Getting fitter shouldn’t be a race to the finish. Ben Coomber says careful consideration of your options will help you make more productive decisions and changes that last.
Did you set a New Year’s resolution last year? Chances are you did. For a lot of people, this resolution goes something along the lines of: “I’ll cut out all takeaways and cakes, oh and biscuits and bread too, I’ve heard carbs are the culprit.”
It seems like a good idea at first and January goes by without a hitch. February comes around and you start wanting the things you’ve eliminated. By the time March is in full swing you’ve sacked it off and you’re raiding the biscuit tin on a daily basis. If you set a New Year’s resolution and didn’t stick to it, are you a failure? No, of course not!
Let’s look at why normally-determined people give up so easily and maybe look at it a better way.
A better way of thinking
New Year’s resolutions usually fail because of one thing: they ask too much too suddenly. For some reason people seem happy to start a gym regimen by going light and getting used to it, but then when it comes to food choices they try to completely overhaul their poor diet overnight. They replace processed food and takeaways for nothing but the finest wholesome, natural produce all at once. This, of course, rarely works. It’s too extreme.
The method that will get you to a goal in the fastest way possible is not necessarily the best route to take. Think about it, how many times have you seen someone lose weight on the latest fad (starvation) diet but then put it back on? Sure, they dropped a few pounds, but did it ‘work’?
I would argue it didn’t, because it didn’t lead to long-term better health. In short, it didn’t teach the dieter anything about how to create a sustainable eating strategy that promotes better body composition and energy levels. For a diet to truly work you must enjoy it, be able to afford it, and you shouldn’t feel the need to stray away from it when you reach your target weight.
Long term gains
You see, the perfect diet is not the one that’s absolutely flawless. It’s the one which gets you to your goal in as painless a way as possible to make sure you’re able to keep it going long after the ‘diet’ phase. What should you do?
Rather than committing to replace your caramel latte and brownie from Starbucks for a home-cooked, meat-based nutrition powerhouse as your breakfast; switch to a small sugar-free vanilla latte and Greek yoghurt with berries.
This may not be perfect, but it’s a hell of a lot better and you can slowly introduce more improvements as you go. Rather than eliminating takeaways, drop them to once a week and look for a healthier option when you do decide to order dinner in. Then invest in a good cookbook and whip up some kitchen magic until you don’t want that chow mein any more.
Another popular resolution is to go alcohol free, but there’s no need to go cold turkey and completely avoid it. Just be more sensible with it, choose better options, stop at one or two, or simply limit the number of times you go out. No one likes to be devoid of a social life, and a drink often compliments that.
Your diet of the future will be easy. Find a way that you can take baby steps towards a whole-food, natural, healthful diet and give yourself all the time you need. There’s no need to rush. Slow and steady wins the race.
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