How often do we let our feelings get in the way of work? Do we just call in lazy? No. Do we call in hungry? No. Do we call in depressed or stressed? No. We show up – because we want to get paid.
Fitness is the same way. We can’t rely on feeling motivated to get us to the gym, or help us on our run. If you want to get “paid”, you have to show up and do the work – whether you feel like it or not.
You throw the gym bag in the car – tired, depressed, feeling fat, mad, stressed, or whatever other emotional roller coaster you are riding that day – and drive our butt to the gym whether you want to or not. Your body needs it. Your mind needs it. And, chances are, if you aren’t FEELING like going, your mind and body need it even more.
If you have based your workouts, and how you eat, on feelings you are setting yourself up for failure. Our feelings are unreliable. They lie to us, they cheat us, they distort the truth and the rob us of our joy. Feelings pass like the wind, but actions are what is real and lasting.
If you want success, following through can’t be an option – unless you want success to be an option (and I don’t know about you, but I want success to be the ONLY option).
So, next time you think “I don’t feel…”, remember, how you feel has nothing to do what what you do – unless you let it.
Ladies share their diet struggles with me all the time. They tell me how they’ve tried every diet on the planet but never got results or how they used to workout but that didn’t work either. Most of the time they just didn’t stick with it long enough or their regime was just too unrealistic to maintain long-term.
My favorite complaint is the one where they tell me how they’re doing all the right things and still can’t lose weight. They say how hard they work out and how healthy they eat – but, honestly, they just can’t work out that hard, eat right and NOT lose weight. It’s just science. If you are taking in fewer calories than you’re burning – you WILL lose weight.
So what’s their problem? Well, it seems there are a few common scenarios.
The Weekday Dieter
This eating pattern is more for someone in the maintenance stage of their diet. If they want to lose weight, they need to eat right seven days a week until they lose a significant amount of weight. It may take a few weeks, but it is crucial for weight loss. After they lose their first chunk of weight they can celebrate and cheat a little but they have to get right back on their diet until they reach their goal.
The Clueless Dieter
For example, I had a woman tell me that she was on a “No-Carb” Diet (which is a whole other topic to be discussed), but she couldn’t understand why she wasn’t losing weight. I asked her to give me an example of what she was eating and the first three things she listed were all high-carb/high-calorie items. She simply didn’t know any better. She thought carbs were basically only bread, pasta and french fries. Her knowledge was limited. In this situation it is imperative dieters get the knowledge they need to make the right choices.
The Healthy Dieter
Many dieters eat healthy, but still eat too many calories. They avoid all the obvious high-calorie foods like ice cream, french fries and cream sauces, but still gets too many calories from other foods or overeating. They might not even count fruits and vegetables, or other items that sound healthy, even thought they still are calories.
The healthy dieter may fix healthy meals, but forget all the extra items like alcohol, sauces, dressings, etc. If they’d keep better track of what they are eating, they would find the lost calories. To make things worse, this type of dieter typically works out a lot and feels they can “afford” more calories.
Keeping a diet journal and tracking calories with a calorie counter app like http://www.LoseIt.com is normally a big eye-opener. It not only helps people learn more about calories in food, but it also teaches them how many calories are really burned in exercise, so they can understand how to balance the two – calories in vs. calories out.
The bottom line is calories are calories, no matter where it comes and whether you know you are eating them or not. When it comes to losing weight, it doesn’t matter if the calories are coming from unhealthy foods or healthy foods. Of course healthier calories are always better, but you will likely just end up a healthier, but still overweight, dieter.
Whether you try a fad diet or make up your own, success boils down to eating fewer calories than you are burning. It’s just that simple.
If you watch a MMA fighter in the cage, it can get pretty ugly quick. It doesn’t take that long to figure out they really need to be able to take some punches. They have to learn to get out of bad situations, and they have to have a lot of stamina to endure some of those strong holds - and fight through the pain.
It’s really not much different than life, as well as our fitness journey. To the outside world, they may see us getting beat up day after day – constantly dieting, constantly working out. They may see us get knocked down, and they may even see us get knocked out – BUT, that doesn’t mean we are failing.
How many fighters get pummeled the entire fight, only to win? How many guys have you seen get knocked out, only to turn around and reclaim their title.
What can appear as struggle, really can be a sign of someone not willing to give up. Because, if you aren’t struggling at all, you aren’t trying hard enough.
