The pressure to be everything to everyone and look good while doing it was suffocating.
I felt like I always had to have weight loss goals, goals to get leaner, stronger. There was never a time I could enjoy or love my body as it was. It never seemed good enough even at my leanest or my lightest.
If only someone would have told me sooner..
You can love your bodies as it is.There is magic in learning to enjoy what your body can do NOW without waiting on the scale or the six pack to come through. It’s ok if you are happy ‘being’ who you are.
Society makes it seem so normal to always have a health and fitness goal to be working on. Often, this leads us to feeling external pressure to add one more thing to an already full plate.
Rejecting society’s message to fix yourself
With this messaging we forget it’s ok to be at peace with our bodies. There doesn’t have to be a struggle between taking care of yourself and doing all the other things you love to do. Living a healthy lifestyle should feel as natural as an unhealthy lifestyle. But that is not the message we get bombarded with.
As I started to grow restless with the never-ending pursuit of building the perfect body, doubts swirled in my mind. Was something wrong with me if I’m content with where my body is in spite of the fact it’s softer and bigger than it used to be?
Had I given up on myself because I wasn’t trying to lose weight or fat? Would I stop caring about myself?
So many false beliefs fill our heads when it comes to health and weight loss. It’s not your fault though. These are the same messages we get from health experts, fitness gurus, and even our medical doctors.
When I realized even at my lightest weight or my leanest I still wasn’t happy, something had to change. The truth that being more fit didn’t make me a better wife or mom was a blow, and I was exhausted from trying to micro manage every bite I ate.
I started to question everything. So if it wasn’t about my weight, my body, or having/not having a goal, what was it about then? Could I be confident and content and present even if I let my foot off the gas a bit in my fitness area?
Ditch the dieting mindset
It’s the dieting mindset makes you feel like:
You’ve always got to be working on a goal.
Fixing yourself in some way to fit the ideal body is normal.
Somehow you’re not as good of a person if you’re not 100% committed to your fitness.
There’s a false belief that you should look like the fit ideal body no matter the cost. For most women, it’s literally killing them to reach this ideal of ‘healthy’ or ‘fit’. We’re told If you cave to society’s idea about what your body should look like, you’ll be golden. NOT true.
The further into the fitness world I got, the more black and white things seemed to be.
I lost sight of the fact I started working out and eating healthier to add value to my life. Not take it away.
Create a healthy lifestyle with ease
With a busy schedule like mine, I decided to do a little experiment. Instead of doing the nutrition thing and the fitness thing full out, I’d do the bare minimum and see how I felt.
I wondered how I would feel if I did the shortest workouts and stopped tracking my food. This was scary and totally opposite to the way I’d been living for several years.
Would I lose strength? Would I gain a bunch of weight? Would I stop working out all together?
Here’s what I did…
Step one: decide on your minimum baseline. What things would I do everyday? And what would I stop doing? For sure I was done feeling guilty or like I should be doing more (this one topped the list).
I felt anxious about throwing out the beliefs I had about how my body should look.
I found myself body checking to see if I was still ‘good enough’, because I equated being lean with being worthy. Old diet minded thoughts would come back about my body. But I had to keep going. I had to remember I didn’t exactly feel better about myself even in my leanest body.
Worth the struggle
In letting my nutrition and fitness go a little, I realized I had more energy and time to go after bigger goals.
There was more time to be present with my kids and my husband.
I could enjoy life’s daily experiences more without being so self-conscious.
That seems counter-intuitive, I know. One thing people neglect to mention about living in the ‘fit ideal’ body, is there is a ton of pressure to maintain. Heaven forbid you gain weight or get softer in any way.
The pivotal moment for me was when I realized that I was still loved, I was still a successful lifestyle coach, and I could still be a good wife and mom even if I was overweight. Most importantly, I was happier.
