So we’ve all been there. We start a diet and don’t finish it. We try everything, slim fast, adkins, diet pills, and the ever so nauseating cottage cheese diet. (Why?) Well finally, people are catching on to the whole eat clean “fad”. And I hope this fad turns into a lifestyle for many people, until death do them part. Yoyo dieting, the reason why everyone fails. One week of a strict diet plan, whatever it may be, and then a weekend of cupcakes and pasta. “Because I deserve it” What exactly are we trying to accomplish here? I am completely down with the whole treating yourself concept, but I find it bizarre that we feel we need to reward ourselves with food.
As if I’m not guilty of the feeling and craving to cheat on your diet, I simply find it hard to do. The diet starts and you’re motivated as anything. I mean, that’s why you started it in the first place isn’t it? Because you’re ready to change. Some people say the first week in is miserable. If it’s miserable, you haven’t mentally committed to your new lifestyle. You should be excited that first week. Trying out new foods, new healthy snack & dinner options. It’s fun. (or am I crazy?) You’re starting to feel detoxed and you’re finally noticing that you can do it. “Hey, this isn’t that bad” Now, I can’t blame you for feeling frustrated during say…week 2 or 3. That’s where I am right now. And speaking from experience, I hate this part. You haven’t cheated, you crave certain foods, and you wonder why you’re not at you’re goal weight yet. I’m such an idiot for having these thoughts, but I’m human, and we all, unfortunately, think this way. We have no patience. Therefore, I’m creating steps to get you through the days of hell that come with dieting. Dieting is a really personal experience. You get to know yourself more than you ever thought you could. You learn your emotions, trigger points, and methods for success. This post may get a little personal but, controlling your emotions is the first step to controlling your life. That is, if you have emotion.
Step One; Patience
You have to remember that results don’t happen overnight. It doesn’t take one week of eating plain chicken and veggies to reach your goals. And it doesn’t take countless hours on the elliptical machine, with no change in diet, to get there either. Last night I was feeling anxious, and impatient. I was sitting and second guessing myself. Wondering if I was doing everything I could to get where I needed to be, and why I wasn’t there yet. My friend and fellow Crossfitter sent me a quote,
It takes 4 weeks for you to see your body changing, 8 weeks for your friends and family, and 12 weeks for the rest of the world. Keep Going.
When you run out of patience, it triggers a lot of emotion. You feel like you want to give in and raid your pantry. You wake up and lose motivation to get out there and workout. You look at yourself and see no difference, when really, the most important difference starts with inside. The first month is a huge test of mind over matter. You’re testing out how badly you want to change, and how badly you want to feel better. They say results are 80% diet and 20% exercise. I completely agree. Though, in my opinion, your results count more on your mentality than anything.
Step Two; Change your Thoughts
I’m trying this new thing where I practice what I preach. I’m great at giving advice, but not so good at taking my own. I sometimes let my thoughts ruin my progress. Once I lose patience, my thoughts wander and my mind blows up. It moves a mile a minute and I typically want to give up. Recently I’ve trained my mind to stop thinking so negatively. When those thoughts pop up, I find many ways to distract and motivate myself (which will be talked about in the rest of the steps). If you’re feeling sluggish before a workout, take a breather and think about how good you’ll feel when it’s all over. Remember the feeling you get when you’re finished that run, and crave it.
Step Three; Breathe
If you’re feeling anxious, defeated, or hungry; breathe. Those lungs we have? Use them, control them. Lay down on your bed and just calm the hell down. What is so different about yesterday, say, a day you were feeling great about yourself, than today? Nothing except your lack of patience and crazy thoughts. So, we covered patience and the importance of controlling our thoughts. Now to control the ever so effortless act of breathing. Not only does the act of breathing keep you alive…it calms you down. I’m trying to explain what it does to your brain but I’m not a neurologist so… what I’m trying to say is that it helps your brain come back to reality. Breathe in with your nose, out with your mouth, and remember where you were when you started. Whether you’re 20 pounds down, 2 pounds down, on mile 2, or nothing, you’re doing a whole lot more than you were before you decided to change your life.
