So far this week has been way easier than I expected. I don't mean that I had easy workouts. On the contrary, as I write this I am just wonderfully sore from head to toe! What I mean is that I was surprised at how seamlessly I feel back into a pattern of being very strict with workout times and nutrition. I thought I would have a much harder time getting back into the diet plan that allowed me so much positive change a month or so back. But, I guess I was able to form a pretty good habit when I did that whole program. And, inspired by a couple conversations today, and thinking about the whole process, I totally understand why.
Establish What Works For You:
When I was challenged about 3.5 months ago to follow a super strict nutrition plan, it clicked instantly with me. After a few weeks of following what was given to me, I made a couple modifications, and ultimately found a nutrition plan that just straight up worked. For me. And because it worked so well, my body responded accordingly. I lost fat, gained muscle, decreased my stress, had more energy and slept better. And because of all these positive changes, I psychologically became "hooked" on this lifestyle. My desire to stay up super late, to watch TV, to eat cookies, to skip workouts, all those things that I tended to do before, they all just went away. I learned first-hand that the body really, truly wants to be fit and healthy; and if you take the time and effort to allow it to be, it will crave those GOOD things instead of the bad. Now what works for me may not work for you. But the idea of cleaning everything out completely allows for your body and mind to have a cleaner slate so that you can honestly look at what works. For me, eating every 3 hours works wonders. Consuming the proper amounts of foods during those meals helps even more. I don't know what works for you, and a believe me, sometimes this can be really freaking hard. It took me about four years to find out how to literally melt body fat off me. And I am a fitness expert who has the time and wherewithal to try many different things. S be patient. There IS a process that works for you if you are willing to search for it. This brings me to my next point:
Don't Be A Wimp:
Yeah, I said it, you're going to have to be tough. One of my conversations today was with a lady who was feeling really lethargic, gaining weight, having skin issues, and struggling with sleep. I asked her about her eating habits and simply suggested she keep a food journal. A month later (today) I asked her how it was going and she said she only kept the journal for about a week and then just forgot about it. Interestingly enough though, upon my bringing it up she realized that the week she kept the journal was the most energetic and stress-free week in a long, long while. This made me think; not about the obvious, that having more control of your food makes you eat better, but of the effort she, and so many others put into change. Here's what I mean. It's crazy daunting to think that the way you live and eat is flat out hurting you, and that it is actually possible to change. this is the part that is NOT easy in any way. You have to change a habit. And usually, this is a habit that's been engrained in your brain and body for years and years.
So think logically through this one with me. If you've taken years to create a way of living/eating, do you really, honestly expect to change that habit in a week? Thinking of it this way, it should actually be a breath of fresh air to know that you can mostly change habits over the course of a short month! Either way, it's tough as hell to change like this (a "how to" on this is clearly a great topic); but, suffice to say that if you can find a way to dedicate a month to your program, things will inevitably become a LOT easier. Again, the body wants to be healthy, give it time to recognize the healthy things you are doing and it will react positively.
A concept that is really well described by Robb Wolf in his awesome book The Paleo Solution is that you can eat as much as you want. Totally, go to town! It’s just that when you are eating clean and living well, “as much as you want” tends to be healthy doses. This occurs because your mind and body are more closely connected. You finally stop eating emotionally and you eat to live.
Finally, Your Flow:
I think I’ve found my flow. I think this because even when I fall off for a month, it’s so much better than I’ve ever been my whole life. Sure, when things are down and I am more emotionally unstable I may have a cookie or ton; but I have formed the habit of eating regularly.
So the point to all this, the only way to really find that flow enough that it is engrained in you as a genuine part of you life. Give it all a fare shot. Take your time, trial and error, add things, take things away, chart EVERYTHING, be patient and be tough. You’ll have to go through hell before the simplicity of being healthy can actually occur. So don’t lie to yourself in thinking that you can figure it all out in a couple days. Trust me, it will not happen. If you want to be healthy, fit and happy, you need to commit to following a program for at least a month (preferably 2 or 3). And always remember: it took you years to become as unhealthy as you are now, you need to understand that true change may take a little time.
Never Stop, GET FIT.
There seems to be an excuse for everything these days: too hot, too rainy, too busy, too tired, too overwhelmed and on and on. And what makes this sort of attitude so frustrating to me is that being surrounded by it tends to have a somewhat negative effect on me! The age-old concept of surrounding yourself with people who make you better continues to grow stronger and stronger in my mind, while the trainer, coach and motivator in me desperately desires to be positive influence. But negativity begets negativity. Negative parents have negative children, negative friends have negative friends, and on and on until we sink into a society that is overflowing in negativity, excuses and horrible health.
While reading Robb Wolf's awesome book The Paleo Solution, he mentioned a little something I tried today when I went down to the local coffee shop to get some work done. I sat for a good 10 minutes and watched people as they came and went and did an immediate assessment on how they looked. Tired? Happy? Fit? Ill? Fat? Now this could be construed as being judgmental, but I made a point of keeping it as objective as possible. Hell, I know that sometimes looks can be deceiving, so I simply looked at them and moved on. What hit me so quickly was how depressed and out of shape everyone looked. I literally saw nobody over the age of 15 that held themselves in that oh-so-obvious "I feel damn good right now" way. I also saw not one single person, children included, that appeared to have any real athletic ability. Again, many of them may have, and of course sitting at a coffee shop in the burbs at 11am is probably not the best place to hang with fitness geeks like me, but seriously?
Whatever issues you have: stress, stomach problems, insomnia, IBS, headaches, back problems, anything; it is because of poor choices you have made in your lifestyle. Go ahead and blame it on anything you'd like, but I can pretty much guarantee you that if you take a little time, you'll be able to trace it all back to YOU. And when you're sitting on your couch, eating take out, or snacks, or desert or whatever, soaking in all the insanity TV has to offer you each and every night, perhaps a little spark can light up somewhere inside of you that says "right now I am getting sick". Maybe tomorrow night when you're done with work you can go outside, no matter what the weather is like; you can grill dinner over an open flame no matter how long it might take; you can sweat a little and get an elevated heart rate no matter how tired or overwhelmed you might be? Perhaps tomorrow night you can decide that you are going to be a little healthier than last night, and that the next night a little healthier. Perhaps you can take a few of you're precious moments to learn a little about what is really good for you and what is really bad for you. Perhaps you can feel better than you do right now...
Or will you have an excuse not to?
Never Stop, GET FIT.
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