When it comes to weight loss or the goal of improving one’s health, good intentions are generally at the forefront. However, it is in our biological nature to seek out pleasure and avoid pain. This makes sense and works for us in a lot of instances. Unfortunately, we are even more hardwired for immediate gratification.
It is well known that our society does not make it easy (product placement, tv ads, billboards etc), and on top of that, we have emotional and psychological thoughts/baggage as well as physical addictions affecting the way we chose to live and the foods we choose to eat.
While it is not always the easy choice to eat healthy and exercise, with a little practice it becomes as second nature as current unhealthy behaviors. Unhealthy foods and a sedentary life are the easy choice due to the convenience and the encouragement and enticement from food manufacturers, sedentary jobs and an incredibly long to-do list.
But would you believe me if I told you that once you shift your habits you will start craving whole foods like fruits and vegetables and even exercise? The body is very efficient and adapts quickly if given the chance…
Embarking on a weight loss or healthy lifestyle overhaul is a life long journey and takes commitment. It is not a number of pounds lost, or a period of time that once reached is over. This is your life; it is a process.
1. All or Nothing Attitude:
An all or nothing attitude more often than not sets you up for failure before you start and gives those looking for it, an easy out. For example “See, I told you I cannot do this”…”I only lasted 2 day’s before I [cheated]”.
We all know there is no such thing as perfection and changing lifestyle habits without a setback or two is unrealistic.
Just because you blew it for a meal/day/weekend/week or month does not mean you are doomed. What it does mean is that you have a fresh perspective on what you struggle with, what you can do in the future to help avoid it and some psychological background into your thought process about foods. Are you an emotional eater? A social eater/drinker? Is it your identity? Is it all of the above?
If you take the time to examine your thoughts and emotions you will gain invaluable knowledge and insight. Food choices and exercise are something that will be a part of your life until the end and there is no better time than now to start moving in a direction with small changes such as add leafy greens to your diet daily, incorporating a nutrient packed smoothie after a workout, or eating a healthy breakfast daily? Pick one thing and start small!
2. Focusing on Calorie Counting/Restriction V.S. Nutrient Density.
This is one of the most common mistakes.
*Photo courtesy photos-public-domain.com
Diet is the foundation of your health. What you put in your body is directly correlated to your waistline and overall health. Choosing to eat nutrient dense, whole foods, lowers your daily calorie intake with ease while increasing the nutrient profile naturally. This automatically leads to weight loss and disease prevention all while slowing the aging process. It is difficult to eat “too many” calories from whole foods as they are often high in water, fiber and many whole foods contain very few calories in comparison to their processed food counterparts.
Calorie restriction on the other hand is often necessary if your diet is comprised entirely or even partly of processed foods or heavy in animal products. Processed foods are packaged and often pack a high amount of calories into a small serving all the while stripping away fiber and nutrients – Key building blocks to a healthy diet.
A diet comprised of whole foods is high in micronutrients and low in macronutrients giving you the best of both worlds.
One of the best things about this approach is that it can be achieved without counting calories or severely restricting food intake by simply making the bulk of your food choices those high in nutrients and low in calories. Furthermore, cravings tend to go by the wayside as your body is receiving all the nutrients it needs.
Check out our Fit Flyer App for recipes that fit the bill and that will last throughout your entire 4 day trip! Below is an explanation of a macronutrient v.s. a micronutrient and foods with good ratios.
Macronutrient – Source of calories: Carbohydrate, Fat, Protein
Micronutrient – Provide superior nutrition: Do not contain calories but carry out specific and essential rolls in the human body for proper function and health. Vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients etc. found in food (not supplements).
Micronutrient intake is the most critical component of your overall health and longevity!
General foods that contain the highest levels of micronutrients and lower values of macronutrients: Leafy greens, non starchy vegetables, berries, fruits, legumes, certain grains (quinoa, millet, amaranth etc.). It takes 28 days for your tastebuds to change – so stick with it until your body has time to catch up to your mind!
3. Unrealistic Goals & Miss Guided Focus
Feeling overwhelmed is not uncommon when embarking on a new lifestyle and is not always a bad thing. However, if not careful, taking on too much at once can leave you feeling helpless and defeated.
Most of the daily choices you make are not actually choices at all. Did you know that roughly half of the “decisions” you make on a daily basis are not consciously chosen as much as they are performed out of habit as Charles Duhigg from The Power Of Habit so eloquently points out.
Getting to your current space did not happen overnight and getting back out is not going to happen overnight. To make lasting change you must shift your perspective on food, health and what it entails. It takes commitment until the “new” becomes habit.
Developing a habit can take varying amounts of time depending on how complex and involved the said habit is. However, on average, according to Papasan & Keller from The One Thing it takes about 66 days. This means, you need to buckle down and have focus and willpower for about 66 days until your new desired behavior becomes ingrained and automatic.
Finally, one of the most important things to take into consideration is what your motivation is in the first place. Humans are just like all other species in that we often do things out of necessity and to avoid pain. So, what is your pain point? Why are you making this change and is it painful enough to push you through about 66 days of consciously choosing your actions?
Here are some tips that might help with making lifestyle changes:
Choose 1 thing at a time (don’t try to get 5 boulders to the top of the mountain at once!)
Start small and take baby steps
Try new things to keep it exciting: cooking classes, exercise classes, a new sport etc.
Self discovery – spend time really thinking about the life you want and tangible steps you can take to attain that life.
Change your perspective. Instead of saying “I can’t have that” (victim) say “I don’t eat that” (empowered)
Knowledge is power. Even a few articles that explain the details of how certain foods react in the body or how the body responds to different types of exercise can go a long way.
What healthy choice are you going to make today? Remember, you are the only one who holds the cards and make the decisions about your life…And now is just as good a time as any to stack the deck in your favor :).