I have been a fitness professional for roughly thirteen years and I have a secret.
I struggle with my weight and fitness level!
I am not “genetically gifted”, I am not a machine that is always motivated to work out, and most importantly I do not have the iron will to avoid every piece of food out there that is considered unhealthy.
To maintain a healthy lifestyle and a decent fitness level is a daily struggle for me. If I want to be in what I consider competition shape for the races I love to do, it takes an extreme amount of work and discipline.
Over the span of my fitness career, I have been both obese at 250lbs and in the best endurance shape I have ever been in at 150lbs. Even at my low end I only had a six pack if I flexed really hard. I have endured non-alcohol related liver failure that caused me to lose over 30lbs in two weeks and the after effect of needing to get my weight back up.
Even while I am healthy I can easily fluctuate between 170lbs and 190lbs. I have a love of food and a body that puts weight on easily. I guess what I am getting at is that I am human!
So how do I deal with this so I don’t become obese again? I take one day and one obstacle at a time. Sometimes I overcome the obstacle and sometimes I give in. The important part is I never get down on myself for being human. I plan ahead as best I can, and I try not to stress out if things don’t go right. Sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn’t. Somedays are great days, I workout hard, eat only the meat and vegetables that I know I need, and I avoid all sugar and grain products. Some days are ok days; workout might be lackluster and I might let stress get the best of me and eat something I know I shouldn’t. I am sure this is the same pattern most of you fall into.
So how do I make sure I have more good days than ok days? First of all, I realize that I am human and cannot be perfect. If you notice I said I have some “ok” days and not “bad” days, that is because slipping up a little bit does not make it bad. If you let yourself think of those days as bad days all it is going to do is lead to extra stress, depression, and more bad days! So think of those days as being human. There are two main reasons that often lead to “ok” days: extra stress or boredom. So how can we arm ourselves against that?
Starting with stress, meditation is the greatest tool you can use to lower stress. There are many great meditation apps out there and it is amazing how a ten minute mental break can strengthen your motivation. If it is boredom getting you, get active. Go for a walk, do a project around the house you have been meaning to, go clean out your car, just do something to get up and moving. You will find the busier you are the less vulnerable to snacking you are. Just add these two simple habits to your day and you will start to shift from more “ok” days to more good days.
The true trick to having more good days is planning ahead. One thing I make sure I do is schedule my workouts in my calendar. These are meetings with myself that I cannot miss! If you need to seek out a personal trainer to add an extra level of accountability to your workout do it (that is one of the reasons I am here – I can add that extra level of accountability and be there for you when you need me).
The other thing I do is every Sunday my wife and I meal plan for the week. Complete honesty - this is not an easy task. It is hard to come up with a menu for the entire week, not knowing what life is going to throw at us during the week, or what kind of schedule our 6-month old is going to decide to be on for that week. We have to consider what time I get home each night to decide if it needs to be a crockpot meal or we can cook it that night. We have to plan for leftovers for lunch the next day, and we have to come up with quick breakfast meals that can be grab and go. Sometimes we start it, have no ideas, walk away, search the internet for healthy recipes, come back and try again. I am being honest when saying this is one of the hardest things I do every week; but it is also the most important thing I do every week. This is because if we don’t plan well, we end up eating out more. When we eat out more it is harder to control the quality of the food. There are weeks like this, we are not perfect. Most of these weeks start out good but towards the end the stress of the week leads us to just eating out. Planning all meals out is the only way to avoid this pattern!
The main point I wanted to get across is I am human. I struggle just like you! The best thing you can do for you is don’t let trying to be perfect stress you out! This will only lead to failure. Instead, do the best you can today and strive to do a little better tomorrow. This is the true key to success when building a healthy lifestyle!