Hang in there, keep fighting, be ready to take some punches and be ready to throw some punches too…because you can be a winner!
Many people are big-time procrastinators. We wait until the very last minute to do a project, pay a bill, book a hotel room, fill up with gas, schedule a check up, turn in tax returns…the list goes on. If we didn’t risk running out of gas, getting our electric turned off or having to pay extra fees, we may never get around to any of it – and fitness is no different.
We put off taking care of ourselves simply because we think we can get away with it. No one is going to send us a late fee and Obama isn’t going to increase our taxes because we didn’t drop 20lbs. While there is a penalty to unhealthy living (weight gain, muscle weakness, poor health and low self-esteem), apparently the penalty is not quite harsh enough to get us to move faster.
I want to challenge you today to think about what you do today and how it affects your future. You may not think it matters much, or maybe you just plan on starting tomorrow, but tomorrow will come – and what you do today affects your tomorrow whether you realize it or not.
What you eat today will greatly determine how you feel tomorrow. What you say today can set you up for success, or failure, tomorrow. What exercise you do today can make you healthier and stronger for tomorrow. How you invest your money today, can change how you live tomorrow. And if you do what you need to do today, over and over and over again, you have made big strides. Your many small improvements turn into one big success.
Are you making a better you today?
Why are we so quick to forget how bad food makes us feel? We are so quick to remember how great it tastes for a short moment, and forget how yucky we feel for such a long time afterwards. We are fooling ourselves if we think for a minute that there are not repercussions to our poor choices – AND we need to be equally reminded of the positive rewards that follow our healthy choices.
Eating healthy and living healthy lasts longer than your best cheat meal. While you don’t have to give up cake, or never eat a potato chip again, we all need to keep a realistic perspective on our eating and how it affects us long term. We should treat a cheat meal like we treat any other splurge in our life. We enjoy the moment, but we don’t get lost in it. Eventually, we come back to a healthy reality that is balanced in moderation, self-control and discipline.
The same way we come back from a vacation, maybe it’s time to come back from your eating vacation – and get back to investing in a healthier future.
Let’s commit to no longer allow our tongue to rule us and guide our future. Let’s make each word, each bite, each move we make count – doing what is right, healthy and good. And, if we mess up, let’s commit to making corrections. We can do this!
“Their end is destruction, their god is their belly…”Philippians 3:19
“I have a MAJOR issue with sugar from cookies, cakes, frosting etc. It is more of a psychological thing for me, because I used these kinds of food to comfort myself as a kid. The connection here is food is the only thing that loves me, so when things go bad and I need to feel loved I pig out on these types of food. Can you please give me ideas on how to STOP eating sugar?“
“Food is like an ex-lover that is just no good for me. Not just any ex, but a really sexy ex. When I think about him (food) all I remember are the good times. I forget how much pain and guilt he would cause. And after an incredible night together full of passion, he just leaves you crying on the living room floor in the fetal position full of guilt. And yet, late at night… I still want him so, so bad”.
Could this not be any better of a description of some people’s relationship with food? Loralie nailed it! You don’t have to necessarily be in an abusive relationship to get this. Any relationship that is not good for you is a great example of a bad relationship with food.
No More Compromises
I have to admit I have been pretty lucky over the years. The guys I dated were all pretty great guys, but even good guys can be BAD for you if they aren’t RIGHT for you. For instance, I dated one guy that was really an amazing guy before I met Steve. He was talented, smart, handsome, had a great family who embraced me, and was perfect – for someone, just not me.
I found myself compromising my values and settling for just a little less. Since he really was a super sweet guy, it was easy to think of all the good stuff, and easy to forget the bad. Then, one day, I realized we were both wasting precious time focusing on what was right, but ignoring what was wrong. We could either address the bad stuff right then, or we could deal with it later. Either way we were going to have to deal with it.
Good Doesn’t Mean Right
For me, it meant coming to grips with the simple fact that we were both good, but not good for each other. We were not in a healthy relationship. He was going to make a great husband - to someone else, but not me. And, I realized someone would love me exactly the way I needed to be loved, but he wasn’t going to be that guy.
I broke up with him that day, but it wasn’t easy. I cried and cried and cried – for days and weeks! BUT, I knew it was the right thing to do. It didn’t mean I wasn’t going to miss him and it didn’t mean that I would stop thinking about him. And, knowing I did the right thing was going to make it any easier. Even though I had a tremendous peace about my decision, it still hurt just the same.
