Posted By Kristin McCaig
If you are changing your lifestyle to be healthier, to have more energy and to feel so much better, I want you to read the following information.
This could be one of the most important catalysts between your success and your failure in sustaining the changes you are making.
Picture this familiar scenario…
You have been working really hard sticking to this whole healthy lifestyle change of eating By Design and you have had some ups and downs.
Up until now though, you have been able to pull yourself through the rough patches by picking yourself up and getting back on track with healthy eating.
But this time is different…
This time you have nothing left. No willpower to fight off the craving for sugar and no energy to even attempt to talk yourself into going to a grocery store to restock your empty fridge.
And now, due in part to your complete exhaustion, you have come to the conclusion that you are very busy and this “new diet” is really taking a lot of time in terms of food preparation, groceries and dishes….like an unrealistic amount of time!
This is probably not the right time in your life to be trying to make such a drastic change…or so you tell yourself.
You need to understand that this happens…to everyone.
This situation has come up with nearly every single person I have worked with who was struggling to repair their relationship with food.
And today I am going to share with you three of the most important pieces of information that I know, to help you stay committed.
Without this insight you will continue to go in circles, from one diet to another, with a few weeks of success and then back to another year or more of struggling because you will continue to tell yourself I have failed again and I just do not have what it takes to stick it out right now.
So here we go…
1. I want you to know that you are not alone.
It happened to me too, as well as probably everyone I know who made this lifestyle change. I survived through it and so did they. You are not alone.
I survived in my transition into healthy eating not because I have some special self-restraint superpower. I was successful because every time I hit a down, I let it run it’s course and then I found a way to get back on track.
And part of getting back on track was that I had an excellent accountability partner who reminded me every time I was struggling that there was no massive mountain standing between me and getting back on track. All it would take is a simple trip to the grocery store or choosing to make a healthy dinner tonight.
And it really is that simple. No guilt necessary. No need to beat myself up. Just get my sh*t back together and hop back on track right now (not tomorrow or Monday or next month)…
I had weeks where I ate croissants at every chance I could. I used to eat fast food burgers and pop in my car on a regular basis and then throw away all the evidence so that no one would know. I did the same with foot long subs. I used to drive to Costco just to get their big chocolate and vanilla ice cream cones…
And you know what? Sometimes I still do stuff like this. It is just a lot less frequent and I am much more aware of the impact it has on my body, which motivates me to make better choices.
And I never let these moments be the last word in my lifestyle change. I never give up. There is no “end date” to my healthy eating. I don’t take vacations from it. Eating healthy is the lifestyle I have chosen for myself, even when I go off-track.
2. Now, I want you to know that it does get easier…and easier.
As I said, these challenges to stay on track are never going to disappear completely. No matter how healthy you eat and no matter how much you enjoy it, you are likely always going to have some weaknesses (mine is chocolate).
But over time, off-track foods that you used to love are going to seem too sweet and you are actually going to begin to notice how crappy you feel after eating the unhealthy stuff. So because of this, you begin to actually prefer the healthy stuff!
And, you begin to cherish the your off-track favorites…
What I mean is that if given the option of having a treat, you will know what foods you have decided are actually worth the indulgence and you will be less likely to just give into everything…all the time.
That is powerful, because the less you give in to off-track food, the more your health improves.
3. The last thing I want you to know is…
You will continue to be challenged.
I know I said it will get easier but you will never stop facing temptations and challenges.
For example, I have not eaten at McDonald’s for probably nine years and I have not even been tempted in the slightest (I used to be a huge fan of the quarter pounder with cheese, medium fry and a diet coke)…but that was an easy one to let go…
Still, there are other things that challenge me, like Beavertails (in Ottawa, Canada these are pastries that are deep fried and coated with sugar). There is the ice cream parlor that is attached to the barbershop where I take my kids for haircuts, there are Reese Peanut Butter Cups, there are Timbits (little donuts) and there are still….croissants (sigh!).
And sometimes I choose to indulge. And you may too.
Yes…especially in the early days, you will sometimes willingly drive yourself to the drugstore with the sole intent of buying peanut butter cups and Pepsi because you truly do not have the energy to even try to negotiate a healthier plan with your exhausted, sugar craving brain.
But over time, you may just go for the peanut butter cups. And eventually these little trips may lead you to the health food store instead, for some good quality dark chocolate and kombucha…but you will probably continue to be challenged.
(This is a good time to remind you of what I said about having an accountability partner…That may be the best move you can make to get you through rough patches like this, to help you make that better decision next time, to remind you that yes, today was not ideal but that doesn’t mean much in the big picture…)
What you can do right now…
One way that you can move from peanut butter cups and pop to dark chocolate and kombucha is to take moment right now, when you have a little energy and create a better action plan for your weakest moments.
Grab yourself a pen and paper and answer this question “What can I do next time I am exhausted and craving a treat that will satisfy the craving but still support my health (or will be a better option)?”
Can you keep frozen mango and coconut milk on hand at all times so that your next sugar craving can be answered with homemade ice cream?
Can you scope out the dark chocolate bars at your nearest grocery store so that you do not automatically go for the lower quality options?
Can you clean all of the junk out your cupboards that you truly do not want to be eating?
Can you think of a “fast-food” place that is better than your go-to?
Remember, healthy eating is a lifestyle that you are choosing in order to make your life better. There is no end date and there is no other option.
Even though what you eat may change over time, your mission to eat well does not. And going off track has nothing to do with sustaining or quitting…it is just a bump in the road.
Knowing this is what has made my healthy lifestyle totally sustainable and I hope that it is as powerful for you.
So here’s the recap:
- You are not alone.
- The challenges will get easier (especially if you make an action plan for next time).
- You will continue to be challenged but you will never fail if you decide that this is a lifestyle for a lifetime, not a diet with an end-date.