going on Sunday and Monday and every day after that.
It actually is ALL about the small choices and the little actions to take toward a healthy lifestyle. The big stuff like hitting the gym and counting calories can only happen when it feels good to you.
Start small and remember that no foods are BAD. No choices are BAD. But there are good choices! And you have plenty of opportunities every day to make some. So get out and do it!
Live healthy AND be Happy!
Let me know how you feel after a week of "healthy" choices vs. "I want to lose weight" choices! I want to hear from you!