With the bombardment of new diets and programs out there in this age of fitness trends and health crazes, there’s little room to remember what is more important than just the aesthetics of our health and fitness goals.
First off, let me admit, as an ex-yo-yo dieter, the all or nothing approach is what I can promise DOES NOT and WILL NOT work, especially if you’re looking for sustainable and long-term changes. Some diets may seem to help you lose weight quickly in the beginning – like cutting out starchy carbs – but if you’re goal is to be healthier overall (which it should be and should not be solely focused on the number on the scale), then listen up and be ready for changes.
Rule #1 – Be done with the whole notion of cheat days/week
The concept of a cheat meal or a cheat day is honestly what cheats your overall progress to achieving your best health. First, the idea of it places you in the mindset that you’re somehow doing injustice to your body and your plan. It places you in the mindset of guilt and although it may seem menial at first, if you schedule in weekly cheats, it is hard to distance yourself from the build up of guilt because each cheat may seem more damaging than it actually is.
Just by calling it a cheat, you’re already setting yourself for failure mentally.
Rule #2 – Eliminate the concept of restriction
Winning at eating is as simple as allowing yourself to eat what you want but by always staying conscious about how much of which foods you’re eating. Go crazy on a plate of red rice, grilled chicken and steamed veggies, but know your limits when chowing down on that delicious chocolate cake.
The more you restrict yourself the more you want something, so it’s better to let yourself have a little bit of whatever ‘bad’ food you’re craving rather than driving yourself nuts by saying no (which may lead to a binge later).
The key to success with eating habits is balance! Allow yourself to have some ‘bad’ foods, but focus on eating healthy majority of your meals. The mindset to have with eating is as important as what you put into your body. Avoid the guilt trips! Allowing yourself to enjoy some treats is equally as important as feeling great after a nutritious and delicious meal.
Aim for moderation, not perfection!
Rule #3 – Have a clear, long-term goal in mind.
If your goal is only to fit in a cute bikini you just bought or to shred some stubborn fats for your beach getaway next month, then you are telling your mind to look for a quick and temporary solution for a short-term and impermanent goal.
If your goal is to become a healthier person overall, then you are telling your mind there is a long term achievement you are aiming towards which has to do with your whole lifestyle.
Quick fixes may create an illusion of success, but it’s not sustainable and you’ll end up disappointed because you’ll most likely go back to how you were as quickly or even quicker than where you started from.
It’s about changing your lifestyle, not temporary solutions for temporary goals.