Good news: You don’t have to be perfect in order to lose weight and get in better shape!
See if this sounds familiar:
You get fed up with feeling sluggish, you feel bad about how your clothes fit, and you’ve decided that enough is enough, and it’s time to do something to lose weight and get in better shape.
So you make some plans – diet plans, exercises promises, and other decisions to finally do something about this physical and emotional mess you keep getting yourself into.
And you actually do some of these new things! And for awhile, you feel great. And proud.
And then something happens.
You miss a workout. Or you have a bad eating day. Or something happens to one of the kids, and your cooking plan gets stymied.
When whatever it was happens, you drop all your good intentions and plans, and go right back to what you used to do.
This cycle of Intentions/Failure/Guilt And Shame/Start Over leads to depression, negative self image, and a “why bother?” attitude about your own health. I call it “The cycle of nothing.” Why? Because guess what’s changed? Nothing!
Why People Fail
The Cycle of Nothing perpetuates the pattern of failure and starting over because we unconsciously label new behaviors as an all-or-nothing affair. Either you eat perfectly, or you don’t try. Either you have a set workout schedule, or you do nothing for exercise. Either you always avoid every single junk food, or you never pay attention to your food choices.
Neither of these ends of the spectrum will lead to success.
Trying to live in the black-or-white pendulum of either Complete Deprivation or Complete Lack of Self Control will always lead to nothing! Nothing except that big pile of frustration and shame you keep repeating.
So what can I do to lose weight and get in shape?
Instead of trying to be perfect (and then throwing out all your plans when you aren’t):
- Identify one of your trouble spots.
Instead of promising yourself that you’ll never eat another piece of cake as long as you live, find ONE behavior or concept that you struggle with. Maybe you eat too much food at night. Maybe you don’t schedule any time for exercise, or maybe you reach for sugar any time you feel stressed out or lonely. Pick ONE problem to work with, not all of them!
- Niche it down.
Figure out one ACTION (not an OUTCOME) that you can take in order to improve your primary problem. Some examples:
Problem: I eat too much sugar before bed, because I get nighttime cravings for sweets.
Action: I won’t keep junk food in the house, so I don’t have the option of eating sweets at night.
Problem: I don’t have time for any exercise.
Action: On Thursday I will get up 30 minutes early for a workout.
Problem: I eat too many carbs.
Niche it down:
I eat too many carbs for breakfast, and I eat too many carbs and junk food at work.
Action: At breakfast, I will cut the carbs in half and add some protein instead.
I will make a healthy lunch to bring to work with me so I’m not at the mercy of whatever is in the break room.
Now you can actually IMPROVE something without having to do everything perfectly!
Work with your one thing for a week or two, until the new-and-improved behavior becomes “normal.” Then pick another trouble spot to work on. After a few rounds of resetting your “normal”, you’ll have most of your problems licked because you won’t crash and burn every time things don’t go perfectly!
If you’d like some personal help with exercise and nutrition, contact Basics and Beyond fitness & nutrition to schedule a time to talk about what kind of help would work best for you. We work with clients in-person and online!