Many of us can relate to the “I’ll start on Monday”, “after my vacation” or “after the holidays”. What are we really waiting for? Other than setting ourselves up for failure and a yo yo cycle of being ‘good’ or ‘bad’ and constantly stressing ourselves about failing to meet our goals. Maybe our goals are not realistic: “I want to lose 20 lbs before my class reunion at in 3 weeks” or “I am going to the gym 7 days a week for 2 hours each and everyday“. Neither of these ideas are helpful in our strive to be healthier as individuals and as a society. We will constantly be making excuses why we should break our diet or skip our exercise. This makes consistency with food and exercise very challenging.
I think many of us set ourselves up by listening to what society tells us we should look like or what we should eat. It is important to have reachable goals when working towards something. It may not be in your genes, even with balanced food choices and moderate exercise, to be a size 2. More likely than not, the ideal requires an unideal life style, and how long can we honestly live like that? In my experience in the fitness/ nutrition business I see the average ‘diet’ last 1, maybe 2 weeks…and burn out rate after joining a gym at 6 months.
In my younger years I, too, have been guilty of this. Modeling at 19 years old I starved myself because my producer told me my thighs were too big. He would drive me around to photo shoots, eating pizza as he drove and telling me about the new 24 hour diet he wanted me to go on…oh and that I should stop running because running makes my body loose and jiggly. Young and naive, I listened to his voice and 6 months later I ended up really sick with mononucleosis and decided to quit modeling, it wasn’t worth it to me.
Every one of us has our own individual balance of all things healthy that can provide consistency. Having dessert, skipping a workout while on vacation, or having a glass of good wine are all parts of a life with consistency. I realized I didn’t want to be a starving skinny model and rather be a strong, fit, and energized individual… and enjoy pizza too! I found my consistency by listening to my body and keeping everyday exercise and eating habits and that were doable for me – a life style that I have kept consistent throughout the past 20 years now.
With the holidays coming up soon and the latest gimmick to ‘shed 10 pounds by the holidays’ (so you can righteously eat them back), or ‘beat holiday bulge by fasting now’ – why not try to focus on consistency? Consistency is the opposite of yo yo dieting and obsessive, or total lack of exercise habits. Consistency provides a constant even flow of healthy choices and moderate exercise. If we are consistent then there is no need to feel the pressure of last minute dieting or guilt of not exercising. Moderation and balance are the keys to consistency.
So why do we keep buying into these ideas that we have to commit to an extreme plan that does not allow for our individual circumstances to be considered? Consistency with food and exercise are key to reaching your health goals. So what are you waiting for to welcome consistency to your life?