I Don’t Need You Anymore
Food that isn’t good for you, in many ways, is just like a boyfriend that isn’t good for you. No matter how wonderful it makes you feel at times, it will ALWAYS let you down. Unfortunately though, we make compromises even though we don’t like the way it makes us feel.
Maybe it’s time you treat food like a bad ex. Remember, as much as you may love it, it will never love you back. Not only does it not love you, it will hurt you – leaving you feeling a little worse day by day. The only answer is to say goodbye. The longer you stay away, the stronger you will become. As you lose weight, as you get healthier, you will discover a new confidence – and you will love the new you more than you ever loved food.
It’s Time to Move On – and Move UP!
Shortly after breaking up with that guy, I met Steve. He was everything I ever dreamed of. He was romantic, loving, sensitive, funny, passionate, smart, handsome, and loved me completely. I could have NEVER imagined how good it would feel to be loved this way – and I would have never discovered his love if I didn’t first turn away from what I thought I loved at that time.
If you hold on to what just feels good right now, you may never discover just how great things could be. Healthy food loves you back. Fitness loves you back. Unhealthy food will always leave you unhealthy, and in a pit of regret and shame. Don’t let the initial taste of something sweet fool you, and lead you to a bitter end. Maybe today is your day to end your love relationship with food.
If I had a nickel for everyone struggling with their weight who responds with “I eat really healthy” when I ask them how many calories they eat. What that means is – they have no clue how many calories they are eating. But they want me to know how clean they eat and how hard they work in the gym, so they can try to convince me they are the exception to the rule and that they are just unable to lose weight like everyone else. This is when the Red Flag Goes Up.
Listen, I’m not saying everyone has to count calories. I’m also not saying eating healthy is wrong. Gosh no! Eating healthy is AMAZING – and can change your life. BUTTTTTT… what I AM saying is, if you have no idea how many calories you are eating, there is no way you can expect to lose weight. Guessing just doesn’t work. Eating clean alone probably won’t change the scale much. Eating organic can be super healthy, but not affect your waistline. Going on the next fad diet won’t always work either. Working out like a maniac alone won’t cut it either. (again, I’m not saying it NEVER works – some people will luck out and lose weight by just making healthier choices, but most people will not be as lucky)
When it comes to weight loss, most people can’t get results just on making healthier choices alone. The only way weight loss works is when you eat fewer calories than you are burning. You can either just HOPE you are eating less than you are burning, or you can count calories and KNOW you are eating less than you are burning.
If you can’t tell me how many calories you are eating every day, don’t tell me how healthy you eat, don’t tell me you never eat fried food or sweets, don’t tell me how much protein you consume, don’t tell me how you don’t eat carbs or how you’ve gone Paleo. While all of those things are great, and I bet your next doctor’s visit will be a good one, they tell me nothing when it comes to whether you should expect to lose weight or not.
How Much Did You Spend?
Here’s an example: Let’s say I just come home from shopping. I bring all my bags in the house and Steve’s eyeballs pop out of his head and he says “How much did you spend?” and my response was, “I shopped at Target. All the items I got were on sale. I didn’t buy anything outrageously expensive. I didn’t get anything frivolous – everything I bought I really needed and was very practical. I made a lot of smart choices.” I can tell you right now, Steve’s response would still be “so, how much did you spend?”
You see, Steve doesn’t care what I bought, he wants to know how much I bought ($$$$). He doesn’t care how how much stuff was on sale. Our check will bounce whether it was a smart choice or a dumb one. We either have the money or we don’t – whether I needed the items or not. All my bank account cares about is what’s coming in and what’s going out – it doesn’t care what I am spending the money on or how hard I work for the deposits.
This is how your body works. While healthy food will help your body look and feel better, your weight is your body’s account balance. You can either afford items, or not. If you can’t afford the extra calories (whether it’s in Snickers bars or grilled chicken and rice), you will gain weight.
So, next time you want to feel sorry for yourself for eating so clean, but not losing weight, it’s time you start managing your body’s account like you manage your checkbook.
Are You Up for the Challenge?
