I decided to write this post because of a conversation that I had with a good friend last week. She said she wasn't ready to join my 60-day challenge, because she didn't want to give up the stuff she loves: her Turkey Hill low-fat ice cream (which she eats every day in the summer) and mojitos. She also said, "I thought it was a diet and I don't want to be on a diet right now". Uh oh...the dreaded D-word. When I heard that, my hackles went up and I got my panties in a bunch (not literally, of course). I don't think she expected the verbal assault that ensued, but I couldn't hold it in. I wasn't offended at all about her not wanting to join the challenge; instead my mini-rant was about her referring to it as a diet (which I specifically said that it wasn't) AND about the fact that she's open to being on a diet, just not right now. After 10 minutes of continuous ranting, I finally simmered down and realized that this way of thinking is normal...I actually used to think this way myself. To change your body, you must change your thinking
In my twenties and early thirties, I was part dieting master, part dieting disaster. I tried every diet available to me…Atkins, South Beach, Weight Watchers. I was also a frequent member of the “eat like a bird, exercise like a beast” club. The combination of excluding entire food groups, counting calories and working out for hours on end was NOT sustainable and only added to my frustration. Once I changed the way I thought about food (food is fuel, not just comfort or entertainment), it became easier to change the way I ate. I didn’t separate food into "the good" and "the bad"; I wasn’t on a diet or off of a diet, I was just eating to live and LOVING it! My new lifestyle of consistent clean eating and exercise allows me to enjoy any food in moderation. More importantly, I’ve been able to put the brakes on the frustration and to be free of the “all in, all out syndrome”.
Women are so accustomed to being on a diet (all in) or being off of a diet (all out). This crazy thinking is what contributes to a life of yo-yo dieting, major highs and lows in your weight, energy and overall well-being. It's the little voice inside us that says "I don't need to eat healthy unless I'm on a diet. And if I'm not on diet, then I'm going balls out with my food choices." Restricting your food choices to things you think are “good” and completely cutting out the “bad” sounds like a good idea, and it even works for a little while, but we’ve all had experiences where it rapidly goes downhill. The more restrictive your food choices, the quicker the demise.
Too much “all in” usually leads to a lengthy “all out” period where you’ll eat anything that isn’t nailed down and the only form of exercise you get is digging into a bag of chips and cracking open a can of Diet Coke to wash it down with. Ladies, it doesn’t have to be this way!
You got a problem? I have a solution!
My friends and family just LOVE to give me a list of legitimate reasons (at least that’s what they think) of why they can’t/won’t start clean eating and working out. Trust me, I get it…it can be a bit overwhelming at first to think of a major overhaul in the way you eat and exercise. So, DON’T think of it as a major overhaul...problem solved; now what?
- “I can’t eat 5 to 6 healthy meals a day!!” Ok, slow down! Make gradual changes; you’re more likely to stick with them. Don’t become overwhelmed with the thought of making massive changes at once. For example, start off by switching out your morning bagel and cream cheese with a delicious, healthy breakfast of lean protein (ex: Greek yogurt, egg whites), whole grains (ex: oats, Ezekiel bread) and fruit (ex: berries, banana). Try this every day for a week and see how you feel. You got fat one bite at a time…so get un-fat the same way.
- “I don’t want to give up my (insert favorite junk food here)!” Who said you have to?? Whether alcohol, cupcakes or French fries is your "thing", there’s no need to wave “bye-bye” to it forever. One of the biggest predictors of success with clean eating is balance. An occasional glass of wine or piece of cake will not completely derail your fitness goals. Once you start eating clean consistently, your cravings for your former faves will start to diminish and the only time you'll want to enjoy them is in moderation. I promise you.
- “What if I get off track? I’ll feel like a failure”. First, you’re not a failure, Second, it’s ok to get off track. Does everything in your life go according to plan?? If you answered "yes", then you're a freakin' rock star and you don't need help with anything. But if you're a regular person, you know that things in life don’t always go according to plan. If you’re doing what I suggested in the first 2 tips (taking one step at a time and finding your balance), everything will be fine. Again, I promise you.
ACTION: Be honest. Where are you right now..."all in" or "all out"? If you answered yes to either one, come on over to my Facebook page and tell us the first step you're going to take to find your balance!