Even if I was doing the least possible in my workouts, I was still strong, still taking care of myself, and still as good of a person as before. Only now, with more energy, time, and freedom to enjoy this one, wild and precious life.
You’re not a failure if you decide you want to rewrite your story with your body. You’re brave.
With love and belief,
PS. There are a couple of steps I need you to take if you’re serious about ditching the diet mindset.
1) You can grab your free guide below. True transformation happens from the mind, and this guide is full of tools to help you ditch the diet mindset for good.
2) Schedule a free consult if you want to learn more about what working with a lifestyle coach can do for you.
Health at every size. Is that really a thing? I will be the first to admit I was skeptical about HAES because I (like so many women) had a very narrow image of what healthy looked like.
I thought health looked lean, strong, and thin. I thought that being obese was a disease.
And that if you’re overweight you’re also unhealthy.
Moment of truth, I’ve spent most of my life in the overweight borderline obese category.
Not because I’ve been unhealthy, but because I’m short relative to my weight. So why it was so hard for me to grasp the concept of HAES baffles me.
The BMI, which our health seems to be determined by doesn’t take into account your lifestyle choices, your gender, or your lean mass. Both the medical community and the fitness industry seem to have forgotten is that your weight and your height don’t tell you anything else about the person or they lifestyle choices.
The terms overweight and obese used to wreck me. We’re taught that being either of those things is not beautiful, it’s not worthy, it means you’re lazy, and you don’t care about yourself.
The aha moment for me, and the moment those terms seemed to lose their power was when realized they were nothing more than arbitrary numbers.
You can be healthy no matter what the BMI says about you, and you can be healthy even if you don’t look like society’s narrow minded view. Your health isn’t determined by what you look like, but rather the habits, behaviors, and the lifestyle you choose.
Your happiness and fulfillment does not hang on what you look like. It’s time we stop believing it does.
Where many who follow HAES miss the mark..
When I first started researching the health at every size movement, I was shocked to see some of the information out there.
The messaging of some who follow HAES and its closely related Intuitive Eating spew about all discipline and self-control being bad is crazy. In fact, in the book Healthy at Every Size, the author Linda Bacon, PhD never says anything of the sort. She does warn against the dangers of continuing to believe dieting will work for you.
She also emphasized the importance of eating whole foods as much as possible, moving your body in a way that brings joy, and being intentional about the food choices you’re making. Which to some degree will require both self-control and discipline. Especially if you know certain foods don’t nourish you, but you still crave them.
Other harmful messages I’ve seen HAES leading ladies sharing is there are no such things as healthy or unhealthy foods, and essentially all foods are health producing. Again, I did not find this to be the message in the Health at Every Size nor to be true from a true health standpoint as a certified nutrition coach or my years of study in exercise and sport science.
I’ve even seen some supporters of the HAES movement encourage their followers to disregard healthy habits or behaviors. calling them restrictive or diet-y. Huh?
Again, not the message I’ve seen from Linda Bacon or from the creators of the intuitive eating movement.
This is your superpower..
I am not one to believe we will be most happy or at peace if we just give into every whim and go for instant gratification. In fact, it’s been those times in my life where I end up being the least happy or at peace.
Just to be clear, I don’t think you can eat whatever you want, whenever you want, and however much you want without having to also make peace and accept the consequences of those actions. You wouldn’t act this way in any other area of your life, like your finances or in your marriage. So why would it be ok to act that way towards food?
I do think you are responsible for making mindful and the best choices in the moment when it comes to food. And sometimes it’s mindfully eating a slice of chocolate cake and enjoying it. Other times it might be skipping the cake and going for a walk instead.
Your superpower lies in making mindful and informed decisions. Once you realize this, you can step into the role of expert of your life with confidence.
No doubt, discipline used as punishment or as a measure of your worth is harmful. As is wearing it like a badge of honor or using it to judge yourself or others.
However, discipline and self-control used with compassion, grace, and love is powerful. Learn to harness that power, you will make the best decisions for yourself.
