Change is HARD…But That’s Okay

Recently, I had a member of the gym come to me for advice about his fat loss progress….or lack thereof. By his account, he was working out regularly, pushing himself in the gym, and eating reasonably well. Since I see him working hard in the gym all the time, I inquired about an average day of eating. His diet generally consisted of a protein smoothie with a couple of cups of berries or other fruit for breakfast, maybe a salad or sandwich for lunch, and mostly protein and veggies with the occasional starch for dinner.

“But after dinner is when I always have a hard time. Sometimes I have ice cream, but most nights I just eat pistachios. They’re healthy right? I love them, but I buy them in bulk, sit on my couch with the bag, and eat them while I watch TV at night. I probably eat at least 2 or 3 cups a night, and that’s probably too many, right?”

Right indeed, my friend! From an outsider’s perspective, it seems pretty apparent that 2 or 3 cups daily of a calorically dense food like pistachios could offset the rest of his good eating and exercise habits. The gentleman was even able to identify that this was probably the reason behind his stalled results.

I recommended that he should try to address the pistachio issue by sticking to a single serving (only a handful!) after dinner, and seeing if that improved his results. I could immediately tell by his reaction that this wasn’t what he wanted to hear, though deep down he knew that I was probably right.

Just a few days later, we crossed paths again and I asked how things were going. He danced around my questions about his progress in limiting his pistachio intake, but instead offered his new “solution.”

“Hey, what do you think is the best type of fruit for my shake in the morning? I think I’m going to try strawberries instead….I heard that bananas aren’t good for you.”

Polar bear facepalm. Go U Bears!

It’s not about the fruit…

Oh boy. I’ve seen this scenario play out so many times and with so many people. It comes down to the fact that this person from the gym didn’t want to make the changes necessary to see results. He wanted to make only the changes that were EASY, the ones that didn’t require any sacrifice or effort, and have that be enough. He felt it was easier to swap fruits in his smoothie than to try to change his nighttime habits (even though his pistachio routine was costing him 690 calories PER CUP).

I’m sorry, but just because it’s what you WANT to do to achieve fat loss, doesn’t mean it’s going to cut it. Sometimes you need to accept that the changes you have to make for the results you want to see will be HARD.

We just hate to be uncomfortable, don’t we? We look for the easiest, quickest, most thoughtless diet we can find to try to do the work of fat loss and body transformation FOR us.

“I love to have a few glasses of wine every night to unwind…but I really need to lose at least 40 lbs!”

“Show me the one ab exercise that is FINALLY going to turn my mushy belly into washboard abs, once and for all!”

“If I don’t eat any carbs all day long, I can offset the damage from my nightly bingefest from after dinner until bedtime, right?”

We will do everything in our power try to avoid the real issues, our real emotional hang-ups and behaviors that prevent us from seeing lasting change….even when we know exactly what those issues are!

But in the long term, you can’t cheat your way through it. You can’t half ass it. You have to make a change and be uncomfortable in your new habits for a bit. Like every other new skill or practice, it WILL get easier over time. You can’t expect that this process will be effortless! It should kind of suck to make these changes. EMBRACE THE SUCK! Stay focused on your goals, that far off destination of where your changes will ultimately take you, and start slogging through, one day at a time. Eventually, the process will become automatic (i.e., a habit!) and just something that you do. Ta da! You’ve successfully overcome the suck and achieved real and lasting change!

Take a real, honest look at what may be holding you back from your goals right now. If you really don’t know what it is, get a coach. Otherwise, it’s time to dig in and get to work.

For example, if you struggle with overeating, especially at night after dinner, YOU HAVE TO FIGURE OUT A WAY TO NOT OVEREAT AT NIGHT. Look at the rest of your day and make sure you’re eating enough of the right foods (especially protein), and work to establish new nighttime routines.

Mindless snacking all day long? Keep a journal, and be accountable to yourself or to a coach.

Social drinking taking over your life? Learn to say no, drink club soda, and start working to change the focus of your social engagements away from alcohol.

That’s it. Identify the behavior that is holding you back from you goals, and CHANGE IT.

I know, I know; I’m a huge party pooper.

But guess what? If the changes you’re trying to make feel hard and yucky and uncomfortable at first….they’re working. People don’t change by performing the same behaviors over and over again.

