No matter what your goal or your starting point, if you apply the following advice to everyday life, you are more likely to succeed in everything, including your diet.
Given that what you eat, or how much you eat determines how you look and how you feel about yourself, attention needs to be turned to what really makes us want to look healthy, verses actually being healthy.
I am no nutritionist or dietitian, but the following advice is far more fundamental than WHAT you should eat. We are going to look at how you should view your diet and changes you make in a balanced, realistic way.
Unfortunately the health and fitness industry makes millions of dollars from constantly “feeding” into our insecurities and unrealistic expectations about what we SHOULD look like, what we SHOULD fit in to, what we SHOULD eat. They do this by hounding us with the latest diets (every few weeks), new amazing supplements, falsified before and after pictures, airbrushed models with the perfect six-pack abs we SHOULD aspire to. Personally, I am totally against the promotion of ONE “ideal” over variety in any setting, especially when it begins chipping away at our individuality. Yes, aspire to be healthier – but how can we do this when the image of “health” has its priorities all mixed up? I believe health is an intrinsic process that eventually reflects outwardly, not the other way around. Are the foundations of a house stuck on the outside looking pretty? NO! Health is what stops us sinking.
Tragically the fitness industry is turning into Hollywood – as in, we all need to look a certain way to be considered fit, healthy and successful. As a result of this powerhouse industry, there is always a new diet being marketed, with a new set of impossible rules to follow – which btw sets you up for failure right off the bat! Funny how most of these diets only seem to work for a few select photo-shopped individuals?! But this is part of the strategy, we need to be kept thinking there is a magic quick-fix to keep us hooked, to keep us buying the supplements, the ridiculous pieces of equipment that promise 4 minute miracles! They prey on the fact that if you don’t like yourself, you are going to be searching for an answer, a hope, a cure in all the wrong places. It compares to the endless search for the Holy Grail – which will never happen, under false pretence. The answers we all seek, lie much closer to home.
So this article is not going to contain meal plans, silly promises, 3 hourly meal interval advice, or in fact any diet challenges! Do you know why? Because we need to stop believing that our goals will be achieved by other means. We may be implementing the diet or taking part in the challenge, but until we take responsibility for our underlying relationship with food, we will never escape its hold. Any diet is only going to mask the original problem, until you can recognise and control it yourself. This is why diets fail, their designers know we want to deny our habits but, habits comes back with a bite. I believe if you focus on yourself, rather than the diet, you will succeed.
Here are 5 simple points that will help you make some changes to your diet, training, or anything really:
- Think long-term – there is no such thing as a quick-fix. If it seems too good to be true, then it IS!
- Don’t take drastic measures – you may get drastic results at first, but the body is about equilibrium and the body ALWAYS corrects extremes.
- Don’t beat yourself up – if you slip up, feel responsible yes, but not guilt – let the guilt go and turn it into determination for when you’re ready to try again. If you keep falling off the wagon, maybe this wagon is too extreme – remember points 1 and 2.
- Make the 80/20 deal – make smart choices 80% of the time, leaving a 20% margin of error. As there is no such thing as perfection, this is a pretty good deal
- Walk the walk – are you one of these people who talk about all the things they’re going to do, the changes they need to make and, the great science behind it all? If so, you’re stalling – STOP talking, and START walking!
As a nurse I have learned how the human body is a master at compensating for illness, disease and even trauma. Why then, would we expect any less of the human mind? So, STOP living in denial – this is a feet-on-the-ground reality check. Forget the fake images, forget the quick-fix diets, forget what you “should” be – REMEMBER you are in control and, you are in this for the long haul. It may be a bumpy road ahead, but change is never easy, nor should it be – start believing that and, you WILL succeed!