It’s ok to be scared
Of course, leaning into the idea of health at every size is a little scary. If you’re anything like me, you might be wondering if you will be able to love yourself at any size. The decision to reject society’s idea of what your healthy body *should* look like is filled with doubt and anxiety.
The fear of judgement or rejection based on what your body looks like is also a very real fear. Will your friends, family, and co-workers think you’ve ‘let yourself go’ ?
My solution to these fears was to get crystal clear on my own definition of success, and my own healthy body. I believe that solution will work for you too.
We have a tendency to categorize everything as black and white. Good or bad. it seems when it comes to what a healthy lifestyle looks like, it is no different.
On the one hand you have people who have taken the HAES idea and have gone to the extreme of giving the middle finger to any sort of structure or discipline. While on the other hand you have diet culture supporting the idea that health looks a certain way.
Often we are uncomfortable in our ability to navigate and manage the gray area between the two sides, so we end up swinging from one end of the pendulum to the other.
Surely, it’s easier to just go from hardcore rules and restriction to binge eating on the weekends. It takes more work upfront to figure out how to listen to our bodies, how to care for them inside and out, and how to handle being uncomfortable.
Is health at every size for you?
Like many women, I was doing all the “healthy things” and my body was revolting against me. For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out why all of a sudden I wasn’t losing weight or getting the results I once had.
Old disordered eating behaviors like food obsession started coming back. Monday through Friday I tried my hardest to be good on my diet, but the weekends were a pass for me. Saturday and Sunday were my days to eat without abandon and just start the diet back up on Monday.
I felt softer and fatter than ever.
Tired of trying so hard without anything to show for it, I knew it was time for a change, whatever that looked like.
You shouldn’t feel defeated because you’re not losing weight.
Almost as if a light bulb went off, it hit me. I’d been dieting again. This time though, it was more subtle and still looked healthy for the most part. This realization sparked questions in my head:
Could you be healthy and not look like it? Is it possible to do the same things (exercise, monitor food choices) and still get different results? Does the diet mindset exist?
I decided to suspend my idea about what healthy looked like for a moment. My focus shifted to effort and the consistency of behaviors over outcomes. Instead of tracking pounds lost, I celebrated the way I felt in my body.
This one mindset shift changed everything. At the end of the day, we can’t control whether our body will lose weight or not. Wee can control our effort, our attitude, and our outlook though. So why not focus on those things instead?
The thing that’s been the most surprising I’ve found is I’m as happy now as I ever was when I was 9% body fat. I may even be happier. It’s easier to be more engaged in life. Meal time is more enjoyable too.
Without the pressure of constantly micro-managing calories eaten and calories burned, I’m able to be more present when we sit down to eat as a family. And choosing what to eat has even become easier.
Living a healthy lifestyle should be easy
Food is not meant to be a sin or punishment. Exercise shouldn’t be a way to purge yourself from an evening of indulgent eating.
As a culture we’ve lost sight of that. We’ve normalized the idea that living a healthy lifestyle is either only for the select few who happen to be disciplined enough to follow a diet or should feel tough all the time.
I believe there is a happy medium, and it’s up to you to find it for yourself. The good news is you won’t have to do that by yourself. I’ve opened up a few spots in my program, and would love to see if it is the right fit for you. Click here to schedule your FREE consult.
I can’t wait to see what you can accomplish when you step into your purpose in the healthy body you’re meant to have.
Are you still believing that if you were at your goal weight or living in your dream body, you’d be happy?
I thought having the ideal body would make me happy too. Of course I’d be more fulfilled no doubt. More confident, and successful too. That’s what they say, isn’t it? Everywhere we look. these messages are either subtly or not-so-subtly displayed for all women to see.
In reality the closer I got to this ideal lean body the more obsessed, self conscious, and unhappy I got. Funny, how no one seems to mention this side of weight loss.