Step Four; Embrace Yourself
This is about to sound so corny but… if you feel like crap, try to reverse those feelings by reminding yourself how beautiful you are. Whether it’s in actions, or physically. Do something nice for someone. Surprise someone. But don’t forget about yourself. Here’s the weird part. I always had this little motto that I use, “Look good, feel good”. It’s not always the case with everyone, but it helps. If you really feel stressed from your new found lifestyle, put on a cute friggin outfit and go out to lunch or something. Take an obnoxious selfie. Take a picture of yourself in your sports bra. Or shorts, men. Don’t look at how far you have to go, look at how far you’ve come. And smile. Put on some makeup, if you’re into that. Try on some outfits, and think about how good you look, and how much better you’ll eventually look, and feel, if you keep going and fight off the craving to cheat. It sounds egotistical, and little high maintenance, but if you don’t think you’re awesome, no one else will. So…work it. Hair flip.
Step Five; Don’t Cheat
A moment on the lips is forever on the hips. Haha, but really. You’re that much closer to reaching your goals. Is it all really worth it? Food is damn good, but being healthy and happy is a lot better. You can do anything for a week, but can you do it for a month? Two months? You’re a certified bad ass if you can do that. It’s tough work. Mentally, physically, and emotionally draining. But it’s worth it. Plus, you wouldn’t cheat on your boyfriend would you? So don’t cheat on your diet. Same concept. Each lead you to lonely nights with Ben and Jerry, once again.
Step Six; If You Can’t Eat It, Don’t Buy It
There is no better idea to set yourself up for failure than to buy yourself unhealthy food for “later” or your “cheat meal”. Why the hell would you buy a pop tart, or ice cream, or a donut, if all you are gonna do is stare at it and dream about eating it? Hello, welcome to mid-diet torture. The only food you should keep around the house is the food that will make you better. There’s a time and a place for everything, and right now, nobody has time for Oreos that you’re saving to binge out on after you’ve lost five pounds. If it’s not around, you won’t eat it. If you have nothing unhealthy in your house to snack on, you won’t cheat. There is already enough temptation throughout everyday life, you don’t need to add it in the comfort of your own home.
Step Seven; Know Your Trigger Points
Just because you’re dieting doesn’t mean you have to skip out on social interaction. If you’re friends are making a quick trip to McDonalds for lunch, or your favorite restaurant with your favorite greasy food, I’d say that there are times when you can choose not to go. Sometimes you can go for the experience, to hang out with your friends, but not eat. But sometimes it’s not worth hearing people beg you to eat or telling you that one piece of pizza won’t kill you. Sure, it won’t, but it won’t help you. Know your trigger points. Know what restaurants to avoid. If there’s places you know you’ll slip at, avoid them. Suggest healthier restaurants, suggest your friends eat lunch at home. Also, stop looking at yourself. If you look at yourself long enough, you’ll create flaws, gain ten pounds, and probably grow a mustache. I know I stated before that you should take selfies, smile at yourself, and make yourself feel beautiful, but don’t get carried away. Mirrors are trigger points, they will either make or break you, depending on how long you look at yourself. And if you look long enough, you might change your view of yourself just enough to break that mirror. That’s seven years bad luck, and not to mention, embarrassing. Another thing that can stress you out while dieting is certain clothes. Don’t go to a store and try on products that you know have never flattered you, and expect to miraculously look like a super model one week after your diet starts. The most frustrating thing is to try on clothes and have them not fit, or just generally make you look horrible. You’re gonna want to sprint straight to the food court and get yourself a happy meal, or better yet, some Chinese food.
Step Eight; Don’t Listen To Anyone But Yourself
Your friends & family may not always be the best support system. You’re friends will tell you to skip the gym and go get pizza and beer, you’re family will wonder why you HAVE to workout. They will constantly ask you if you want seconds, if you want sweets, if you want this or that. They don’t understand that you have mentally committed to something, something that they may not be strong enough or willing to commit to. That’s completely fine with you, they don’t have to change their lifestyle, and they don’t necessarily have to support you. That’s what I mean when I say that this journey gives you the opportunity to really get to know ones self. You know how to say no, you know your trigger points, and you know what you want. And that’s change.