So why do we struggle?
We are a product of a lifetime of habits, likes and dislikes. Whatever we are right now, it has taken us our whole lives to get here. So we set ourselves up for failure when we take these long-standing behaviors and try to turn them around quickly and dramatically with things like;
- Lose 20 pounds in 20 days
- Ripped abs in 10 days
- 6 weeks to change your life
This huge and sudden shift in our diet is like tossing a boomerang. What you throw out will come right back at you. Our minds and bodies need time to acclimate to change. Clearly if we try to do too much too fast we will likely rebound and not enjoy lasting results.
Many times, we charge into a new diet plan and we are amazing in our 100% adherence. We lose a bunch of weight and we’re ecstatic. In the meantime we are counting down the days till the challenge is over so we can eat all our favorite treats. This way of thinking is specifically the problem for 2 reasons.
- Intellectually we know, we as humans are inherently imperfect. It is unreasonable to expect perfection yet when we “screw up” or “cheat” we beat ourselves up and are disappointed in our failure to achieve this impossible idea. I mean sheesh! Let’s give ourselves a break, shall we?
- Viewing food as a restriction, reward, cheat, denial, comfort or failure gives that inanimate substance power over us. It’s just food! Don’t let it be more than that.
In short, we attempt to rapidly eliminate all this food we have put a significant emotional attachment to and hope to do so permanently.
That sounds crazy right?!
So how do we break this cycle? Well, we can stop trying to change our entire life all at once for starters.
For example, many “challenges” or “nutrition plans” require many if not all of these;
- Eat only whole foods
- No sugar or artificial sweeteners
- No grains
- No dairy
- No meat or Lots of meat
- Weigh and measure your food
- Lots of water
- Exercise every day
3, 2, 1 GO! YIKES!!
The average person might do alright with this for a little while but most of us count down the days until this challenge is over, then go right back to what we were doing before. This method is not sustainable for most people. Some yes, but most of us, no.
Take a breath, slow it down and let’s create an atmosphere of “Can do” as we work on better health and wellness one step at a time.
Let’s take one of the most important parts of our physical wellness and start with that.
Whole Foods for example. In case some of us are unclear on what “whole foods” are, let me elaborate. If it had eyeballs or grew out of the ground it is a whole food. Preservatives and added sugars, colors etc. are poison to our bodies and are a huge factor when addressing chronic illness. So much of the mental and physical ailments people suffer from today can be lessened, if not eradicated simply by eating clean.
Ok, so we’re going to work on eating mostly whole foods. How does that work? Start reading labels. Become an expert with ingredients. Here’s the basics;
- If you have to Google an ingredient, that’s not a good sign
- Ingredients are listed in order of most to least.
- You’d be surprised to find the prominent ingredient in some of the foods you are eating. Check it out.
- Sugar has no health benefit and too much sugar is highly detrimental. Including artificial sweeteners. Make a note of how prominent the natural and artificial sugars are in your foods.
Over the period of a few weeks, you practice this process and really learn the difference between healthy and not healthy. You make better choices, find new foods you like and get rid of others you know are not good for you.
That’s it. One step at a time. You’ll find the knowledge you gain and the shift in what you eat becomes natural to you and not a chore or restriction. And guess what, you may find you like cooking.
What about that 100% nonsense?
Well, that’s the important part. You shouldn’t be 100%.
In fact, let’s strive for 85%-90%. Eat well most of the time, then when you go out to dinner with friends or to a game, have some pizza or ice cream or whatever. You’ll learn to enjoy some of your favorites more sparingly and not beat yourself up about it. How many times have you said, “Well shoot! I ate those fries for lunch. I’ve already screwed this day up so I’m going to go ahead and have a milkshake.” Then later you go out for pizza as well. Shifting how you think about food will change all that. YOU control the food. It doesn’t control you. Freedom at last!
That’s the beginning of The Habitap life.
We start by creating the whole foods habit then add to that over 10 weeks, 5 more. (2) Daily Protein and Vegetables, (3) Sleep and Water, (4) Exercise and (5) De-Stressing. One building on the other over time. Before the end you’ll feel more energy, possess a clearer mind, a healthier body and gratification in knowing you are on your way to a healthier, sustainable lifestyle. Oh, and by the way you’ll lose body fat and start looking and feeling better. Check out some of the testimonials from past clients on our website at www.habitap.com and look for the next challenge.