If I wasn’t trying to ‘get’ the ideal body, I was anxious about keeping it. There never seemed to be the place of enjoying my body and all it could do.
Two things you should know now:
Your size and shape will not determine your happiness despite what society tells you.
And you won’t feel more confident once you’re in your ideal body or at your ideal weight.
In fact, there will never be a goal that once it’s reached will give you these feelings.
Can you be happy without waiting on weight?
What would you think if I told you you can cultivate those feelings NOW? Before you even get close to those goals you can start to feel the way about yourself you want. It sounds crazy, I know.
Change the thoughts you have, and the meaning you’re assigning to your weight, size, cellulite, or anything else you want to ‘fix’ about yourself you can start to feel different too.
One of the big things I think we miss, is the idea we are responsible for the meaning we attach to our circumstances. And in this example, the meaning we’ve attached to being leaner, smaller, or more toned is that we will be happier.
It’s ok if you don’t think you can…
I bought the lie that to be happier I had to be leaner and smaller because as I did start to lose weight, there was pressure from others to keep going. The more weight I lost, the more people praised me or made comments about how good I looked.
This was especially true when I was 111 lbs and breastfeeding or when I was 11% body fat and super lean.
I felt I had to keep going even if I was miserable inside; it almost ruined my marriage; and if the way I was treating my body resembled an eating disorder.
i didn’t want to lose this new found affection from others, so I held on as long as I could. Like many women, I associated being fat with being unloveable or disgusting.
What would others think?
In my mind, I had to maintain this picture perfect image of the fit ideal to be a successful fitness coach. And by successful I mean lean and thin.
My fear of going back to being chubby or losing clients forced me to disordered eating behaviors. I began obsessing over food again (just like when I was a competitive figure athlete). Bingeing and restricting became the norm once again.. I shrugged all of this off for a while justifying I was just living a “balanced” lifestyle.
Anxiety about keeping a perfect body resurfaced, and I found myself body checking in almost every mirror I walked by.
There was never a time I could enjoy life. Even when on vacay, I felt stress. I’d ‘let’ myself eat whatever I wanted, but knew it would be back on the wagon when we got home. Usually more strict than before so I could get my body back.
The tipping point for me was when I realized…
I couldn’t live the rest of my life counting calories eaten or burned or that I wasn’t actually happier in a smaller body.
The interesting thing, is I felt as if I was trapped in my body all over again, just in a smaller, more socially acceptable body.
Would you be shocked to know we weren’t meant to all be the same size or weight any more than we should all have the same eye color or hair color? This is hard for many women to believe because we hang our ability to be happy on what our body looks like.
we weren’t meant to all be the same size or weight any more than we should all have the same eye color or hair color?
I ditched prescribed meal plans and diets, and decided to try something new instead. This was the first time I’d ever really given thoughts to my behaviors, beliefs, and habits around food.
Since following a strict or even a “flexible” diet wasn’t working, I decided to do the opposite and ditch all the rules I had about food at that point. Instead of counting anything, cutting out or limiting certain foods, I’d let my body guide me.
Instead of following food rules, I’d start creating habits. This was an entirely new way to approach food for me.
Would this actually work for me?
Habits are brilliant because you don’t have to think about what you’re doing. This makes it simpler and easier to make healthier choices because you don’t have to think. Of course, habits can work for or against you. And they do take some time to develop or change.
However, by removing food rules I was less likely to binge on the weekends because I knew I could eat whatever I wanted. Suddenly all of the forbidden foods lost their power over me.
Having to unlearn all sorts of unhealthy and unhelpful behaviors took time. The thoughts, beliefs about food, exercise, and what my body should look like had to be undone. I’m still learning, and that’s ok.
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned, is life is always a practice. It’s not fixed, but more fluid. One slip up or failure doesn’t define us. And one success or win doesn’t get us off the hook of having to do the work.
