Healthy Lifestyle And Weight Loss Success Ingredient 1: Consistency

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We get started on a diet or plan with the best intentions. Despite that, there are usually a combination of things that prevent 85% of people from succeeding and staying there:

  • Falling off the wagon (inconsistency)
  • Emotional eating
  • Not enough time
  • Stressful life (busy work/stressful personal life etc)

We start on a diet, we stop weeks in and have to essentially restart if we decide to do it over again.

This happens because:

the pain of not doing it is not enough for you to keep doing it

OR

the pleasure of doing it is not enough to keep you doing it.

Imagine a lion chasing you – it’s much easier for you to run and keep running because if you stop, the lion will eat you. We are programmed to avoid pain, discomfort and fear. If we fear losing something eg losing money if we make a bet, or looking embarrassed (losing social standing) if we make a promise we don’t keep, we keep doing the thing to avoid the pain or loss.

The contrast is doing something for the love of it and for pure enjoyment. Imagine eating going out for a drink every weekend with your friends. It feels good so its easy to keep doing it every weekend because we gain more pleasure from doing it than not.

Well in this light, the solutions to building consistency is to create either an avoidance of a certain discomfort, or do things because you enjoy them.

They will both work, but ultimately, a more wholesome and positive experience is created when we do things from a place of love and because it makes us happy.

Choosing to keep doing something to avoid pain or discomfort can definitely be a strong motivator, but lifestyle changes that last usually have the majority of motivation coming from loving to do something rather than avoiding discomfort of something else (80% towards pleasure /20% away from pain).

Please note pleasure is not in the context of hedonism and dopamine adundance i.e. overindulging, taking substances and watching Netflix marathons all day.

In the context of health, moving towards pleasure means discovering that you really like cycling, it gives you energy, helps you lose weight and so you keep cycling as part of your normal routine.

Or doing yoga because it frees up your mind and you can touch your toes. Or eating healthy because you like how much energy it gives you and how well you sleep now.

Find a working program tailored just for you

If you follow what worked for others such as keto plans, 30day challenges that don’t take into account your own lifestyle, preferences, challenges, they wont work.

Following a program that tells you to have 5 small meals everyday while you only have time to eat once or twice a day wont work.

Following a program that tells you that you need to go to the gym 6 times a week while you can only manage 3 or 4 days isn’t going to work.

That’s why a program and a plan tailored around your lifestyle is going to the the game changer for you. You’ll be able to maintain results for a long time because you’ll include the things you do love.

You’ll work around the schedule you have. You’ll work out with efficiency and spend minimal time at the gym. You’ll get a program you like, keeps up with you daily and keeps your relevant goal in line.

This will keep you happy and enjoying things so you move towards pleasure – and are more likely to keep doing it.

You need accountability

You need a partner along your journey who can be objective, but be supportive enough of you goal to give you a caring ear, social support and assertiveness – because you still need to reach your goal.

You will need people in your corner – whether it be friends, your partner, like-minded people, or a supportive coach. They will need to be aware of your goals, needs, be in your corner and give you the push you may need from time to time

This will provide the avoiding the pain factor- because a part of you wouldn’t want to disappoint others around you who are on your team and want to see you win. Its a critical element in success because we rarely succeed on our own without any form of support, counselling or guidance.

This is also a very strong motivating factor that tends to keep most successful people going – being part of a community and having support could mean a world of difference.

If you’re looking for a program, our 1 on 1 coaching provides caring support and tailored guidance, click here to find out more. if its not a good fit for you, it’s no problem. Just find someone, anyone close who can be a caring shoulder to lean on on your journey.

With these 2 elements, it’s much easier to keep going than it is to quit – and that’s consistency in a nutshell.

Double Cheese Burger Or Salad? What Actually Matters About What You Eat

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I have great news for you – you can eat anything you want and be healthy. Yes this is a true statement – of course with the exclusion of poisonous and dangerous foods – there’s in reality no such thing as good food or bad food.

You can eat exactly what you want and lose weight. You don’t have to workout 6 days a week and eat only leaves and dry chicken, cut out all starches and have all your meals tasting like cardboard to be healthy. Blanket statement such as certain foods are for weight loos or certain foods make you gain weight are technically misleading. To truly understand why, we must see food within the context of your lives and not right up close.

These are the 2 points to remember:

  1. Healthy food is better to eat regularly and over time (weight loss beginning stage).
  2. You can eat unhealthy foods from time to time and be healthy if your lifestyle is in check. (weight loss maintenance stage).

Everything Adds Up Over Time

Starting a weight loss journey or pursuing a health journey/goal, it’s important to note whether the food is taking us towards or away from where we want to be. This is the mindset towards food we must have if we have a goal (weight loss, weight gain, build muscle etc). And then from there decide to do more of what takes us toward rather than away from your goal.

In the article The Power Of The Compound Effect we briefly went into how a 1% change everyday will lead to 365% improvement in a year. Having one salad isn’t going to make you a healthier person overall. In the same way eating pizza isn’t going to undo all your efforts.

However these behaviours will have cumulative effects over time. It’s probably better for you to keep good food and reduce or even eliminate foods that make you overeat/overindulge, trigger foods etc IN THE BEGINNING STAGES or if you aren’t where you want to be.

You want to build the habit of having good food and better meals so it’s better to focus more on the good and this will take you to reaching your goal.

What You Eat And What Else You Do Is What Actually Matters In The Long Run

This is regarding point number 2. It is a more advanced idea that more people who are in beginning stages or not reached their goal might not easily implement because as we start off, most things are seen as black and white – good and bad.

But when you have some experience with reaching your goals, and are now at the maintenance stages, you become more flexible and realise that there are grey areas and you don’t really need to be strict. You need more self-awareness and big picture thinking about your lifestyle.

