That time of the week again? Motivation deserted you? The will to carry on doing what your goals require long since waned? Roger that!
But what now, you waiting for Monday or wondering how you will get back on track, doing what you said you would?
I like many others have posted about this before, short little things, tough love, empathy, “Monday restarts” and “Friday remember your goals”. And I’ll keep doing that because they are reminders, little nudges and me raising my hand saying “yup, me too!”.
But wouldn’t you like to need these less? Should we stop thinking about being “on track”, winning all the time. Or maybe this is just the cycle of things and accepting this means you can roll between what you consider “on it” and “not ideal”.
Oh yeah right, effortlessly eating ice cream one minute and putting it down the next, hitting our training and macros. That easy right?
Actually yes! But its a learned skill, and you probably dont have it right now.
You have been conditioned to believe in being on track, crushing your goals or being a complete failure and needing something new and shinney to kick start you back into action. Wait until the New Year comes. Ffs you will be bombarded with resolution tips, diets for 2019 and whatever other B$ the Daily Mail and Metro haul out to cajole or guilt you into action.
Scroll around on Instagram for long enough and you’ll find some shredded dude telling you how he is eating ice cream every day and is ripped year round. Yeah not that! That’s more B$, but you might notice they call it flexible dieting.
At its heart flexible dieting really acknowledges that people enjoy foods, drinks and activities which dont always serve their goals. How flexible in your approach you are determines how long or how close you get to ideal.
An ideal approach rarely works for normal people, with jobs, families, kids. You know a life!
Almost no one has the discipline or situation to stick to a strict diet, allowing themselves no break, calories in check, hitting their macros every day without fail. Arguably they probably shouldn’t either because this brings its own issues, often mental health ones (thats for another day).
But for us mortals, your first lesson is understanding that everyone struggles! No one gets it right every day and any diet plan that expects super strict adherence all the time for success isn’t one that works long term.
The reasons for struggling are many and varied, I dont know what struggles you have, how many responsibilities you have to juggle but I do know with almost certainty there is something. You have responsibilities, external factors, you have a vice, you have a trigger, you have something or many things which move you away from ideal.
Everyone loves something that isnt helping them
Ice cream, cheese, bread, chocolate, sweets, wine, beer? Everyone has a vice that trips them up when dieting. They enjoy that food or drink, they cannot moderate their consumption of it. There is a lot to talk about here (beyond the scope of this article) exploring why these things, why you reach for them, whats the reason you cannot moderate and the responses will be individual.
Whats not unique though is that we all have something we like to consume that takes us away from ideal.
What are the lovely successful people doing?
Whilst there are plenty of people struggling and restarting regularly, amongst them there is a new breed who know themselves and accept themselves a little more. They seem to be in decent shape (not the ripped ice cream dude, he has issues or is a liar) and you don’t hear them talking about starting a new diet, restarting on Monday or getting back on track. Instead they seem to have their shit together, what are they doing?
You know the kind right? They have a biscuit with their coffee and the occasional chocolate bar, they don’t worry about a bit of cake at work or going for a couple of beers. Most likely they are active but not exclusively.
Whether they do it consciously or its via a set of habits they learnt through life they are keeping their calories in check. Fast metabolism or highly active, all just factors in that equation or labels you use! However you cut it, over time, they dont consume more calories than their body demands to meet its basic needs and additional activity requirements.
Over the weeks and months they are regulating their intake, adjusting up or down based on meals or snacks consumed. It might be consciously skipping the bread at dinner because they had a decent lunch, or subconsciously eating a smaller portion. They may be well tuned into their bodies hunger and satiety cues, they might eat very similar things in similar amounts day in day out.
They aren’t spending time stressing about staying on track or thinking about when they are going to “get back to it”. Nope, its just part of daily life. However they got it, they have the skills and awareness, the mindfulness or the ability to intuitively know how to adjust continually. B$tards!
How do I learn this shit?
Before you disappear off and sack it all off, you can learn this stuff. Whatever those people who are succeeding have, it can be learned. They might have got it naturally but its 100% available to everyone with a little work, honesty and discipline.
The missing pieces for you will be among the following, could be all of them or just a few
Alright, what the actual f? You want me to think about what I’m eating, be present when eating and avoid distractions. All so I can be in better control, have more knowledge and make better decisions? Yup that!
Practically start by slowing down, observing how you feel when you eat and perhaps giving yourself 10 minutes between deciding to eat and actually starting. We aren’t trying to get all zen, rather you need to know and observe what you are doing.
Stopping when you are full
I know you love your mum and she said “finish your dinner and clear your plate”. But your mum whilst well intentioned was full of shit, she didn’t realise that you would apply this principle to your plate, your kids plate and hoover up all the leftovers.
So lets start fresh here, when you feel full STOP eating. Leave the rest, box it up for tomorrows lunch, or just let it go. If its a waste today, make less tomorrow!
Feeling full is your bodies way of saying “alright man, enough now, we are busy processing that and anything else you shovel in is getting dumped on your arse”.
Moderating your intake around what you already ate today, not when its time to eat again
Quick its “lunch time”, we need to eat! But do you really need to eat? Are you actually hungry? What if you didn’t eat and had a later lunch or perhaps just dinner. Its not as bonkers as it sounds, how about we agree that you don’t eat unless you are hungry regardless of the time of day?
Oh sorry you “have to attend that client dinner”, “its an important social event”?! No drama, you’ll learn to plan better and moderate your intake in preparation for future eating events, rather than spending your day rumbling from one feed to the next.
Saying “no” sometimes
Its not, no cake ever. Its not, no more chocolate fatty. You need to reframe this as no cake “today” (because you already ate, have an event coming up) or perhaps you are full. Maybe it doesn’t actually look that good anyway.
When we say “no” indefinitely our brain doesn’t like it and immediately starts craving what you said it couldn’t have anymore. Stop trying to fight that and instead acknowledge that you will eat cake again, crush a chocolate bar and probably smash a few beers from time to time.
Get educated about the principles
There is only so much I can convey in one article, and this wont solve everything for you. You have to take some responsibility for your current state and apply some discipline long term. This is why an investment in the basic principles of nutrition are pretty handy. No you dont need to learn about the krebs cycle or denovo-lipogenesis!
But if you need to lose weight you need a calorie deficit, eating a good amount of protein daily and getting plenty of veggies in will probably help!
You will probably have to get “back on track” and “restart monday” a few more times, but investing in learning some skills, adjusting some habits will help long term. It wont happen tomorrow and there is no quick fix but imagine being that chick who has their shit together, being that guy who seems to maintain his weight whatever the circumstances.