There’s a false belief that healthy should feel hard. It’s a shame because it keeps so many women stuck in the diet mindset. This idea is toxic, and sadly one we have accepted as normal.
Living a healthy lifestyle should be as easy as an unhealthy one. It takes time to get to this place, but it’s where freedom exists.
Though I may be a bit fluffier than before, I’m the most at peace in my skin I’ve ever been.
I’m way less self-conscious. Thoughts or feelings of insecurity because of my body don’t swirl in my head any longer. That’s not to say there aren’t times those negative thoughts try to come back. I’m just more prepared and equipped to handle the lies because I know the truth, and I know how much sweeter it is on the other side.
Can I let you in on a secret? I’m the same weight as when I started my fitness journey over 12 years ago. Oddly though, it feels as if everything has changed…from the inside out.
PS. I know this probably sounds a little woo woo or too good to be true. Truthfully, I never thought I could be happy without losing weight either. I thought the other women I saw talking about this had just given up and “accepted” their bodies as if it were a negative thing. If that’s you too, I want you to click here, so we can have a chat.
You deserve to be as happy and as fulfilled right now. What are you waiting for?
This is embarrassing to admit, but it’s taken me almost 30 years to figure out how to eat. I mean, I knew the mechanics. You load the utensil with food and then deliver it to your mouth. But the other kind of ‘how’ to eat. Like what, when, and how much. Last year was the year I decided to be done with dieting for good, and would own my relationship with food. Both the good and the bad.
Until about a year ago, I thought I needed someone else to tell me how to eat. It seemed like being my own expert on my own body was far fetched. Doubts and fears filled my head.. I wondered if I could I trust myself to take care of me?
We’ve been taught to trust others for the answers when it comes to our bodies. In seeking out the answers from others, we’ve forgotten how to tune into ourselves and make decisions around food and exercise.
This might seem like a stretch, but you don’t have to accept cultural beliefs about what is beautiful or healthy.
We get stuck because in our culture disordered eating seems normal, even healthy. There is nothing normal though about being obsessed with food, exercise, or the way our body looks.
Despite what you think, It won’t will lead to bingeing or being a couch potato. I promise. In the beginning you might eat more than you would normally. But we aren’t trying to be normal. We are trying to be free from the constant worry over food, so that we can actually get on with living our lives.
You don’t want me to tell you what to eat
Even though the women I work with say they want someone to tell them what, how, when, and how much to eat, that isn’t what they really want. If it were, diets would work. And people would have lasting success.
They want to feel empowered and in control around food.
That comes from learning how to trust yourself as the expert of your body, making decisions with mindfulness & intention, and taking ownership.
Healthy lifestyle or more dieting?
I had the fear of failing and eating everything. The fear of looking like a fool for trying to do it on my own without following another diet or lifestyle change was real. I doubted this would work for me. Would I eat chocolate everyday all day and stop exercising?
Deep down though I knew that the old way wasn’t going to cut it anymore. I was trying so hard to follow my nutrition plan, yet still started going back to food obsession and bingeing on the weekends.
I’d ‘be’ good during the week, but the weekends were a different story entirely. Giving in and eating everything I could before Monday became a regular occurrence.
As a fitness and nutrition coach, I felt like a fraud and so defeated.
How could I keep living like this? I was supposed to be an example, a leader in the health and fitness space. How could I keep selling this diet and calling it a healthy lifestyle?
It felt like I was back in diet shackles.
I had lost sight of what fitness had really made me feel back in the beginning of my journey. Instead it became about always having an amazing transformation. But in order for that to happen, that meant I always had to have a physical change–which ultimately meant gaining weight only to lose it again (like so many of us women do).
The realization that I was still dieting and calling it a healthy lifestyle was a blow. It was like someone pulled the rug out from under me.
I was still counting portions and carbs. Monitoring calories eaten and burned. Obsessing over my body and how much it changed from the day-to-day.