Let’s take these 2 people:

Person A: workouts out 4-5 times a week resistance training and cardio workouts, drinks 2.5L of water a day, calorie conscious (eats at or just below maintenance), aims for 25g of fibre a day from mostly whole foods including vegetables daily, and follows IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) style of eating, has double cheese burger for lunch 3x a week and makes sure she has extra vegetables on those days she does.

Person B: Doesn’t work out, stays up late watching Netflix 6 nights a week resulting in 5-6hours of sleep a night, hydrates with juice and soft drinks, drinks <1L of water/day, doesn’t really watch what they eat and frequently has take out or pasta for dinner but makes sure to have a salad for lunch 3x a week coz she has heard eating salads makes you healthy.

In these examples, the idea is Double cheese burger = not good and salad = good. However from these two, the reality is that person A will be significantly in better terms of their health because what actually moves the scale is all the other behaviours. Long term success is based on birds eye view and not looking at a particular thing but at everything.

Health Is Not Binary, It’s A Spectrum

Such is to say that there is not one single act that will change things magically. There can be certain behaviours you change that will trigger OTHER positive changes in your life.

For example a person saying cutting out sugar is what helped them lose 10kg likely means – they stopped eating processed foods containing sugar and replaced them with more whole foods – high fibre starches and vegetables (decreases appetite so you eat less), ate more protein (muscle sparing and decreases appetite), drank more water instead of juice and soft drinks.

Improvements that bring results rarely happen in a vacuum and it’s this point that matters. You can make little changes that will add up but making one change and not shifting your whole lifestyle around will not work in the long run.

How To Make It Simple To Carry Out

Take a paper and write down your daily habits and behaviours for 1 week – observe and document what you eat, how much of it you eat, how much water you drink per day, how many hours of sleep you get, whether you eat to feeling full at your meals, how much exercise you got that day, how your energy levels are, your mood, how many meals with vegetables you eat, how much take out/junk food you ate and how often.

Keep the record for a week and you will find yourself already noticing behaviours you may not have noticed you were doing and instinctively want to change them even without anyone having to tell you.

And the even better news is once you do one thing, make one change, you won’t want it to “go to waste” and it’ll be easier to make other changes for your benefit.

So a cheese burger is not wrong in the same way a salad is not right, they are a 0.5% impact action with power to influence things over a big enough scope of time. It is more potent when you change other behaviours around you.

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The “Be The Best” Mentality Is Wrong – And It’s Killing Your Progress

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We know we should eat less processed food and more vegetables, and probably hit the gym more.

It’s a common decision to cut it all off – no carbs, no sugar, no cake, so sweets, no eating out. Because we know that being healthy means no cake, or KFC and no pizza.

That couldn’t be further from the truth. The concern is not the food, its not the sugar or the candy. There are no good foods and bad foods. There are only good eating habits and bad eating habits. All foods are good within context.

It’s not the one thing that you do that matters, its the sum of the things you do over a long enough period of time that matters. Not in the fact that not eating cake is the reason why someone is healthy – but more that the healthy person doesn’t :

  • Overdo it and eat half the cake at once – everyday.
  • Feel guilty about it to the point where they decide to give it up and toss it all in because all is lost – and proceeds to skip the gym for good.
  • Have cake for breakfast (not the issue in general), then have pizza for lunch and a bowl of cereal for dinner (lacking nutrients all day).

It’s about how one goes about the eating of the cake and how the rest of their lifestyle ties in. Is there a balance?

You Need Only 51% Of Good To Be In A Positive Balance

The good habits (eating well, drinking water, staying active) need to be at least 51% to make positive movement. This means you can screw up 49% of the time and still make some sort of headway.

This means that having cake on occasion or that drink with the colleagues after work doesn’t have to be detrimental to your progress. However it’s most important not to look at the things you can get away with and be happy about it.

Instead try to see it as having celebrations, missteps, binges and cravings and falling off the wagon – as part of the journey and to get back up on the horse.

To have the perfect day and perfect meals – and NO urges, cravings or binges – is imaginary. The world tells you that nothing is perfect and we know ourselves as not being perfect – yet we want to hold our life source – nutrition, health to a perfect standard. It’s setting an unfairly heavy burden that sets you up to fall short inevitably.

If anything, that’s being completely unfair on yourself. It is one of the reasons why self-acceptance is a critical part of any transformative process – because you will definitely be human and have things go off plan. It’s part of the journey of life.

“All Or Nothing” Is Making It Harder Than It Needs To Be

This isn’t to say that you can slack and do what you want while putting in minimal effort. It’s more about putting in effective effort in moderate amounts. You don’t have to go to the gym 6 times a week and eat salads every day.

However you do have to be conscious of the food types and quantities you eat on a regular basis (calorie and nutrient awareness), have some physical activity at least for 150 minutes a week and drink enough water. Minimise activities that HURT your progress such as alcohol intake, smoking and just generally health avoidant behaviours.

It just has to be MORE of the good things than the bad. Don’t feel discouraged when the “bad” moments happen, simply move on from it as if it didn’t happen.

The ultra-successful people have mastered a better percentage of good – 90-95%. You don’t need to aim for such high figures because it is usually a rigid, programmed and usually restrictive way of living – and is usually for a purpose (eg competing, professional bodybuilders).

It is also completely unrealistic. Especially for everyday life.

I’d rather focus on keeping things realistic and sustainable – for the majority of us who simply want to improve our health. It’s not our job to be healthy, but improving our health can improve our relationships, job and self confidence, so it’s something definitely worth working for.

Aim for 70-80% good, start where you are and work slowly and sustainably, allow for slip ups and get back up each time.

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