If you want to lose weight or gain muscle, people will tell you there is no room for error when it comes to your diet. But, according to nutrition experts, a streak of eating “perfectly” could actually backfire. You’re setting yourself up for disaster.
In today’s world, wanting to be perfect is understandable but unrealistic. For starters, there is no such thing as perfect. So don’t convince yourself that because you’ve had one treat, or you went over your calorie goal one day that you should just give up and try again later. It’s not an all or nothing game.
Consistency is Key.
For most people, changing everything about the way they eat is simply too much to deal with all at once. You can’t just snap your fingers and love eating greens every day when you’ve been living on refined carbs, it’s just not going to happen. It’s a slow process and by chasing perfection with a change to the foods we buy, the way we cook, the new dishes we make for every meal and starting a new workout routine on top of it all. It’s no wonder we end up failing.
When you break down and consistently stick to changes one at a time you give yourself time for it to become second-nature. If you try to do too much at the same time, it’s never going to work. You’ve probably seen someone who goes on a cleanse or restrictive diet. During the diet, they’re able to avoid the constant supply of cakes in the office. But once the diet ends, they can’t stop eating doughnuts every time they walk into the room. It’s just not sustainable.
If you’re aiming for consistency over perfection, then you might eat doughnuts regularly, but you are able to connect how eating a lot of doughnuts makes you feel and can work on eating less at every encounter. That way you make a habit of reducing your sweet consumption, and build trust within yourself around more indulgent foods.
Let go of you all or nothing way of thinking with these easy tips:
1. Make your goals smart (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time bound).
Focus on one or two goals at a time and make each aspect of a SMART goal [link to How to make a New Year’s Resolution post] realistic and something you are interested and invested in achieving; there’s your motivation.
2. Don’t make certain foods entirely off-limits.
By restricting certain food you’ll end up craving them more, focus on moderation and building up desires for healthier bites.
3. Get back on the wagon.
Giving yourself permission to eat “off-limits” foods puts you back in control. It’s up to you, is it the right time to eat something or is there a healthier choice you could have that would satisfy your craving? If you choose to eat something not so healthy, enjoy it and move on. Don’t beat yourself up.
4. Experiment and explore.
Do you ever find yourself eating the same thing week in and week out? It’s time to shake things up! Try shopping at a different supermarket or find new foods to incorporate into your favourite meals. Explore the produce section to find a seasonal fruit, vegetable or even a different whole grain to rotate into your cooking routine every week.
5. Track your progress.
Don’t forget to celebrate! Take photos, write journals, give yourself something to look back on and go “look how far I’ve come!”
If you’re consistent and don’t give up when there are bumps along the way, anything is possible.
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