As a fitness coach it seems like we are expected to be a perfect example of what health looks like. We’ve all been conditioned to see health in such a narrow way. My behavior seemed normal.
The ‘aha’ moment
The idea that we were made to be the experts of our own bodies seemed foreign to me at first. After all, culturally, we are raised to rely on others to teach us right from wrong, safe from dangerous.
Sometimes though, that ends up looking a bit more like silly sheep being led straight to slaughter without even realizing it.
We were made to be the experts of our own body–we don’t need someone else to tell us how, what, or when to eat. We don’t need someone else to tell us how to move our bodies.
I had heard this rumor that if you let yourself have permission to eat whatever you wanted, the cravings and the urges to go nuts would disappear.
Honestly, it seemed a bit too good to be true, but what was the alternative? What I’d been doing wasn’t working so well.
I tested this out. I decided to give myself permission to eat whatever I wanted whenever I wanted it. It felt scary and exhilarating. This was so foreign and felt like I was breaking some unwritten rule.
Thoughts swirled in my head that I’d get fat (as if that was the worse thing I could be). I was afraid I’d not eat the healthy foods I had at one point come to crave.
For the first few weeks I did go a little crazy. I started to feel a little fluffy and didn’t like how I felt in my body.
Rather than running back to restriction and rules, I leaned it.
I stuck with it, and you know what? Slowly I started making decisions around food with authority, self control, and mindfulness.
I started asking myself in the moment if x food would make me feel good afterwards or not? Would it serve my long-term goals of being wholly healthy, present for my family, and able to carry out the purpose I was specifically created for?
For the first time ever I felt empowered around food.
I felt free.
It felt like I could finally breath and focus attention on my business, my clients, my family.
For the first time in years, making healthy choices felt natural and relaxed.
This journey has taken some time for sure. And there are still moments when I hear the whisper of diet culture in my head. In those moments, I politely tell it to shut up, and I move on.
It feels good to be more engaged in daily life. I’m more present, and I’m able to eat as a way to nourish and honor my body with joy and pleasure.
I hardly think about food anymore and I’m confident and happy in my body. Instead of using my time and energy on what to eat that will comply with my diet or how bad I want something I ‘can’t have’ or how much my body sucks and it needs to be fixed. I can use my energy to invest in those around me and in the things I feel I was created to do.
The sad reality is *most* women don’t know they are operating from a diet mindset. This is a shame, because you can’t fix what you don’t know is broken. We’ve come to see falling off the wagon as ‘normal’, and balance as swinging from one end of the pendulum to the other. That’s not balance. That’s dieting.
If you’re ready to get off the diets for good, but just need a little help figuring out how to do that, grab my free guide to help you transform your mind and learn the mindset hacks to help you reach your fitness goals once and for all. Sign up below 🙂
PS. Not sure about working with a coach to help you get off the diet rollercoaster? Schedule a free consult call here. I’d love to see if I’m the right fit for you.
The big wins come from small daily actions. Fact–it’s the small and often insignificant actions that create our lives.
I remember thinking my weight loss journey would be one where something massive would happen and the weight would just fall off. In fact, I believe that is why I had such a hard time getting in shape when I first started.
My expectations and reality did not align at all. I don’t blame myself, and I don’t blame you if you think you’ll arrive in your fit n’ healthy body overnight or 6 weeks from now. That is after all what the health and fitness industry sells.
Hard work isn’t sexy, and it doesn’t sell. But the reality is, it’s the only thing that will ever work long term.
Why then do we keep going back to those silly quick fixes and false promises? Because it’s what we know. Because we want to believe that the next diet or workout program will be just the ticket.
However, in order to actually make your fit n’ healthy lifestyle a true lifestyle it’s got to be something you can do forever, and it’s got to be built on habits and routines. Not rules and restriction, guilt or shame.
And one of the best ways to create healthy habits is by tracking your consistency. I know, that sucks. And it’s the least cool thing you can probably think of when it comes to crushing your health goals this year or any year.
