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It was one of those workouts. I wanted to stop but had noticed lately that more and more of my workouts ended at 20-minutes. I needed to push through, not make excuses.
It was one of those workouts. I wanted to stop, but lately my workouts had become shorter. I needed to push through, and stop making excuses.
Do you ever get out of your healthy routine, justifying it with the better-than-nothing argument?

I’m all about squeezing in what you can in the time you have. That’s different. If I was honest, I’d been slacking.

What’s the difference between letting yourself off the hook when you need it and making excuses when you don’t feel like doing something? It’s blurry sometimes, right?

Three possible answers come to mind:
Self-compassion: maybe you realize you’ve been pushing too hard or your body is simply saying “enough” right now. Or maybe it’s one of those days where you don’t make the healthiest of choices and you forgive yourself and move on. You’re human, it’s okay. Tomorrow is a new day.
Honesty: you admit that you’ve taken your eyes of the prize and you’re no longer focused on the bigger picture. It’s possible that your motivation was external and you need to build an internal bias towards healthy habits. Or, you realize you don’t want it as much as you thought you did.
You’re in a rut: I mean, how many walks around the same neighborhood can you take, right? Your routine is stale, your food choices have become dull. You still really want to achieve your goals but you’re bored out of your mind.

Given our culture of pushing to succeed without regard to personal needs, being kind to ourselves feels like we’ve gone soft. But there’s a great deal of study on the benefits of self-compassion. One way to think about it is to ask yourself, “how would I treat my best friend in this circumstance?” Go and do likewise for yourself.

Honesty is a tricky one. It’s easy to blame external circumstance (one’s schedule, family dynamics, the weather…). For me, my strategy of fitting in what I could turned into shorter workouts as a habit rather than a necessity. Once I recognized it, I was back to it. That was easy. But if circumstances have changed, internal or external, that’s a deeper dive. Get support.

The easiest one of these to accept, and correct, is the rut. Get creative with your exercise and food choices. Track your results and compete with yourself. Using something like the Polar M430 gives you tons of data and even comes in orange! (Okay, I may be the only one excited by that.) Or maybe you just need a week of active rest, completely out of your norm but still moving a lot.

So when you find yourself slacking, ask yourself a few questions. Once you identify what’s really going on you can determine how to move forward.

It feels good to have answers (and a plan!), rather than make excuses.

I don’t want to change what I eat!

A friend shared with me that she’s experiencing some health issues and as we were discussing options she said, “I’m afraid I’ll have to change the way I eat and I don’t want to do that.” Now, I know she’s not truly afraid (she’s a rock star in my book) but she expresses something I hear a lot.
Food is a touchy subject, with rules (and some hype) that evolve over time, leaving smart people feeling like healthy eating is too complicated and, for certain, boring. And the rules don’t leave room for individuality. There are some basics tenets of balanced eating that benefit us all. But then we each have a unique physiology that in some cases requires a personalized approach.

A friend shared that she’s experiencing some health issues and confessed, “I’m afraid I’ll have to change the way I eat and I don’t want to do that.”
Photo by Guillaume Bolduc on Unsplash

A common problem I see is that people don’t apply the basic tenets consistently enough to see and feel the benefits. This is where I coach clients to take small steps, consistently over time, that lead to some pretty startling results. For example, last summer a client’s doctor told him he needed to take statins for his cholesterol. My client said he wanted to change his numbers with lifestyle…nine months, and 30lb later, his doctor told him his blood work looks exactly as he would have expected it to with medication! My client says he feels better than he has in 15 years.
But it can also be that someone has applied the basic tenets consistently over time, but still doesn’t feel good. I recommend a professional approach at that point. You may need testing to see what your particular physiology, biology, structure, etc. needs to be well.
Another problem is anticipating the change to be harder (scarier?) than it is. I told my friend that any change I’ve ever made to improve my health, including my way of eating, never turned out to be as difficult as I imagined, and ultimately became an easy habit. The key is in the mindset.
Legendary coach, Lou Holtz said “Winners embrace hard work. They love the discipline of it, the trade-off they’re making to win. Losers, on the other hand, see it as punishment. And that’s the difference.” Notice what he says about those who fail… they see the work needed to succeed as punishment.
Maybe you’ve been consistent and you need to work with a professional, like a naturopathic doctor who can do a thorough assessment and is educated in nutrition and lifestyle factors. Once you have information, you can make that trade-off decision. I’m with Lou though…learn to love the lifestyle and you’ll never feel deprived of a thing.
If you’re more like my client, needing structure, accountability, and options for reaching your health and weight loss goals, let’s talk!
What’s the next small step you can take that will make the biggest impact on your health and well-being? Do it now.

Focus on Your Health and Weight Loss Goals

Do you ever envision that if circumstance were different, then you’d be able to focus on your health and weight loss goals? Like, once you’re no longer caring for a parent at home while also working full time, shuttling kids to sports activities between business appointments or building a business that demands more than you ever thought it would?
Any number of things take priority while health and wellness often take a back seat. Or, they don’t get a seat at all!
The thing is, for long-term success in life, making time for healthy habits is non-negotiable. But how?

Photo by Arek Adeoye on Unsplash

I recently heard an interview with Olympic Gold Medalist, Scott Hamilton, and he said something that really connected with me. He said that when making a change we have to view it as a new pattern of living. A person must identify herself as “this is who I am now.”
That requires a wholesale mindset shift, doesn’t it? Just like reversing the belief that to be healthy is hard, changing our thinking is the foundational first step to living out a truly healthy lifestyle, one where we have the energy and resilience to thrive.
So, what do you say when you talk to yourself? Is the conversation positive or negative? Is it full of possibility or excuses? Does it make you feel hopeful and confident or defeated and shamed?
Who you believe you are now is reflected in that very conversation. And that belief affects your behavior. And your behavior leads to your present reality.
The story you tell yourself has likely been honed over years, in some cases decades. And you may be surrounded by people telling the same story (you know, the “this is just the way it is” or “I can’t do anything about it” kind of stories). Try imaging what it would look like to flip the script and tell a fresh, new story.
I’m serious when I say that this is where it starts. You can try to implement any number of healthy habits but your mindset will pop up, kick you in the butt and disrupt everything. Start here.
So, how can you stay in charge of your mindset so that it helps you rather than hinders you as you work to fit your health and weight loss goals into your busy schedule?

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