Not everyone needs to count calories. Some people are lucky enough to be able to make smart choices (because they really enjoy eating low-calorie foods) and do well managing their weight naturally. Some people are able to make healthier choices simply because they don’t struggle with some of the temptations others struggle with. HOWEVER, if you battle overeating, binging, sweets, carbs, laziness or yo-yo dieting, I believe you should count your calories to help you stay accountable and manage portions, high-calorie items and exercise. Remember, it’s not something you have to do forever – but it will teach you SO much!
If you have tried eating better, eating smaller portions, working out more, etc but you’ve reached a plateau, maybe it’s time you start counting calories. You’ll be AMAZED with the results! Believe me, I’ve seen this time and time again – and I’ve watched people who have worked insanely hard not get results until they started counting calories. Are you ready to start moving that scale?! Commit to counting calories for 30 days. Unsure you can do it? Start with 14 days of calorie counting and then decide if you can do another 14 days then. I bet you surprise yourself!
Visit www.LoseIt.com today and download their app on your smartphone. I promise, it can change your life forever.
Should Fitness Leaders Encourage Cheating on Your Diet?
My Answer: A Big FAT No!
WARNING: This is a rare rant, but I believe it’s necessary and could be helpful. Here is the email I got in my inbox today that is sparking this topic.
Here, I have another one for ya! How about: “Cheat on Your Spouse (Without Getting Divorced)”. Or, what about “Cheat on Your Taxes (Without Getting Caught).” I wonder how that would work out for ya. All I know is that title would never fly if it were about any other subject other than diet.
Have you ever wondered why we treat dieting differently than anything else? Cheating is cheating. Instead of teaching people to cheat, let’s teach people how to eat right and maintain a healthy balance so they don’t HAVE to cheat (which I’m sure was their intensions, but still sends a bad message).
I personally believe if we can teach people how to improve the issues that CAUSE cheating, we wouldn’t need to cheat to begin with. I also believe people need to know the difference between cheating and treating.
Why We Cheat
Why do people cheat on anything?
- They feel like they are missing out
- They are deprived, they aren’t getting what they want, or feel like they need
- They are greedy
- They lack discipline
- They are looking for happiness
- And many other issues I’m sure a psychologist would tell us our real issue is
Strict dieting (and depriving) can absolutely cause some people to cheat and binge. It’s caused from extreme short-term discipline, or extreme (but typically short-lived) self control. Just because you have good discipline for a period of time doesn’t mean it won’t backfire on you. Ask your spouse to not have sex with you for a few months and see how that works out for ya. If you do that, you are putting them in a very bad and unhealthy place, so why would we do that to your own body?
While some issues are caused by extreme yo-yo discipline, other issues that cause cheating are from the opposite, a lack of discipline and self-control altogether. People who never really work on improving self control will continue to struggle until they really commit to making permanent changes. Instead, people will dabble in eating better for a period of time, but they never really stick with it long enough to learn a new long-term disciplined behavior. Self control is difficult in any area of our lives – it will not be easy, and it will take constant practice, but it is most definitely healthy.
Think of all the areas of our life that require constant discipline. If we have to constantly control our tongue, control our anger, control our desires, control our thoughts and control our spending, why would we think we would ever get to a place where we no longer have to control our eating? Self-control is required in all areas of our life if we want to live fruitful, healthy lives.
For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:11
Cheating vs Treating
Now that we’ve talked about why we cheat, let’s talk about how we cheat. First, I think people misuse the word. Instead of looking at having a piece of cake as “cheating”, we should look at it as “treating” – BIG DIFFERENCE. The same way we make room in our budget to treat ourself to a new pair of shoes or a new purse, we need to learn to make room in our budget for a dinner out or a piece of pie. As long as we aren’t doing it all the time, it’s a healthy way to have treats. Unfortunately, many people are not treating, they are cheating. They are not making room for that treat. They aren’t shaving calories off somewhere else. They aren’t working it off now, and they have no plans to work it off later. They aren’t working to “buy” that treat the good old-fashioned hard-working way.
People are just taking what they want, when they want – whether they can afford it or not. Anywhere else, that would be called stealing. In the dieting world, it’s called cheating – but I’ve got news for ya. People are NOT getting away with it. They are imprisoned in body fat, tight pants, insecurities, depression and despair.
American Needs Stronger Leaders
WARNING: The following content is rated M for mature. Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense truths, unpleasant news, offensive and/or strong language. Caution is advised.
