[Posted 20 February 2019]
Does the following scenario sound familiar to you?
You ate a healthy breakfast this morning. You avoided the office donuts. Then it was a little later than usual before you could eat lunch and your appetite is stronger than usual. You planned on eating what you brought with you but now it isn’t sounding so appetizing anymore and you worry it’s not going to fill you up. You instead go eat a double cheeseburger, fries, and large soda. Now the guilt sets in..
“I BLEW IT.” You say. “So much for eating healthy today…”
Then you proceed to binge eat with that office donut you passed on earlier that morning, “I may as well, I already messed up today.” You get home and decide to heat up some microwave junk food instead of spending the time to cook that nice dinner you had planned. “I’ll save that for tomorrow.” You ruined your diet so you may as well not do that workout you had planned for tonight. “I feel gross, and it’s not going to make any difference now anyway.”
Back it up.
This mindset of fitness being “All or Nothing” absolutely ruins people. It stops you from maintaining a level of consistency that gets you long term results. You typically don’t make a lifestyle change in a day. It takes gradually getting better at something before it will become habitual.
People seem to too often violently attack their fitness goals with very little empathy for themselves. They start off seeing themselves as “Bad” or “A Failure” in some way and aggressively try to change it all in a moment. Then the first time it doesn’t go perfectly they beat themselves down with negative thoughts and words. You become your own worst enemy.
You may very well have been doing it wrong all these years and indeed put yourself in a bad position with your health but that is highly unlikely to change overnight no matter how badly you want the change when your head is on straight. It takes time. You have to have patience, and empathy for yourself when you mess up. Without those you will not be able to recover from making a mistake.. And read this line several times: you are going to make mistakes.
In our scenario above… a simple change of mindset that occurs by having empathy for ourselves and patience with the situation changes the entire course of the day and greatly minimizes whatever mistake you made rather than ecaserbate it.
You ate a healthy breakfast this morning. Then it was a little later than usual before you could eat lunch and your appetite is stronger than usual. You plan on eating what you brought with you but now it isn’t sounding so appetizing anymore or you worry it’s not going to fill you up now and you instead go eat a double cheeseburger, fries, and large soda. Now the guilt sets in.. but this time you acknowledge it for what it is and move on.
“I BLEW IT. But it’s just lunch.. Only one meal of the day. I’ve done well all morning so I know I am capable of sticking to my plan so I’ll keep trying.”
Once back at work you continue to avoid the office donuts; you know you can avoid them because you already did so this morning. You get home and make the healthy dinner you had planned and you feel good about sticking to your dinner choice. You feel confident and energized over the good choices you’ve made all afternoon and at dinner and you then go get your workout in right on schedule. You feel great, and you gained experienced handling your challenges and getting over a mistake. Now next time it will be a little easier.
That’s how you stay consistent, and staying consistent gets results.
Being able to acknowledge, learn from, and move past your mistakes helps in every aspect of life. If you learn this skill with your fitness you can apply it to everything in life. “All or Nothing” just doesn’t work. Humans make mistakes. Mistakes are how we learn. Even if your mistake is a huge one, or if it goes on for a long time in a series of bad choices…(let’s put it in all caps)
YOU CAN ALWAYS DECIDE TO START MAKING GOOD CHOICES AGAIN.
So the next time you think you’ve blown it. Think again. Then start again.
“You don't have to be great at something to start, but you have to start to be great at something.”
- Zig Ziglar