You’ve heard it before when it comes to diets and nutrition - cut out all the bad stuff and add all the good stuff. No more sugary snacks, no more alcohol and no more fun! This is often the sentiment we are sold when we are looking for a change in our lifestyles.
To some this may seem like an outlet - a possible lifestyle that doesn’t include potato chips, candy, or ice cream. To others this sounds like their worst nightmare! We at Forever Fit Method believe that in between those extremes is the sweet spot to success.
We are often our own biggest critics and that counts for double when we think about our eating and health habits. Often I hear “I have to take a break from carbs and stop eating them” - this is an extreme that I try to advise against. There are several reasons for this - let’s get into them a little bit.
Reason 1: Living life in extremes is not sustainable
Temporarily changing your habits is fine and sometimes a good jump start to long term change. It’s when we start to believe that these strict guidelines are the rules to your life - something that you NEED to do in order to accomplish your goals becomes front and center. This rigidity puts us in a hard place, often battling against what your body WANTS. The goal should always be about developing behaviors that you feel are RIGHT for you, usually somewhere in between the extremes that are so often presented to us through our social circles and media!
Reason 2: Too much of a good thing is still too much!
Think of the gym-goers who feels they need to work out 6 days a week doing intense exercise. Everyday they push their bodies to the limit physically and feel exhausted at the end of the day. Continuing to push the body to these extremes can lead to overuse injuries such as tendinitis, chronic joint pain, or a more serious injury like a torn tendon. Not only can this have many long-term effects that are negative - the belief that more exercise will help burn those stubborn body fat is a misnomer. Often I’ve seen in my work that when resting and recovering the body properly, there is more fat loss. This is (partly) because your body cuts down on the amount of cortisol (stress hormone) that is released during and after intense workouts. Stop believing that more is better!
Reason 3: Your body and mind need outlets
For those who feel they never want to drink or eat dessert again - good for you! For the other 99% of us who find joy in these things, the urge for these “bad” choices is inevitable. For better or worse these indulgences are not all bad. Some days we are stressed and overwhelmed and need some sweetness in our lives to make us feel better. Sure this might be a temporary fix but it is much easier to handle if you allow yourself the opportunity to enjoy this. Rather than believing that your whole nutrition is falling apart, take a deep breathe, enjoy your treat and move on with your life! Now look at that - I’m telling you to go enjoy some ice cream tonight if you need to!
How do you combat this? 80/20 rule ! Take the bad with the good - focus on the things that push you closer to your goals. Things like getting in consistent exercise, consistently choosing quality protein, vegetables and healthy fats. Make sure you are in line with your goals 80% of the time. If you do this for the long-term you will most definitely make the changes you wish to see.