Has this happened to you?
You drag yourself out of bed in the morning to start your day.
Standing in front of the mirror, you squeeze that extra layer of padding around your middle.
You feel slightly disgusted and immediately start making big plans.
You’re starting a diet right away!
You’re going to start exercising a ton!
You’re definitely not going to eat any more chocolate chip cookies!
You walk off into your day feeling energized that you have a plan.
(And this time, you really mean it!)
A month later you find yourself standing in front of the same mirror. You squeeze that same extra layer of padding, feel disgusted and make the same promise to yourself.
What’s the Deal Here Mama?
Despite your intentions and efforts, your attempt to establish a fitness program fizzles. You’re right where you started, feeling frustrated and guilty.
If the above scenario sounds painfully familiar, you are not alone. In fact, about 80% of women are dissatisfied with their weight.
At any moment, thousands of women are looking in the mirror, not loving their bodies and vowing to change them. Most often, they turn to some combination of diet and exercise to fix the problem.
But something isn’t working.
If these many women are trying to lose weight through diet and exercise, shouldn’t most of them be succeeding?
The statistics show us that this isn’t happening.
Believing Fitness Lies
If you are stuck in frustration and dissatisfaction cycle, it’s not your fault.
You’ve been surrounded by a culture that glorifies bodies that look a certain way.
There’s also that $60 Billion dollar industry designed to keep you not liking that way you look so you’ll keep buying their products. (I know. Ouch. But it’s true.)
We’ve been conditioned to believe:
- That the answer to the battle of the bathroom mirror lies in diet and exercise alone.
- That counting calories, macronutrients, points or portions is the only way to eat healthily.
- That exercise should be frequent and intense.
Above all, we’re fed this idea that if we’re not thin or somehow trying to get thin, we don’t belong. And that’s the worst feeling. So we try and try and try to be part of the group.
You’ve seen the headlines on those fitness magazines at the grocery store checkout.
“Lose 7 pounds this week!”
“Drop 4 dress sizes without exercising!”
“Mary lost 75 pounds by folding laundry and never changed her diet!”
(Ok, I made that last headline up but I saw the others this week!)
This is what sells magazines.
Even if we think these messages are ridiculous, we internalize them. The idea that weight loss should be quick and easy embeds itself in our brains. So when you start a fitness routine and don’t see immediate, dramatic results it is hard to keep the motivation going.
Too bad the actual truth of “work hard, be consistent and your body will change gradually!” doesn’t sell magazines.
It’s no wonder that this leads women to feel guilty and frustrated.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
So, what should you do?
Well, you can spend your whole life believing what the magazines and infomercials tell you.
Or you can choose to tune it out and make your own path toward the healthy lifestyle that you truly want for yourself.
How to Create Your Fizzle-Proof Wellness Plan
1. Notice Your Thoughts
Although healthy actions are super important, actions are not the first step.
First, you have to notice what’s going on in your head.
Research shows that a person has about 50-70000 thoughts per day. And about 90% of these repeated thoughts. Your thought patterns form your beliefs and your beliefs drive your actions. So when you’re establishing healthy habits, you need to start from scratch.
When you think about healthy living, clean eating or exercise what are the thoughts that come up for you?
Are they discouraging or empowering?
Do you make excuses before you’ve even started?
If your thought stream is filled with discouraging thoughts, get in the habit of stopping yourself and reframing.
For example, if you find yourself thinking “I just can’t get into a good workout routine”, start to tell yourself instead “It’s a challenge, but I am capable of finding a routine that works for me.”
Keep telling yourself those new, empowering thoughts over and over again until they become the new normal.
2. Decide What You Want and Why You Want It
You might assume that weight loss is your goal.
It seems to be everyone’s goal. (Remember that 80% stat?) But in order to keep you motivated, your goal needs to be personal.
Ask yourself why that goal is important to you. This is the key to discovering your true desire.
In the process of discovering your “why,” you may realize that your goal is actually something different!
Maybe you want to lose 15 pounds to reach your “goal weight.” But what you really want is to feel good in your skin.
Through your workouts, you may lose some fat and gain muscle. That will change your body composition but may not budge the scale.
If you are too locked into that number on the scale, you’re going to be bummed even though you have actually achieved your goal of changing your body and feeling better.
Whatever goal you set is up to you and 100% okay no matter what.
Be you and don’t apologize for your “why.”
3. Make a Realistic Plan
When you decide on a strategy, look at the realities of your life (including your past failures) and not the ideal life you picture in your head.
Looking at your past fitness failures is not super fun.
It may bring up some discouragement and bad feelings. However, if you can get past that and look at the situations objectively, the past can be a huge learning tool.
Identify the piece that didn’t work.
Was it the type of workouts?
Turn yourself into a fitness detective and gather the clues. When you understand the weaknesses of your past attempts, you’ll be able to form a new strong plan.
4. Get the Right Support
Decide whose support you need.
Do you need your spouse or kids to get on board with some diet changes? Are you looking for a friend to meet for a walk or a yoga class?
Ask for their help, keeping in mind that asking for support and demanding they fall in line are two different things.
Remember that whatever fitness plan you choose, you are doing it for you.
Don’t make your plan dependent on someone else because, as inconvenient as it may be, you can’t control other people’s actions.
5. Learn to Regroup
Give yourself some grace. Wellness is a process, not a destination. Learning to enjoy the process is what makes it sustainable.
Part of the reason that fitness plans often fade is that we think of them as a short-term behavior change.
I am going to give up sugar……until I’m not.
I am going to regularly go to kickboxing class….until I don’t.
Try to think of wellness as a series of lifelong habits. The specifics of which will change with each season – and some seasons will be shorter than others!
If you set out on one path that doesn’t pan out, don’t throw up your hands and give up. Take a deep breath, take a look at what didn’t click, adjust and move on.
Instead of seeing it as a failure, see it as a stepping stone.
All Healthy Actions are Part of One Healthy Life
Remember that making healthy changes in your life starts on the inside. It starts with your desire to live your best life and finding little ways to make that happen, even if they aren’t what the gurus are telling you.
Make a choice to get out of the cycle of starting over again and again.