If you can track it, you can smash it.
One of the best ways to see how consistent you are is by tracking your daily habits + actions. Not only does it help you crush your fitness goals, but in my experience it has boosted my confidence. When I am showing up, that is.
For some tracking (much like accountability) can feel negative though. Like it’s restrictive and they want to rebel. For others it makes them feel empowered and strong.
Keeping track of your actions can boost or steal your confidence, but it all depends on how you look at it. Do you see being held accountable to your actions as being a punishment or a way to see just how much of a failure you are? OR do you see keeping track as a way to keep yourself honest?
The reality is, we think we do more than we actually do. Tracking is one way to help you close the gap between what you think and what you do.
You can only control two things: your effort and your attitude. Implementing a simple goal tracking system will help you see the effort you’re putting towards your fitness goals.
I want you to hear this: you can STILL make great strides if you hit even just 65%.
Yes, you read that right. In school, 65% is failing. We are taught from early on that you start with 100% and for every mistake you make, you lose points, percentages, and slip towards failure.
What if, we looked at it from the other way? What if you actually start at 0? This would mean that EVERYTHING you do moves you closer to your goals. When you look at it this way, then 65% is almost to 100. Pretty cool eh?
Create a tracking system, and do it.
You’ve got to figure out what works for you..just like everything else in life. Whether you go with paper and pen, a digital tracking tool–you decide, then do it.
This isn’t about doing it perfectly. It never is. Keeping track of your actions like days you moved or servings of veggies you ate for the day are just one tool to help you create new habits. It takes practice to get into the habit of tracking even. So when you’re first starting out, set an alarm or alert on your phone to remind you to check in with yourself. In fact, setting reminders can help you in so many ways in creating new, healthy habits.
Don’t look at tracking as a bad thing. Remember YOU are not bad if your score isn’t quite what you want. It’s just information. You get to assign the meaning to your score, and YOU get to be the one that does something if you aren’t happy with your effort.
Have you noticed it seems to be harder to break up with our bad habits than to create the good ones?
When I first started my own fitness journey over 10 years ago, I found it way easier to skip those workouts. Eat the extra serving regardless of if I was hungry or not.
It took time and consistency to create the good habits, and it seemed like I was just hard wired for the bad ones. In some ways this is true because the “bad” habits provide immediate satisfaction. Whereas, we don’t see or even feel the results of eating one salad. At least not at first.
Consistently doing what needs to be done is the only way to get from where you are today to where you want to be six months or six years from now. It can be hard though to start doing something consistently. Especially when for the most part we have either been conditioned for the quick fix mentality in the diet industry.
Success comes from doing the most important (not necessarily the most urgent) things over and over again
I think we’d sort of be lying if we didn’t acknowledge we don’t want the rewards without having to do the work.
We all want the quick fix or magic bullet on some level, even if we know that quick fix won’t last. It’s taken a long time for me to just settle into the journey, and not be so zeroed in on reaching my goals.
I am the type of person who wants to get where we’re going as quickly as possible. Whether that’s on a road trip or from one goal to the next. However, I’ve come to realize most of the excitement around reaching a goal is the anticipation of what that destination will feel like.
Not the actual goal itself. Because, let’s face it, by the time we reach those goals, we’ve likely already started setting new goals for ourselves.
We’ve got to train ourselves to take satisfaction in just showing up and doing the thing.
“Success doesn’t come from what we do every once in a while, but what we do consistently.”
Know your priorities
We will make time for what’s truly important to us. That’s the bottom line.
There have been seasons in my life when I thought being super lean or super skinny was important to me. As a result I did whatever it took to look a certain way. A lot of my energy and time went to thinking and obsessing over food. Pinching the bits of fat that still covered my body, and working out like it was my job.
I thought I could only be happy, confident, and sexy if I looked a certain way. There came a point in my own fitness journey, when I started to loathe eating a certain way or working out for 2 hours/ day.
