Have you ever tried an extreme diet? What about a crazy hard workout plan?
I bet the first couple days weren’t that bad, but at some point it was just too much to handle (or the extreme diet finished) and you went right back to old habits.. am I right?
This is a common story.. diets that promise amazing results in a short period of time, or workout plans that claim will give you abs in a few weeks are tempting!
Take a juice ‘cleanse’ for example- seven days of natural juices to ‘detox and clean out’ your body, and help you lose a bunch of weight super fast.
Why do you think they’re only meant to be seven days long?
Its because these cleanses don’t offer the nutrients or calories that you need tu survive and thrive. And all of the weight you lost? It’s mostly water, and when you start eating ‘normally’ again you’ll just gain it all back.
Not to mention… your body is literally designed to detoxify itself! No need to drink juices to help the process. But my point is this- an extreme or highly restrictive diet WILL NOT give you the results you want…. and do you really want to lose weight that you’re just going to gain right back?
If this is the case, why do we continue to go to extremes in our diets or exercise plans, when moderation and consistency is REALLY what is going to offer the results you want?
Extreme diets promise fast results
Extreme diets or workout plans promise fast results.. but do you really want FAST results, or do you want results that last?
Here we have two problems.
One, social media makes us believe that extreme diets are necessary to see ‘the best’ results, and make unsustainable diets seem like the norm- but unfortunately in the long term they are almost impossible to maintain (and tend to be pretty unhealthy).
Two… consistency doesn’t sell as well.
Its not sexy to tell someone that the keys to fat loss and a killer body are to eat slowly, eat more vegetables and lean protein sources, and reduce their intake of processed food.
But it sounds super sexy to say that all you need to do is eliminate carbs or start intermittent fasting and voilá, you’ll have the perfect body.
In the long term, consistency is sexy AF
Consistency is actually pretty sexy… but it takes effort and a mindset shift.
Consistency lets you be flexible with your nutrition and exercise. It helps you enjoy what you eat- because a strict, restrictive diet is NOT the key to long term success.
However, in order to stay consistent, you have to let go of the black/white diet rules and start to take responsibility for your nutrition and health. The problem is that this is intimidating at first- especially if you struggle to trust yourself to make the ‘right’ decisions about your nutrition. In the short term, it seems easier to follow a diet… even if you don’t like it, you have to think a lot less.
How do you define consistency?
Consistency requires you to establish a set of healthy habits that you can complete almost every day… for ever. Consistency is about finding patterns in your nutrition and health that you can continue to practice over and over. Eating only salads every day from Monday-Friday, and then pizza, cookies and beer all weekend is NOT consistency. Think of it as a range- not an on/off switch.
For example, for my clients consistency would look like this…
Eating a variety of different veggies and fruit each day, choosing mostly unprocessed (whole) foods, moving their bodies most days of the week, and prioritizing their sleep most nights.
Are there some weeks that this is harder for them to achieve than others? OF COURSE!
But part of staying consistent is RETURNING to your baseline even if you’ve had a tough day or week or even month. It’s NOT about falling off the wagon and then having to get back on it! And the best part? My clients don’t have to follow crazy or strict diets, and it becomes easy for them to maintain their progress in the long term.
How can you create your own consistency?
Define what is important to you.
If you have kids, maybe that is having the energy to play with them on the weekends.
If you are an athlete, maybe it is maintaining a certain body composition or level of strength in order to excel in your sport.
Think about this in terms of your WHOLE life- do you want to be leaner, but you love to write on your blog where you rate pizza restaurants? Then maybe what is important to you is finding how to balance your much-loved pizza intake with more veggies and lean proteins throughout the week.
Establish your ‘minimum requirements’
This is the bare minimum you will dedicate your efforts to achieving each week. Be realistic! If you currently work 80+ hours a week, lifting weights for 2 hours a day, 4 days a week might not be realistic right now. Start with 30 minutes a day, 3-4 days a week of high intensity functional or CrossFit style training. If you NEVER cook, you could start by preparing your own breakfast every day, not by meal prepping all of your lunches right off the bat!
Create a supportive environment.
Share your goals with the people around you, and work on improving your physical environment.
Ask your boyfriend to cook with you on a Friday night instead of going out for burgers, or change gyms so that you can attend the gym that is closest to your home or work instead of paying for the super fancy gym far away that you NEVER go to.
Clean out your kitchen so you no longer have cookies or ice cream in the house, and don’t even walk down the cookie aisle at the grocery store. Keep fruits and veggies in a place where you can easily see them.
The more your environment reflects your goals, the easier it will be for you to stay consistent in achieving them.
Track and evaluate progress.
Take note of the days that you reach your minimum requirements- it can be a simple check mark, or a note in your calendar.
If you are completing them more often than not, you’re heading in the right direction.
Maybe you find that you were too ambitious, and some of these “requirements” are too much for you right now.
That is totally fine- go back and reassess. If you find that they are habits that you don’t even need to really think about any more, congratulations!
Repeat. Change is a constant, evolving process- your life is not static, and your goals won’t be either! It is OK for you to change what consistency looks like for you at different points in your life.
Are you ready to break up with extreme diets?
Stop ‘falling off the wagon’. Download my free guide to how to start establishing more consistency in your life so you can leave the black and white thinking, on and off the diet mentality forever.
And for personalized support, or to learn more about how my coaching programs can work for you, send me a message so we can set up a free assessment chat!