Yesterday in the gym I met a lovely lady who was doing what looked like a very fun, but very hard workout with a trainer. We were stretching near each other (always stretch after workouts please) and we got to chatting a bit. She mentioned that when it comes to dieting and exercise she has an “all or nothing” attitude. Now that sounds familiar!
I don’t know about you but I have definitely applied that attitude in the past, and as recently as a few weeks ago when I tried the sugar detox. While that style of diet can work for a short time, for a specified goal… health is so much more than that. Health is a lifestyle, and all or nothing does not work for life.
Let me walk you through what happens to me, and from what I’ve heard, happens to most people too.
Step 1: You decide you need to change and you set a goal. “I need to lose 10 pounds” for example.
Step 2: You set a timeline. “I will start next week” or maybe if you are ambitious “I will start tomorrow”
Step 3: You start to plan… this entails setting rules, limitations, regimes, measurements, and the dreaded restrictions!
Step 4: you freak the hell out because you can no longer have foods that you rarely eat anyways and your days will be occupied with cardio and weights so you eat a bag of popcorn, a mug of hot chocolate, and a bowl or 3 of ice cream and sit on the couch until 4am watching the entire third season of big bang theory because you can’t sleep from all the sugar.
Step 5: You may or may not start you diet and be successful but you have introduced a bunch of sugar right beforehand that you will now crave and will make the diet all the harder.
Well I’ve tried that approach, I’m not a fan. You know what I am a fan of? Things that work long-term. And yes I fall off the wagon, but it’s about a lifetime of fitness.
So what works for me?
Well I find the exercise part of fitness pretty easy. I like exercise, it makes me feel happy and accomplished. So I start there. I start with what I find easiest and most enjoyable. I get that on track and some things come with it.
Once I start exercising I like to get my nutrition timing in check. I hate feeling like I’m not getting the most out of a gruelling workout so I make sure that (depending on my goal) I have a simple carb (like fruit) and a protein shake with extra glutamine right after a workout. I might even include some BCAAs during the workout.
Then I might do some more cardio to go with my workouts because it helps me warm up the muscles and get a better stretch.
And if I’m putting in the effort to do cardio there is NO WAY I am going to waste that effort by eating a bunch of ice cream right after.
Slowly but surely the pieces fall into place and I have it together. My healthy lifestyle is back on track. My mornings get filled with beautiful omelettes, my sugar intake gets slashed and my protein intake goes way up.
Hello health… I missed you.Do you guys have this problem? What are your strategies for tackling the all of nothing approach?