“It’s like climbing a staircase… I’m in the middle of the staircase… I look behind me and I see the steps… That’s where I was… I look forward ….and I see more stairs to climb…
Always be proud of what you have achieved! There’s always more to improve on and grow but don’t forget to look back to where you were!!! It’s progress! Be proud of it and keep moving forward because… “Rome wasn’t built in a day” ?
A year ago, just before 2016 began I decided I will be more committed to going to the gym and healthy eating. I didn’t truly realize until later that with my decision came changes and prioritization. I slowly realized that in order to succeed, the change has to be permanent. It’s a lifestyle change, after-all, what I preach. But, that surely is easier said than done.
Ever since then, I’ve been at the gym on average 3-4 days per week factoring-in vacation times when I didn’t go for a week or two, last year I don’t think I averaged more than 1-2 days per week, so this was progress. However, my goal this year was/is 5 days per week and at times my “all-or-nothing” mentality kicked in, mainly at the beginning of the year. “Didn’t workout, breakfast wasn’t the healthiest, so screw the rest of the day”. Sound familiar? This was something hard for me personally to overcome and I know is probably a tough one for many people as well to get back on track. The effect of this is also heightened if you have perfectionist tendencies like myself and that was the biggest part to overcome. Although significantly improved, I’m still working on it.
Change, as a psychologist once told me, is not a linear line…. In fact, it’s a cycle of slip-ups and getting back up, so don’t be hard on yourself when you slip, but get back up ASAP. Success, or change, as that psychologist reported, is measured by how much time you stay in the DOWN part of the cycle v.s getting back UP! With change, you WILL be DOWN for a time period in a cycle, but with time, you will learn to shorten the time you’re DOWN and lengthen the time you’re in the UP until the DOWN time becomes non-existent, now you have successfully created a new habit, and changed. Here’s the trick, she said, the process can take at least 6 months, usually 1 year, and sometimes……years. “OH S***!!”: I thought to myself (I am professional, I “swear” haha)…. But hey, it’s reality. The trick is making this transition as fast as possible. “How do I do that???”…. The answer is CONSISTENCY and moving forward EVEN WHEN THE WIND IS BLOWING IN YOUR FACE.
WARNING: This is NOT easy, but “what comes easy won’t last long, and what lasts long won’t come easy”. It’s a choice, a decision, something to think about WHY is it important? I myself sometimes struggle with the answer, but it’s important to FIND THE ANSWER and let it remind you of the reason why to push harder during those DOWN times.
Here’s an important thought, when one meal goes wrong, do you think it ruins your entire day? Week? Month? Year? If you get right back on track, this slip up, in the grand scheme of things, is not going to set you off. If you do ruin your whole day because of the “all-or-nothing” mentality, then, yes, it could set you back more than a one off-meal would.
I learned that small changes go a long way. But then there were times when I just wanted to completely flip my diet 180, because, that way, I would see “more results”. What that did, most of the time, is just set me back to where I started. This is because none of these small changes had actually become permanent. When you stop focusing on one change at a time, and decide to “change it all”, it becomes UNREALISTIC and then you give up and re-start, saying to yourself,: “I’ll make small changes”….haha yeah right…NO you don’t usually say that… After a slip-up, you usually say: “I am going to restrict more this time, I am going to stick to it more”…In the it, feel free to insert any “fad diet” out there….liquid diet, the 7 day cleanse of all times, raw diet, veggies only diet, pineapple diet, Pineapple-Apple-Pen diet (Jussssst kidding, get it? get it? haha), you get the point. This becomes unrealistic yet again and you’re BACK IN THE CYCLE. And guess what? NOTHING CHANGED! Your habits are the same, weight still the same (or more as a yo-yo dieting bonus usually). My advice here is to set small goals. I know it will take longer to “see results” but in the grand scheme of things, it’s actually faster, healthier, and more sustainable than yo-yo dieting, which leads to temporary results, disappointment and getting back in the cycle of death, I mean, the yo-yo dieting cycle ?
1. Lattes can be high in fat and sugar, choose skim milk, half sweet and no whip cream to still enjoy the latte- a healthier version, however still delicious ? I understand that it is not the same, however, it takes 6-8 weeks for your taste buds to adjust to less sugar, less salt, less fat, while still finding satisfaction and palatability.
2. With the holiday season, we are surrounded by many Christmas parties, and buffets. At a buffet?? Fill half your plate with vegetables, quarter with protein (chicken, fish, beef, tofu) and the other quarter starch (bread, rice, potatoes) to create a healthy plate! For dessert, fill on delicious fruits and choose one favourite dessert ? IT’S THAT EASY! hahahahaha you’re probably thinking…”yeah right, Hannah, it’s not that easy”. Here’s what can help, now that you know what’s the best course of action, the next step is actually following it, right? It’s a bit of a mental game, I must say. I understand that you have paid for this and psychologically, sure, you want YOUR MONEY’S WORTH! Fair enough, trust me, I get it haha, but joke aside, what about your health’s worth? What’s your health worth? It shouldn’t be hard, right? Your health should be more important, but why do most people still overeat at buffets? People simply FORGET about their HEALTH. Trick is being MINDFUL, again, remember the cycle of change, this will NOT happen overnight, but choose one or two goals to focus on and be mindful of them to create change.
3. Breakfast is a very important meal of the day- gets you going and kicks-in your metabolism- don’t skip it! It doesn’t have to be complicated. Food in the morning is better than no food, even if it’s just cereal, or a couple of scrambled eggs, start with something, always! If you can aim to include fruits and vegetables, protein (eggs, beans, cheese, peanut butter) and a starch such as bread, potatoes, this way you are including a variety in your meal and I encourage you to do the same for the rest of the meals as well.
4. Alcohol? Yeah we do call it empty calories, as those calories are easily digested and alcoholic beverages do not usually contribute any form of nutrients to your diet, i.e “empty”– Include 1-2 drinks and stop yourself there. Again, if this is something you personally struggle with, set some realistic goals and go from there.
5. It’s so important to know the difference between physical and emotional hunger! Start journaling and pay attention to your hunger cues. This strategy works with many of my patients… Self-awareness and self-acceptance is the first step to success! Then, setting appropriate goals is necessary based on that awareness!!
WHATEVER your goal may be, remember to set realistic goals, I can also help you with that if you’re struggling or unsure where to start. Remember to not be so hard on yourself and embrace the journey, we often forget to do that. Change is not easy, but keep fighting and you’ll get there.
I hope you found this helpful and if you need help reaching your goals, contact me on the “contact form” on this page, I am happy to connect with you and provide the needed help.
Stay strong and keep fighting!
Hannah Deacon, RD