The tricky part, is we’ve been conditioned to believe we should always be looking to improve ourselves in some way physically. My priorities were changing, but I still felt pressure to pursue certain physique related goals. I started to feel stressed out about food and exercise again.
When our goals and priorities aren’t aligned, we will always have a hard time reaching our goals. If you’re pursuing goals that aren’t really that important to you, you will find all the excuses you need.
“Weight loss shouldn’t feel stressful. You shouldn’t feel frustrated by your goals, or like it’s a prison sentence.”
Gain more clarity around your goals, and decide what you’re willing to do (and sometimes give up) in order to reach them.
You can create new habits easier than you think
When you stop trying to make all the changes at once, replacing old habits becomes much easier.
How many times have you started a new diet or workout program? It usually feels like you went from 0 to 100 real quick. Often making all of the changes at once is overwhelming.
Start slow. Pick one habit at a time, and give yourself some space to practice your new habits.
Pick the low hanging fruit first. Get some wins under your belt first. What is one habit you feel you can replace with ease? I like to ask myself “on a scale of 1-10, how confident are you you can do this?” If it’s less than an 8, I’ve got to make it easier.
Diet culture’s quick fixes don’t last, this will.
Creating habits through consistency seems like a waste of time because it goes so slow at first. I totally get it. Before I bought into the idea of focusing on habits and consistency, I was entrenched in the diet mindset (and sadly even mainstream fitness culture). The changes had to be quick, even if it meant unsustainable.
If you just make all of the changes at once, follow the food rules perfectly, and never skip a workout you’ll be smooth sailing. What about the rest of us?
With extreme approaches like this it’s no wonder so many women feel stuck. This start and stop ‘healthy lifestyle’ only breeds disbelief in your ability to actually ever reach your fitness goals long term.
If you’re feeling a little unsure of whether or not you can actually create lasting change, you’re not alone. I’m here to tell you, you can. It just might take a little reworking of your beliefs in yourself and your mindset.
Why do we rely so much on habits anyway?
Have you ever stopped to think about your habits? Essentially our habits are just actions we do over and over, and often without even thinking about it.
This is great as long as our habits support our goals. However, when our actions are not supporting our goals or long term vision of what we want our bodies and our lives to look and feel like, this is a problem.
Our brain uses habits to cut down on the amount of work it has to do. It wants to preserve calories, and one of the easiest ways to do that is to cut down on the number of decisions it has to make. Charles Duhigg wrote an incredible book on the studies of habits. (link to book) I’d encourage you to check it out if you are curious about how habits work on a deeper level.
This is amazing news though, because it means that you can essentially create a healthy lifestyle without it taking over your entire life.
Can you be on autopilot and still be intentional and mindful?
Yes. I believe with my whole heart you can. At anytime during the habit loop you can ‘tune in’ to what you’re doing.
I am always talking to myself (usually it’s inside my head). When I notice I’m just going through the motions, I like to check in and see if that is what I really want to be doing in that moment.
Sometimes the answer is yes, I do want that thing even if I’m not hungry or I know they it isn’t ‘healthy’. And this is ok. The quick pause to check in, allows me to make the choice from a place of awareness and control. Not a frantic feeding frenzy because I’ve been depriving myself all week.
Sometimes, I surprise myself. And the answer is no. Even if they do sound good, even if I know I can have them. This kind of food freedom was really only ever possible by removing the food rules I’d been living under and giving myself the power to choose what to eat–not follow someone else’s idea of what a healthy lifestyle should look like.
Sometimes it’s good to rebel
Everything you know or think you know about health, fitness, and weight loss may be the exact thing that is keeping you stuck on the diet hamster wheel. Going against the flow isn’t always a bad thing. Not convinced? Click the video below to see why it might be time to start questioning the ‘normal’ way to reach our fitness goals.