The truth about why diets don’t work.
The idea of a diet is one that lacks commitment. “I’m going to start a diet…, When I get off this diet…..” A lifestyle change has the opposite implication. You are looking for lasting changes to make, that will payoff, in lasting results. When one enters into any relationship it causes change and yet we don’t enter in with the idea of ‘as soon as this thing is over, I will be able to do what I want again.’ Goals can not be short sited or expected to always be instantaneous. Changing things in your life that are ultimately causing you harm should be your goal.
How do you implement a true lifestyle change. Know your why. If your goal is only to wear that little black dress for a special event, you are likely doomed for failure and destined to regain weight and become unhealthy again. If on the other hand your first goal is to wear the little black dress, but continue on a health journey after crossing that first goal off your list, you are more likely to commit.
Identify the health changes you desire. Looking good, feeling better are very broad. ‘I want to bring my blood sugar under control’. This is a real measurable goal. Knowing, if your blood sugar is controlled, you likely can avoid medication or reduce current medications. Decreasing blood sugar will help decrease inflammation and insulin resistance. These two things alone are the driving cause of heart disease, high blood pressure, PCOS, diabetes, metabolic resistance, even premature aging and cancer. Ultimately the result of a lifestyle change that lowers blood sugar will cause weight loss, improve metabolic function, give you more energy and more clear thinking.
Your why, is your driving force and your compass for your journey. Yes, this is a journey, no microwave wellness here. Your why may be that your parents died young and you want to be here to see your grandchildren. Drill down on this why. What would life look like with those grandkids. Are you up for a daylong trip of walking around an amusement park or helping coach soccer or softball? Be honest with yourself. Plan this journey. Be specific about the changes you want to make. I want my knees not to hurt when I walk. I will decrease inflammation by the changes I make, which will also result in weight loss and decreased damage to my joints. I will take less pain medication which will help repair my gut health and preserve my liver health. Maybe your why, in light of current events, is to improve your immune health. I will learn about immunity and lifestyle changes that will improve my ability to heal myself and PREVENT disease. These things are measurable in blood work and other evaluations.
Make a plan. If you don’t plan, you plan to fail. Don’t try to make all the changes you want for your future all at one time. This is a recipe for disaster. ‘I’m going to only eat 800 calories a day of kelp and spinach, and run 5 miles a day, and star doing cross fit 3 days a week starting right now.’ How unrealistic for someone who hasn’t left the couch or the Doritos in the last 5 years. Small changes implemented and perfected, one step at a time. Yes, change your food choices, add movement. Set measurable goals, understand that weight loss and health improvement are not linear. There will be temporary plateaus. Understand that a plateau is usually a sign of internal healing. Can you knit and play the guitar at the same time. No! Just because you don’t see visible external changes doesn’t mean you are not healing internally. I have a client that came to me wanting to get off medication and control his blood sugar without the use of medication. After reviewing his lab values it became evident that more than A1c needed repair. His cholesterol, triglycerides and uric acid were all skewed. Getting off medication came early, blood sugar normalized quickly. The last value, after 11 months, uric acid is finally normal. Planning, consistency, patience will pay off.
Look at changes that fit your schedule, your budget, your preferences. The goal would be to change to healthier preferences. Knowing you hate kelp and running, makes a long term commitment to that lifestyle unlikely. However knowing that sugar, in all its many forms, causes metabolic resistance and therefore inflammation would make becoming a label super sleuth a realistic goal. Your goal would therefore be to avoid foods with sugar. Obvious sugar laden foods such as sodas, fruit juices, candy and ‘snack foods’. Just making the choice to avoid these foods for the first three weeks of your journey. Once you master this, begin planning for the next change you will make, like removing inflammatory oils from your food choices.
Keep your why in front of you, make a list of all your whys. Write them down on an index card, keep it with you, read it at least twice a day or anytime you feel vulnerable to temptation. Have a plan for temptations or outright sabotage. Create a coping plan for stress which is a trigger for so many poor choices in an attempt at self soothing. Evaluate your sleep patterns. Remember, late nights, extended time on electronics and short sleep times are all negatives when it comes to improving your health. Change, real change, takes practice and commitment. Just like a baby learning to walk, you keep getting up and going. Don’t be self critical for lapses. You wouldn’t scold a baby for falling down. You would cheer and encourage and help them keep going. Extend this same grace to yourself. You can do this.
If you would like help exploring lifestyle changes and improving your health contact a body shop coach today.