You hear me say this all the time and the more I write about it the more I even convince myself that the answers to our struggles have more to do with our thought process, behaviors, actions and reactions, choices and habits than whether we eat carbs for breakfast or not or decide to partake in CrossFit or Zumba.
It does not matter what type of thoughts you have about what you should or should not eat, or how you should or should not workout, you can immediately put these “rules” into place.
1. Forgive yourself and your choices. Positive phycology research is actually showing that forgiving ourselves when we make a mistake is a greater motivator than criticism. Instead of telling yourself you are such a failure and you skipped a workout and ate that bag of chips AGAIN, tell yourself that this is another challenge you are working to overcome.
2. If it is more stressful to think about not having the cupcake, have the cupcake. This has been so helpful to me because I have had times where I have stressed so much about NOT having something, that it was actually more stressful than simply having it. Is not feeling motivated to go to the gym stressing you out? Go to the gym!
3. Only eat food that makes you feel great physically and emotionally WHILE you are eating and AFTER. If you are going to stew in guilt and remorse over that gallon of ice cream, do eat it. Do you know that daily does not settle well with you? Do not eat it. Begin to pay attention to how foods make you feel mentally and how they affect your bodies energy, digestions, and mood.
4. Do not compare yourself to others. It does not matter if a friend is super successful on Paleo, Vegan, swimming, yoga, etc. If you do not enjoy eating or working out in a certain way, you will not do it. The best way to eat and workout is a way that you can enjoy, or at least tolerate, long term. Consistency beat perfection.
5. Decide if you would rather be right or happy. Bash any preconceived notions you have about what you should or should not do and find what works for you. Sometimes going against what has been ingrained in us for so long feels like a failure. ‘I must do cardio for an hour 6 days a week.’ But ask yourself. Is this way working? Am I seeing results? Am I doing this because I feel in my head this is”right” or because it makes me happy and is working.
6. Practice gratitude. Finding the bright spots and lessons in our challenges allows us to move past them. It is easy to get caught up in a world wind of negative emotions or nit pick at ourselves for our imperfections and perceived failures, but ultimately gratitude puts everything in perspective.
7. Look at your strengths not your weaknesses. Instead of constantly focusing on what you are doing wrong, ask yourself what you are doing well. Where are your successes? In everyday? In every week?
8. Take responsibility. I love this quote by Byron Katie. “Placing the blame or judgment on someone else leaves you powerless to change your experience; taking responsibility for your beliefs and judgments gives you the power to change them.” When we play on excuses we give away our power to make changes.
9. View food with an abundance mindset. Food will always be available to you. Are you eating it because you truly want to or because you fear you will not be able to eat it again soon. Sometimes when we go on binges and we say “Screw today. I will start tomorrow,” we give ourselves permission to eat everything in site because tomorrow will be time to get strict again and not be able to enjoy your favorite treats. I am here to tell you….
10. It does not have to be all or nothing. You do not have to be on or off plan, strict or not strict, cheat day or not. You can absolutely build foods you love into your diet each and every week and still get results. When was the last time going super strict on a diet gave you results that you were able to maintain?
11. Do your best. Your best will be different each and everyday. Exhausted after a long day at work and too much wine? Stopped for fast food? Skipped dinner? You were simply doing your best on that day. Doing your best is not an excuse it is admission that you are human and while all decisions are not created equal, you can keep trying to learn and improve.
12. Manage stress & stress. It is a hard concept to understand that sleep and stress play such a significant role in your body composition and food and workout choices but they do. Find activities that help reduce stress and make sleep a priority.
13. Say good bye to guilt and join the land of imperfection. We will not always be perfect with our choices and that is ok. Feeling guilt and shame over them doesn’t really serve us in any positive way. Say yes to personal freedom by allowing yourself to be imperfect, by allowing yourself to be human. No guilt required.
14. Trust yourself. Trust that the choices you make today will add up in a huge cumulative effect and get you to where you want to be tomorrow, even if you cannot see the end right now.
15. Reinvent the wheel and do you. Be your own detective when it comes to what works for you. I don’t care if Suzy Sunshine lots 50 lbs on Atkins and yoga, if your body does better on carbs and you want to lift some weights do it! The best exercise and way of eating is the kind you love and the kind you love is the kind you will stick with.
16. Success is not final, failure is not fatal. I love this quote by Winston Churchill. Just because you achieve ultimate success today does not mean it will stay without the effort and just because you fail does not mean you have no chance at success. Don’t give in either way.