If you want to look, feel and perform drastically differently from where you are today, you ultimately will have to make drastically different choices on a regular basis.

http://sunnycycleps.com/pma/index.php Big changes come from making big changes. (Not that you have to make ALL the changes ALL at once, of course…)

Do NOT fear tackling a change because it will be hard. The “hard” is what makes the journey to success so rewarding.

I hope you guys get the tough love here. Yes, I want you to make small manageable changes that will STICK over time, because if your behavioral changes don’t stick then you’ll loop right back to where you started.

Many of you know exactly what your biggest struggle is with food…I get your emails! So let me know, in the comments or on Facebook, what is ONE way you can start to tackle those struggles head on?

Always here to help,

Jamie

 

5 Tips to Coexist with Candy

Easter is right around the corner, and for many, Passover Seders just behind us. There is chocolate covered matzo leftover in my fridge, and I’ve been steering my husband away from rows and rows of Peeps in the grocery store for weeks now.

Me and one of my Peeps. We may seem like BFF's, but really, I'm much more of a Reese's girl.

Me and one of my Peeps. We may seem like BFF’s, but really, I’m much more of a Reese’s girl.

If you’ve got a fat loss goal, these highly marketed, food-centric holidays can be stressful! You want to stay true to your goals, but the brightly colored treats are everywhere! Most likely, you’ll be bringing some of it into your home for your families, or you will be met with leftovers come Monday.  If you struggle with mindless snacking, then is it illegal to buy viagra online in canada the presence of these addictive foods creates a real threat to your progress.  

I totally get it. For me, the special occasions and get-togethers themselves are fairly easy to navigate, because I can anticipate the challenge and plan for it. I always tell my clients to enjoy their holidays with family and friends, and make your treats “worth it,” but then move on and be done with it. Easier said than done, though! Enjoying food with loved ones in reasonable portions, check. Getting home from a long day and seeing those leftover candies sitting on my counter though…now that’s a bit tougher to resist.

Because we think that if it’s there, we need to eat it, right? We couldn’t possibly bear to let it go to waste! That’s like throwing money down the toilet…even if each piece of candy probably cost only a few pennies.

 

Just because it was free, doesn't mean you need to eat it. Besides, discovering its true hollow nature is always disappointing.

Just because it was free, doesn’t mean you need to eat it. Besides, discovering its true hollow nature is always disappointing.

Some thoughts and ideas on managing the upcoming challenges:

5) Out of sight, out of mind! Tuck the candy up on the highest shelf in your cupboards. There’s no need to have a bowl of M&M’s sitting out in the open all day long.

4) Make it easy to avoid or resist leftovers. Don’t buy your candy in bulk; it’s cheap enough already. If you need a lot of candy for an Easter egg hunt or for lots of young guests, opt for varieties that are easier for you to pass up or throw away when they inevitably get left behind after everyone goes home.

3) Make healthier or at least homemade alternatives. Obviously this is more expensive and time consuming than the standard holiday fare, so let your frugality work FOR you by portioning out and savoring these “higher cost” treats. Additionally, you’ll be ingesting much higher quality ingredients than what you’d get from the store.

2) Remember that candy exists year round. You can have any type of candy your heart desires within minutes, or at worst, within a couple of days. Peeps come in all kinds of animal shapes and colors, and are always available in stores. Cadbury eggs, jelly beans, Reese’s pieces and all the other crap that’s marketed for Easter are not really THAT “special,” so don’t let the seasonal packaging make you feel like you’ll be missing out if you don’t buy now.

1) Write down your own plan. Include your long term goal and WHY you want to achieve it, along with specific standards that you know you will be able to attain. You need to really be honest with yourself on this one. Don’t write that you will skip starches at Easter Brunch to account for a little extra chocolate later in the day if you KNOW you can’t say “no” to your aunt’s famous stuffed French toast.

Your plan doesn’t need to (and shouldn’t) be about perfection, either. It’s okay for your plan to allow yourself free range with candy for a day. One sugar-filled day will not ruin all of your progress, unless you really go overboard. In that case, your plan may not set ANY restrictions on food quality, but instead aim to pay attention to whatever it is you decide to eat…and in many instances, that mindfulness will be enough to minimize any negative impact on your body composition!

