We’ve all declared the words; “I’ll start on Monday”. Whether we are referring to a new nutritional approach or exercise program. If you’re like me you’ve “rededicated” your fitness lifestyle to the following Monday. That is – after Saturday social life knocks on your door. It’s easy to put things off in general. But if we continue to think we need to “start over” just because our expectations for ourselves weren’t met, we missed a workout, went over our macros, etc… we will forever be caught in a viscous cycle.
Believe it or not, thinking that you need to start over because you “messed up” is a sign of disordered thinking towards food and exercise. Fear not! We’ve all been there! I want to give you five powerful mentalities to help you break free from the run around of conquering your goals and sticking to your plan.
1) STOP GIVING AWAY YOUR POWER I have this crazy thing to tell you. Are you ready? There is nothing about Monday’s that helps you stick to your plan any better than another day. We’ve been giving MONDAYS the power of being able to change or continue our lifestyle, when every other day of the week is a perfect time to continue. You’re only robbing yourself of progress when you think you’re hitting the reset button at the beginning of every week. Then we “throw it all away” mentality on the weekend. Days of the week are a human constructed organization system. They help us know what day to show up for appointments, not fooling yourself into thinking Monday is the perfect day to start or start again.
If we continually throw away our plan and don’t stick to our goals every weekend, that is 12 days out of the month (if you count Friyays). Think about it, you may be fooling yourself into thinking you’re on track most of the time but in reality you’re only sticking to it half the time, at best. Ultimately you are in control of your decisions. You don’t need a certain day of the week to dust yourself off and keep pushing.
2) YOUR FOOD ISN’T GUILTY & NEITHER ARE YOU This amazing tune has been sung before but I’m here to remind you again that there is no such thing as “good” and “bad” foods. So stop labeling them. Sure some food have more benefits than others and some foods may make you physically feel better than others. You can choose to eat whatever you’d like. That’s called being an adult and making good choices not being “good” or “bad” based on the foods you eat.
If you mentally tie certain foods to the concept of good and bad, you will inevitably feel bad anytime you eat something you’ve labeled as such. Let’s be honest if you love pizza (insert any food), you shouldn’t feel bad about eating pizza. (I mean what’s so bad about pizza anyway? Bread, sauce, cheese?) In reality there are only poor decisions on portions not “bad” foods.
3) EAT WHATEVER YOU WANT Ok, hear me out on this point. What I mean is there is something powerful about being able to have self-control with any food at any given time. This could be ice cream, pizza, bread, chips, cookies, etc… When we realize that no food is “bad” we remove any guilt or feeling of failure when we eat it. When we remove the novelty of your favorite foods that you tend to restrict yourself from, you’ll find that you’re able to eat it in moderation. You’ll enjoy it and move on with your life. I don’t know about you but when I used to restrict what sorts of foods I let myself eat (aka, “clean” eating), I found myself completely feeling out of control and powerless against foods I actually loved because I had deprived myself of them. When you don’t eat whatever you want (in appropriate portions obviously) you end up compensating for it elsewhere.
Take this scenario for example: You go to a birthday party and your friend’s birthday cake is your favorite kind. But you tell yourself, “No, I don’t eat cake.” As times goes on at the party you find yourself thinking about the stupid cake. You so badly want a piece. Then you go home wanting cake and you lay down in bed wanting it. And maybe you end up eating a piece, a huge piece because you tell yourself you’re going to go big or go home. How different this scenario could be if you made it a habit to moderately eat foods that you truly enjoy regularly?
I think you would find again, that these foods lose their novelty. You no longer tell yourself that if you’re going to eat it you better eat a lot of it because it’s the last time you’ll ever get to. Oh yeah, that you’ll start again on Monday. I’m not saying ALWAYS say yes to cake. I’m telling you that when you take back your power from food you’ll find yourself in control. You will enjoy food and be a lot less stressed out.
4) NO ONE IS MAKING YOU HAVE GOALS When you think about it, you are the only person who is “making” you have the goals you have. This goes back to not giving away your power. I think if a lot of us are honest we can easily slip into the “screw it” mindset. In the heat of the moment of being out with your friends, it seems like everyone is just eating anything and everything they want and next thing you know you’ve eaten an entire basket of tortilla chips and guacamole. By yourself! Don’t leave me hanging here, I know I can’t be alone. So what usually happens after that? You say, “You know what screw it, I’ve been good all week, it’s the weekend, TREAT YO-SELF… I’ll workout hard tomorrow/do better tomorrow.” And every other justification you can think of. So then what happens? You wake up the next day bloated from eating too much and feeling regret that you didn’t exercise self control. Then we see restriction. We see this vicious cycle never end!
That goes back to what I talked about with eating whatever you want. When you give away your power and restrict yourself, you start to feel like the victim in the pursuit of your goals. You forget that no one is making you have your goals. The result is feeling overwhelmed, sorry for yourself, and less likely to succeed. The point is, YOU are the one who has constructed these goals for yourself. YOU are the one who has the power to make the choice for everything you eat and how you train. Feeling sorry for ourselves is a bad habit that leaves us powerless and consumed. By taking responsibility for your goals and remembering that you are doing what you’re doing to (hopefully) improve your quality of life, you will be less likely to throw it all away when the weekend hits. Hoping that Monday will redeem you.
5) LONGEVITY > UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS I understand needing to exercise some serious discipline if you on a prep. If you aren’t doing one of those things you’ll need to ask yourself some questions. Why am I restricting the way that I am? Is my ideal body weight or physique going to be maintainable in the long run? Why am I having such a hard time adhering to my plan? Is this enough food for me or have I been trying to diet and now I’m just binging?
Ultimately, what is the longevity of your goal and plan? I completely resonate with having big goals and dreams. I think that is great! But hear me when I say that you will regret dieting so hard that you get down to a weight you can’t maintain in the long run. Only to rebound or forever be in the cycle of feeling like you messed up… You haven’t “messed” up. Your body and your mind can and should be pushed to their limits at times. But as cliché as it is, the truth is we are all human.
We all enjoy food. We should be able to while still reaching our goals without feeling like we need to hit any sort of “reset” button. Putting these points into play will help empower you to stay the course and keep your head held high even when things don’t go as expected.