This simple saying applies to so many areas of our lives. So often, we deprive ourselves of things that are truly attainable because we are so caught up in how to possibly complete the steps in getting there. Rather than creating a plan, we give up. If it won’t be fast enough, we quit. Maybe it’s our inability to focus. Maybe it’s our fear of failure. One thing is certain and it is that you won’t know until you try.
If you can’t find a way, you’ll find an excuse. That’s the easy way out and although all of these words can be put towards different aspects in life, this is a blog about health and fitness. If you struggle with a healthy lifestyle or taking care of your body, my advice to you is to start over. Forget everything you think you know. What hasn’t worked for you in the past won’t work for you in the future, unless you have a massive mindset change. I honestly think that a healthful change is 70% mindset and 30% physical work. (Yes, in case you didn’t know I am apparently a statistician. Laugh here.) But think about it. Mind over matter. If you can make the conscious decision to control your eating lifestyle, your day to day decisions regarding what you fuel your body with, and actually know the benefits vs. hindrances in what you consume, you’re well over half way there.
Today’s blog involves mindset.
The first step, a crucial step, is being honest with yourself. Stop telling yourself lies as to why you can’t lose weight. If you avoid this step, you are guaranteed to fail because you have no basis for the change your body needs. Evaluate the foods you eat on a daily basis. Even better, notice the beverages you consume! On a given day, half the people in the U.S. consume sugary drinks; 1 in 4 get at least 200 calories from such drinks; and 5% get at least 567 calories. That’s equivalent to 4 cans of soda. Have you read your iced tea or lemonade labels? Sometimes they are even worse than soda. If there’s one thing marketers know, it’s how to appeal to your senses and food can be an addiction, just like cigarettes. Bad foods and drinks fuel the cravings for more bad foods and drinks. It’s a vicious cycle and if you don’t identify what your vices are, it will never stop.
Three Steps to Honesty
- Open your pantry and refrigerator. Make a list of the foods you consider fuel (healthy and beneficial), foods you consider to be a leisurely snack, and foods your consider dessert. Is your list balanced? Or are there more bad foods than good? And just to be clear, a food that does not supply vitamins or valuable nutrition is a bad food. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have any, but they certainly should never outweigh your healthful foods. If they do, you need to purge. You have already set yourself up for failure and entrapped yourself in your old lifestyle. Change requires sacrifice and trust me, shortly from now, you won’t mind that those foods aren’t there.
- Take notice of what drinks you prefer. Are there lots of sugary teas or lemonades or do you prefer sodas? And I hope by now you have taken a stand against diet sodas, as doctors are finding more and more links to cancers. What does your creamer for your coffee look like? If it’s one of the flavored creams that weighs in at a whopping 70 calories per TBS, please take a moment and think about how long you will have to exercise to work that off. Is it worth it?
- Realize that all of these negative foods and beverages are an addiction. In no way do they supply you with a better quality of life. It’s quite the opposite, really. They cause mood swings, drops in blood sugar, chemical imbalances, and above all, interfere with the way your body is designed to operate. The most important step in taking charge of your health is not living in denial about what you are consuming. What you take in your body has a direct impact on how you behave and the shape of your body, both inside and out.
My greatest help when I was trying to lose baby weight was counting calories. These days, smart phones make it so easy. Even when I’m bad, I always check with “My Fitness Pal” on my smart phone and I can decide how bad I really want to be. It makes it so convenient to evaluate your choices, especially when you are not at home. Of course, I’m a huge advocate in planning your meals (read here), and setting yourself up for success (read here,) but being able to know what you are consuming is huge. Weight watchers is so successful because it’s main objective is not depriving yourself of the foods you love (even though you should sometimes,) but finding a balance and considering those foods a reward. A reward is something you receive from an effort you put forth. It is not a daily occurrence. Be accountable to yourself by weighing your options and considering the pros and cons of what you inhale before you do so. If this isn’t a naturally easy thing for you, download the “My Fitness Pal” app on your phone or computer and check out the stats of your food, as well as the breakdown of nutritional values.
- Consume foods that are as close to their natural state as possible. Avoid processing and ingredients you can’t pronounce. If you can’t say it easily, DO NOT put it in your body.
- Keep a daily log of the foods AND drinks you consume. Notice the amounts of sugars you consume. Check out the levels of proteins versus carbs. Pay attention to the fats, both good and bad. When you have physical evidence of what you are fueling your body with, it can be somewhat shocking. However, self pity will be replaced with guilt because you will realize that you are responsible for your own outcome. And hopefully guilt will spur change, and change will create results.
- Keep a journal of your journey. It could be as simple as writing what you ate and how you felt immediately after you ate it. Was it guilt? Was it energized? Was it worth it? Could you have chosen something else? Maybe this has always worked for me because I am a visual learner, but I bet if you held yourself accountable and kept record of the foods you eat, the way they made you feel, your overall mood in a day, or even moods throughout a given day, my bet is that you could directly correlate those emotions and your behavior with your food and drink consumption.
Change is never easy. It’s frightening and challenging and filled with doubt. My advice to you is to clear your mind of all the lies you’ve told yourself until today. Despite the hundreds of times a baby falls,he always learns to walk. No one has to teach a baby determination. It’s instilled from the moment he is born. He knows that he wants to walk. Sometimes it just takes baby steps.