Feeling a little stuck and unsure how to keep progressing forward? Take heed to these 5 ways to gain control and live a healthier life.
- Write it out
Get out a piece of paper and a pen and write down where you feel stuck. Maybe you’re not sure how to start incorporating exercise into your day-to-day life. Or perhaps you’re unsure how to start or even make smart nutrition choices. All too often I see competitors reach for their old diet from when they first started training only to find out that’s not working. The reason it’s not working is because you’ve changed and so has your body. Your metabolism is different because of the high amount of calories you’ve been eating or perhaps the exercise and cardio decreased. Therefore you go from a high calorie diet to a restricted diet in a split second leaving you starved and binge eating on oreos and cereal. Or maybe you just had a baby and are trying to balance maintaining a healthy caloric intake to breast feed while at the same time shed some weight.
Whatever your situation or situations, write it down. This not only helps to visually see where your struggles are, but it also helps to get outside of your head. All too often we allow our thoughts to consume us adding to the sticky feeling and unsure what to do next.
- Start small
When trying to get unstuck, start with small mini-goals, working your way up to the bigger goal. Take a look at your list. Let’s say you’re feeling as though you can’t seem to gain control of your nutrition. More specifically you find yourself eating out for lunch during the workweek and you’d like to start bringing lunch to eat healthier and save money. Not only is saving money one of the bigger benefits, the biggest benefit is that YOU control the preparation of your lunch. You control how you cook the grilled chicken for your spinach salad, you control how many almonds, pecans or tomatoes are added in. By taking control you now own the food portion along with the ownership in preparing a guilt free tasty dish all by yourself! By creating this amazingly deliciously meal, an independence is born! You can now free yourself of relying on restaurants to provide a hopefully healthy meal when instead you can take ownership in food preparation and knowing what seasonings and oils were used in the process.
Let’s look at another example. You just got done competing and are doing what most competitors do after a show, and you gain an unhealthy amount of post-show weight. Stepping on the scale one morning it hits you that you just put on 20 pounds in a month! You were eating whatever you wanted, not exercising as much, and now the post-show weight has stocked piled back on.
After this harsh reality sets in, you decide to do something about it, but where to start? Instead of going back to the meal plan you were first provided when first setting out on your competing adventure, start small. Begin to eat lean proteins and vegetables at every meal and if you feel like having a cookie, eat a cookie. The point here is not to fall back into the same pattern that you got you where you are today. The point is to help you feel balanced in your eating style. Now this does not mean binge eat on Oreos and Girl Scout cookies. It is to begin to take control of your life again.
Even if you haven’t competed before, but find yourself asking: where is a good place to start? The above offers a great stepping stone, but again find yourself weary of eating lean proteins at every meal. Break it down even more! Instead of incorporating lean meats for every meal, add in veggies at every meal instead. Once a week has passed and you successfully mastered veggies at every meal, move on to incorporate lean proteins at every meal. If that’s too much, break it down to veggies at every other meal and so on until it becomes reasonable for your current situation. And remember no victory is too small to celebrate. After a week of eating veggies at every meal, celebrate with a massage, hike, or shopping!
- ‘Cause you gotta have grace
All too often we become our own worst critiques. The things we say to ourselves are all too often negative devaluing our own self-worth. Negative self-talk begins to perpetuate every thought and mood. Why do we treat ourselves this way?
I say no more of this negative self talk! Talk to yourself the way you would your best friend or life partner. Give yourself the same support you would give them. And if nothing else, show yourself the same kindness that you show others.
Whether it’s calling ourselves names or saying that we are fat and wish we were more like our skinny best friend, stop right there. First off, know you can never be your skinny best friend. You are your own unique person and that includes your body. Now, you can attain a great body don’t get me wrong. You will only be you and no one else. This in and of itself is a gift! You are unique in your own right and have the ability to do amazing things in a way only you know how. Appreciate that and accept every curve, structure, shape, and bone your body has to offer. Change in your body can occur, but you must first start with your mind.
- Know it’s okay to slip up – Get right back at it
Oh my gosh you had an extra almond! Oh my gosh you had a bite of a cookie! Oh my gosh you added a little more brown rice than you should have! Since when did you turn into a community of demonizing foods? Especially foods that are good for you? In giving yourself grace, know that it’s ok to slip up and have an extra almond, or to a greater extent, eat a burger with fries. In this sense I speak to you from a non-competitor standpoint. Follow the 80/20 rule. 80% of the time eat foods that fuel your body. The other 20% of the time, eat foods that satisfy the sweet tooth, have an extra crunch to them or make you feel rebellious. Depending on your goals, the 80/20 rule promotes a balanced approach to foods and does not demonize foods to a point as if you were the scarlet letter after you eat them.
- Celebrate the victories – No victory is too small to celebrate
Whether its pounds or inches lost, second round of cardio complete or you stayed true to your diet all day, celebrate those moments. We often mechanically move throughout our day without stopping to recognize the accomplishments or add value to ourselves. Stop, journal, close your eyes, breathe and recognize your victory because no victory is too small to celebrate.