Have You Taken My Short 60 Second Quiz To Find Out If You Are
Caught In The Diet Cycle?
Do you sometimes find it too difficult to make healthy decisions easily? I speak to so many people who say they sometimes feel torn between what their heart desires and what will make them healthy! When you are in a restaurant and have been craving a burger all day yet you feel you have to force yourself to have a salad. It has to be one of the worst feelings to want something so badly in the moment vs what you actually want long term! It usually comes down to wanting to scratch the itch now because it’s unbearable and ‘deal with the consequences’ later!
Does that sound like you? It is so exhausting to constantly have to make a ‘good’ decision and repeatedly turn away from what your soul desires! ESPECIALLY when you are hungry!
Choosing to exercise can be just as challenging. Every workout you make yourself get through is a victory but at the same time I have heard it described as feeling like you are ‘beating yourself with a stick repeatedly for an hour’.
It’s no wonder so many of us struggle with making the ‘right’ decision when it is going against what we actually want in that moment. It all comes down to comfort! We form our habits based on what ‘works’ for us, what is easiest, what we have time for, what we like and so on…
There is a reason you have the habits you have. They make your day to day life easier and more enjoyable in the here and now. What they don’t do however is make your life better in the long run if you want to lose weight.
The good news is that it really doesn’t have to be a constant inner battle between extremes of ‘good’ and ‘bad’! Making a healthy choice can be as simple as you want it to be. All it takes is a little work in the beginning until you develop your own system.
The key is to make it EASY to make healthy decisions. You can simply remove the inner conflict by addressing the behavior that leads to the conflict rather than the conflict itself! What do I mean by that? Here’s an example:
You are in a restaurant absolutely starving. You can smell everyone else’s food. You have that heavy, sinking feeling because you know you should order something miserable and healthy but your body literally is screaming out for the big, high energy foods that probably won’t get you to your long term goal. You get that panicky feeling as you try to reason with yourself, you try talking yourself off the ledge and using all the self-help phrases you have ever read. Somewhere inside you know you are going to cave but you talk yourself around about three times. If you order the salad you KNOW your heart will sink and you will be gutted and miserable, unsatisfied (because you are starving). If you order the giant burger it will hit the spot, you probably won’t need dinner (you reason with yourself) and all this pain can stop! You hate feeling hungry. Anything to make it stop!!
Scenario a) you choose the burger. It hits the spot but you feel bad for it and get annoyed with yourself. You eat a salad for dinner and feel slightly better. Why was it so easy to choose a salad this evening you wonder?
Scenario b) You choose the salad. You are still a bit hungry after it and you really didn’t enjoy it. You think about food all afternoon and start to panic about how hungry you are going to be by dinner! How will you make another virtuous decision later? You used up all your willpower to make the first one. The thought of going through all this again later is beyond you. You get home starving and eat everything you ever wanted and pass out in a happy food coma feeling slightly disgusted with yourself. You’ll do something about it in the morning.
Does this sound familiar? If so then you are not alone! Here’s the thing. There are about 100 opportunities that morning to avoid this situation but we don’t see them because we are busy, tired and not focusing on the right thing. Just look at how much energy it just took to go through all that inner conflict? Ouch! Painful and unnecessary!
So how could this have been avoided? Well depending on your own life and circumstances (there is never a one size fits all approach), you need to look at where it all went wrong for YOU.
Hint: it wasn’t when you ordered your food.
Your day was put in motion from the minute you woke up. Did you eat breakfast? If so what kind of breakfast? Was it balanced? Did you eat enough? Have you had an active morning? Did you know you were having lunch out today? Were you trying to ‘save’ your calories for later? Either way you went into that restaurant with a loaded gun if you were starving when you got there. What could you do differently next time?
Now, I am not blaming it all on breakfast, some people just hate breakfast! That’s OK too! The important thing is to look at your day leading up to that decision and change your habits BEFORE you have to make decisions!
There is nothing wrong with a burger OR a salad by the way. One is simply a high energy food and one is not. If you haven’t consumed enough calories in your day then it is going to make it hard to resist the higher energy food. Your body wants it! It’s hungry!
Another way you can deal with this is to bulk out your salad! You want to up the energy level of it so that a) it falls more in line with what you feel like and b) it delivers enough bang for the buck so it doesn’t come and bite you in the ass later! For example when I want a salad and I’m really hungry I look at ways to make it more energy dense. I add lentils and chickpeas for bulk, green beans, tuna, chicken or egg. I might have extra dressing and sweetcorn etc…
Notice I said “when I WANT” a salad. When I WANT a burger I will also eat that without feeling guilty but I DO make sure I WANT it and I am not just choosing it because I am not in the right headspace to make a reasoned decision!
Basically it is hard to make a ‘good’ decision about anything if the decision will make us more uncomfortable! We don’t want to be uncomfortable! Nor should we. All you have to do is find a way to avoid the discomfort by bringing the level of it down to safe parameters so that you can make a reasonable and comfortable choice!
Take exercise for example. If you have decided to run outside everyday because you hate being in the gym, you are likely going to struggle when it’s cold and wet outside so you start to miss workouts. You give up. Having a back up plan is going to make it easy for you to say “ok it’s raining, I’m going to go and do XYZ instead”. No agonizing over whether your healthy regime is ruined because you missed one!
Everyone faces different challenges when it comes to losing weight. Many of them can be dealt with in really simple ways if you are willing to assess what drives you and what you really want both in the moment and for the future.
I would love to hear more from you about what you struggle with the most when it comes to making your own healthy decisions. Comment below!
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