I am an all or nothing kinda girl. I can’t just do the sprint Spartan I have to do the Super. I can’t just do a Crossfit competition to me it might as well be the Crossfit Games. I can’t eat one chip it has to be the whole bag, with salsa, and cheese.
So when I asked on social media what most people struggle with when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle the biggest thing people talked about was staying on track. Not letting weekends, weddings, parties and life cause them to be distracted and fall back into bad habits.
So I want to share with you the things that I do to focus on my goals while still enjoying life. I am not perfect. I struggle too. Many people call this balance but I don’t believe there is such a thing as balance. Balance implies perfection and unless you are God perfection is impossible. That’s where my helpful tips start:
1- The definition of consistency is “logically ordered and/or following a pattern. Agreement or logical coherence among things or parts. Firmness of constitution or character. What this all means is that the Majority of the time things stay the same. No big changes. No big highs or lows. In the context of food and eating this means eating the same way the majority of the time. No binges, to elimination. I apply this to my life by going to weddings, ballgames, parties and vacations but I remain logical and don’t drink all the wine, I have a glass. I don’t eat all the deserts I pick the one I want. I don’t eat all the bread in the bread basket I have one slice. Notice I didn’t deny myself the bread, wine or desert, I had them in MODERATION, enjoyed them without GUILT and moved on. We run into trouble when we say we CAN’T have something, suddenly we desperately WANT IT. Then because we think we can’t have it we eat much more than we should because we feel like it is the one opportunity to eat it so might as well go big or go home. Feast or famine, all or nothing. Not the logical patterned order that is consistency.
2- Food does not have a soul. That being said without a soul you cannot attach any moral labels to it. Food is not GOOD or BAD. It is food. When we apply these labels some foods become bad and others good which causes us to morally judge our choices. And when we don’t make the right choices WE become bad or good not the choice. The filter I pass my food choices through is this: How will this food make me feel? Is it worth it? Will having that third drink or eating that 2nd slice of pizza or piece of cake bring me closer to my goals? Will a bite of cake or one glass of wine serve the same purpose? A thoughtful choice prevents and emotional reaction. Emotional eating brings guilt and shame two things that should not be attached to food
3- On the subject of emotional eating…. I totally get needing something sweet before bed (a square of dark chocolate usually does the trick) Or when it is that time of the month and you just need a bowl of ice cream. It is ok. The trouble occurs when we feel bad about it. Feeling guilty doesn’t change the fact that you ate it. Own it. Have some introspection and figure out what you were feeling that caused it. Don’t hide it or pretend it didn’t happen. Talk about it with a trusted friend. Shine a light on it. The more we own our choice and don’t write them off as bad the less we will have to start over.
So there is no magic solution. It’s not easy. Staying consistent is hard, it takes work. Integrity is doing what you say you are going to do. Have integrity to yourself and your goals. Own your emotions. Own your choices. Do not sacrifice long term success for short term gratification. With food or with life.