 

I’d love to know: What is your plan for getting through this crazy, candy-filled weekend?? If you need some ideas for reasonable but attainable goals for the weekend, be sure to subscribe to my newsletter! by entering your email address over to the right!

Always here to help,

Jamie

Set It and Forget It: Great for Chicken, Bad for Goals

Last week we discussed how to set goals. Basically, figure out where you want to ultimately be, then determine the behaviors your will need to get there, without necessarily having an “end date” for completion.

Here we are, seven days later…

How are those goals going for you? Are you seven days closer to achieving them?

I sure hope so!

For some of you, though, maybe not. You probably read my post and decided you would figure out your goal behaviors later, after scrolling through Facebook a bit longer. You probably thought, “Yup! I’ve got my goal: lose 20 lbs! Starting my sugar free, high protein, low carb diet tomorrow!”

But did you follow up and take action towards those goals?

Getting started can be tough. You are required to do more than just want to be different…you actually have to act in a different way. You have to fight your instincts and habits and possibly experience some serious discomfort in doing so. You have to stay mindful and focused on your goals, even when the alternative for immediate gratification is calling your name.

 

I LOVE cereal. But this continental breakfast surrounding me is not going to get me closer to my goals. Besides, that's not enough cereal...

I LOVE cereal. But this continental breakfast surrounding me is not going to get me closer to my goals. Besides, that’s not enough cereal…

In The Willpower Instinct, the authors discuss that we always believe our “future selves” to be healthier, more virtuous, and more dedicated than our “current selves.” We always lay more work on our “future selves,” thinking that they will be able to make the changes we want to see. This is a bit more than just procrastinating, though. We are actually convinced that tomorrow we will be able to make better decisions than today. We justify eating tonight’s indulgence with the promise of making sacrifices tomorrow…but when the future finally arrives, we’re back in the present again and our new “current selves” make the same old choices we’ve always made.

So, once you’ve set your goals and the path to get there, how do you actually set out to make change?

Avoid the Trap of “Set It and Forget It”

Don't let your goals sit unattended!

Good for chicken, bad for goals. Don’t let your goals sit unattended!

Setting goals is really fun. Who doesn’t love the start of a new workout or diet plan? But your goals mean NOTHING if you don’t start acting on them. And they mean NOTHING if you don’t work towards them regularly.

Intentions are great. Actions are better.

Sit down and make sure that your goals are written out. Make sure you know why you want to achieve them, why your goals are worthy of your effort.

This time tomorrow, look at your goals again. Continually remind yourself what you are working for, and that you need to stay focused on your long term success. The more you reread and connect to your goals and reasons for trying to make change, the less likely the chance of you “forgetting” about what them and putting them off until tomorrow. This action takes the distance away from your goals. Your goals are with you, right here, right now, and you have a wonderful opportunity TODAY to get yourself a little bit closer to them.

A few examples:

In The Power of Full Engagement, the authors emphasize connecting to your goals and core values as the primary step towards improving your life.  One example is a client who keeps kept an index card in the visor of his car with his business goals and core values (i.e., excellence, open communication) on one side, and his family values on the other (i.e., family is the number one priority, being present with family). He would read over his professional goals and values on the way to work and review the other side on the way home.

Tom Venuto, a successful and well known coach/author in the fitness industry, has challenged anyone who meets him to try to catch him without his goal card: an index card that he keeps in his pocket every day, so he can reread it several times a day to stay focused on the things he wants. How can you fail when you are connecting to your goals 3 or 4 times a day??

Personally, I like to rewrite my big goals in my journal every couple of days, right at the top of the page. I usually remember the things I write down, and my goals are no exception. Besides, I get to cross off my successful behavior goals each day! 🙂  If you are a list-maker like I am, you know what that’s like!

Pretty much this.

Yup.

 

So, now you are armed with your goals, a plan to get closer to them, and action steps to take every day to keep you moving closer.  Time to get going!

 

I’d love to know: what is your #1 goal right now? What are you going to do, every day, to get yourself closer to it? Let me know over on the EES Facebook page!

Always here to help,

Jamie

P.S. For more on getting started TODAY, enter your email on the right side of the page to access my FREE EES Handbook!