I am so tired of seeing headlines suggesting dieting is easy and fast. It’s not. While it doesn’t have to be awful (and when done right, can be much easier than you think), practicing discipline isn’t easy. It takes some level of effort – and results are rarely fast.
I’d like to encourage fitness leaders to choose their words carefully and, may I boldy say, challenge American to QUIT cheating. We need to encourage people to be accountable. We need to speak truth in love and, for once, actually tell people “it may be your fault”. It’s not a fun message to give, but at some point, people need to hear the truth – even if it isn’t as fun.
Could you imagine if Magazines used headlines like:
- 10 Ways to Practice Self-Control
- Learn How Balance Diet and Treats (not Cheats)
- Get the Foods You Need, So You Don’t Fall Off the Wagon
- Overweight? Then Move More or Eat Less
Of course those don’t sound near as fun as “have your cake and eat it too”. And “get off your fat butt and burn off that cake” would not only offend half of American, but it probably wouldn’t sell magazines. Sadly, America spends so much energy on being politically correct, and non-offensive, they don’t have the guts to use headlines that people really need to hear. Instead, they tell people what they want to hear, even if it’s not true, unhealthy, only partly true or even damaging. We live in a “feel-good” society that preaches “if it feels good, do it” and “you deserve it”.
Fitness leaders needs to help people get to the root of the problem and fix it, instead of encouraging followers to find ways around the problem, or mask it. Personally, in my opinion, we shouldn’t teach people how to cheat, or even appear to. That is just a bad message to me. While teaching practical eating tips so people can ENJOY life, and not be miserable on a diet, would ultimately teach people how to FEEL like they are cheating (which I am sure is what the magazine was doing) – I don’t think we should even use the word cheat in a positive sense. Why? Because the uneducated dieter could be led to believe that some people are getting amazing results by “cheating right” and doing whatever they want. NO! People get good results by eating right and practicing self control.
“…people always want to see what they can get away with first…”
People are already looking for every way to lose weight besides the right way. I see it way too much at the gym. People work really hard at the gym, only to blow it on poor choices because they basically want to see what they can get away with and still get the results they want. If you are dieting that way, I’ve got news for you – you can’t get away with it for long. Living like that is risky. It’s no different than stealing and hoping to get away with it. You have to be ready to get caught and face the consequences. The best thing you can do is just live right – and, in this case, eat right.
A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls. Proverbs 25:28
Many times, when people are on a diet, they reward themselves with a nice dinner out or “cheat weekend”, but what about rewarding yourself with nice clothes that support your fitness goals? We would easily blow $50 on dinner without blinking an eye, but why not invest in your confidence and goals?
When I first got married and fell off the fitness train, I dreaded going back to the gym – as the fatter version of me. I felt fat and ugly, and knew people would notice how I had “let myself go”. I wore crappy workout clothes because I didn’t have any cute ones to fit my heavier body. As I lost weight, I began to reward myself with cuter tops and accessories. The closer I reached my goals, the more goodies I got – and the more excited I was about going to the gym.
Changing the way you reward yourself is one way to help boost your self-esteem to help you feel your best as you are working toward your goals. It worked for me – and it can work for you!
If you like fitness and working out, but you want to do it in style, you need to meet Ellie. Ellie is a monthly subscription program where you get a new outfit each month for half the cost. You can stop it any time, or you can even just order pieces you like, but the monthly subscription is the most affordable way to get a killer high-quality outfit each month for less. Here are some of the items I have and really love. As you can see, each piece has a unique design and fun cuts that not only pretty, but are flattering too.
Here is a sneak peak of Ellie‘s Bon Voyage Collection, the newest monthly collection.
10 Tips for Goal Setting:
- Set clear defined goals each week – this can be based on attendance, diet or weight
- Set clear defined goals each month – this should be results based
- Decide what has to be done to reach those goals
- Determine a specific reward for each goal or task met
- Reward yourself weekly with something small – like a fitness magazine or new music
- Reward yourself monthly with something bigger, like a new outfit or fitness accessory
- Create a “consolation prize”, like a smaller reward for those times you missed your goal, but didn’t give up or backslide, so you don’t get discouraged
- Share your goals with friends for added accountability
- Constantly remind yourself where you will be if you reach your goals each week.
- Keep your eye on the prize! Post your goals, pictures and motivation where you can see it multiple times through out the day.