The BS to Avoid When Starting a Healthy Lifestyle Change & What To Do Instead
WHEN IT COMES TO HEALTHY EATING:
The BS: Constantly searching for the “best” diet plan to follow.
What to do instead: I’m going to go ahead and come out and say it: Diets suck. They aren’t easy to follow and most of the time they aren’t easy to figure out, either. Much to my chagrin, many companies thrive off of tricking people into thinking there is such a thing as the “perfect” diet. Unfortunately, there isn’t one. The hard truth is that we all have to try many different foods, tips & tricks to figure out what works for us. I’m not going to lie to you, it will probably be more work in the beginning but in the long term, it is oh-so worth it.
The BS: Restrictive dieting & cheat days.
What to do instead: Please, please, please don’t waste any more time on diets that involve cheat days. That is an immediate signal that the diet you’re following is way too restrictive. I’d much rather you incorporate decadent treats throughout the week that you really, really love than have you avoid them all together. Why? Avoiding them completely makes them the forbidden fruit. Taking them away from your diet completely will test your willpower to the point of no return, leading you to binge on crappy foods later. To top it off, you’re left feeling guilty and ashamed. No one should put that much pressure on a piece of cake. Eat one small piece, savor it and move the hell on with your life.
The BS: Looking at food as the battle between “good” and “evil.”
What to do instead: Stop putting so much emphasis on whether a food is “good” or ” bad.” Food should be nourishment, but it should also be just that: food. None of it is inherintely good or bad. Thinking in such a manner allows even more guilt to surround your food choices. When I stopped telling myself certain foods were “horrible” or “awful,” I found the space to fully enjoy what I was eating. Give it a shot then let me know your thoughts. I think you’ll catch yourself relating to foods in this way more often than you’d think.
The BS: Getting so deep in the nutritional trenches that you start to feel overwhelmed.
What to do instead: With all of the nutritional science out there, it can be easy to get lost in the nutrition-abyss. When you start to feel overwhelmed, take a step back. Focus on what you know: eat whole foods, limit your added sugar intake and drink plenty of water. By following these three guidelines, you’ll be well on your way to success.
“Real food doesn’t have ingredients. Real food is ingredients.” – Jamie Oliver
WHEN IT COMES TO HITTING THE GYM:
The BS: Avoiding strength training because you think it will make you “bulk up.”
What to do instead: Rest assured, women do not have enough testosterone to bulk up like the Hulk. Unless you are training and eating with the intention to do just that, you aren’t going to become Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson overnight. Strength training is essential for bone health and developing better body mechanics. Plus, an increased metabolic rate means you will be burning plenty more calories and fat! Not to mention, it feels awesome to be able to haul all of your groceries into the house in one go (especially when it’s below freezing outside).
The BS: “Never miss a Monday.”
What to do instead: Respect your body and listen to the signals it sends you. If you’re physically hurting and in a ton of pain, feeling down and out, or are sick with the flu – I don’t care what day it is – please take care of yourself. Physical exercise can be extremely beneficial for many reasons, but being stubborn when you know something doesn’t feel right is a recipe for disaster (and prolonged hurting). Finding a fitness routine that actually sticks means being able to work with the ebbs and flows of life.
The BS: Push through pain.
What to do instead: There is a difference between feeling sore and being in pain. Move in a way that feels challenging, but still feels good to you. You don’t have to push through something agonizing just to lose weight or get ripped. There is a wide variety of exercise methods out there for you to try. If you feel like something is “off,” find something else to do instead.
The BS: Forcing your way through hour long workouts you hate.
What to do instead: In a similar vein, if you find yourself pushing through long workouts you dread, try something else. Going to the gym or working out at home shouldn’t be something that you brood over. Try hitting it hard with a HIIT workout or lift weights at a faster rate for about 20-30 minutes, then call it quits. And if you’re just starting your fitness routine, 30 minutes can do you plenty of good while ensuring you aren’t over-doing it.
Switch things up often to prevent boredom. Go to a new class, seek out a trainer to push you through slumps, or find a workout buddy! There are plenty of options out there for you!
WHEN IT COMES TO MINDSET:
The BS: Talking about making a change, but not actually doing it.
What to do instead: I have seen it plenty of times. People who want to start taking action to better their health but are so busy talking about it, that they don’t take that first step. It is psychologically proven that by talking about doing things, we feel like we are, in a sense, actually doing them. Crazy, right? If this sounds like you, I challenge you to walk your talk. Stop doubting yourself, and start taking action. I don’t care how seemingly little or small that first step may seem. There comes a time when you just need to dive right in.
The BS: Being Judge-y McJudgerson, especially in the gym.
What to do instead: Catch yourself the next time you are in the gym and judging everyone around you. We are all in the gym to try to improve ourselves in some way. Instead of getting caught up fixating on the intense guy slamming weights in the corner or the new girl with bad form across the room, think about the fact that they are all there for a reason. It can be tough to enter a gym setting. “Gym-timidation” is a thing. Don’t be a part of the problem. Instead, be a part of the solution. Smile, help others in need, send supportive thoughts out to everyone there. We will all be better for it!
“We are all broken, that’s how the light gets in.” – Ernest Hemingway
The BS: Feeling like your not bikini-ready.
What to do instead: Yes, it is okay to want to improve, lose weight, or train for aesthetic goals. That’s great, even. But what’s not okay is to let the health and fitness industry tell you that you aren’t good enough. Because you are. Right now. No matter what shape you’re in. Give yourself a little hug, practice some self-love, and do your best. It may seem woo-woo, but in the long run, I promise you that’s what truly matters.
The BS: Playing the victim.
What to do instead: Are you serious about the change you want to make? Great. Then act like it. No one is going to do this for you. Believe me, because I have been there. For a long time, I was waiting for someone else to handle my problems for me. I was stuck in “victim mode” blaming my current situation on other people or outside circumstances. I didn’t want to take responsibility myself. At the same time, I was also miserable and I knew something had to change. I started living my life one situation at a time, constantly asking myself what I wanted to do in that moment, and how it related to my goals, values and beliefs. I’ve never looked back.
Dreams don’t work unless you do!