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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Four secrets to not getting sidetracked

Image from Flickr, by redjar
When you're fat and trying to become awesome, you try and do everything you can to stay on track.  Unfortunate, that's not always as easy as it sounds.  Real life can get in the way.  It's happened to me, and I suspect that most folks who have tried to go from fat to awesome have had it happen to them too.

However, the secret to avoiding it is to know what to look out for.

So, without further ado, here are four secrets to not getting sidetracked on the way to your fitness goals.

1.  Get your family on board

If you family isn't, at the very least, supportive, you're pretty well screwed.  Here you are, eating healthy, exercising, trying to get fit and healthy and there they sit with a gallon of ice cream in their lap, asking if you want some.

Each time they ask, they mean well.  They just don't want you to feel excluded.  What they don't realize is they're like sandpaper, slowing wearing away your willpower.  No one has infinite willpower, so it's just a matter of time.  Each time they ask, you're a little closer to saying, "yes".

Not only that, but it's time for your workout, but your significant other really wants to go to a movie.  Again, they don't mean harm, but they're back to being sandpaper-like.

It's essential that you make sure your family is at least willing to not make these offers.  You should sit them down and talk to them.  Tell them why this is important to you, and ask if they would help you.  This is a bit of manipulation, but not a bad kind.  People like to feel needed, so asking someone to help you triggers that part of the psyche that loves to do just that.  It's especially powerful if what you're asking for requires minimal output on their part.

2.  Beware the holidays

After dropping 35 lbs, I got sidetracked.  What got me?  In part, the Christmas holiday.  Here in the United States, Thanksgiving followed by Christmas - and the associated leftovers - makes it difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle.  This is especially true if your family has traditional foods that aren't exactly healthy.

They're still going to want them, and you probably do too.  It's part of your comfort level regarding holidays, and that's fine.  The truth is, eating bad food two days a year isn't going to kill you.  It's not even going to really do any significant harm unless it becomes sustained.  The problem is, it's often not just two days a year.

In my house, cornbread dressing means a big honking pan of yumminess.  I love the stuff, but it's definitely not paleo or primal.  The recipe doesn't scale well unless you just make more, so we always have leftovers for days after Thanksgiving.  We then follow up with it again on Christmas, with the days afterward.

In and of itself, this could be dealt with.  Unfortunately, when you get tired of eating this stuff, pizza starts to look good.  After all, you've already been bad, and you haven't really lost that much, so what's the harm?  Next thing you know, you're sidetracked.

Here's my plan for this year.  Make however much, but do not allow leftovers to stay at your house.  Give it away, throw it away, whatever.  Don't let it stay in your fridge.  On Thanksgiving Day, you eat bad.  The next day, you dodge crowds at the mall and get back to eating healthy.  On Christmas day, you eat however.  On December 26th, you're back on plan.  Allow the hiccups to be planned and controlled, and then go back to business as usual.

3.  Clean house

I've mentioned this before, but don't have the bad food in your house to start with.  If it's there, you're likely to eat it.  If your kid just has to have ice cream, then you're going to be tempted.  It's just how it is.  If you like it, there will come a time when you crave it.

However, if you clean house first and get rid of all the bad stuff, then there's nothing there to tempt you.  Sure, you might get a craving and hop in the car to hit the store, but that also gives you time to come to your senses and realize what's going on.

4.  Learn from your mistakes

You're going to slip up from time to time.  Sometimes, it could get ugly.  I've gotten so bad I grabbed anything and everything bad for me to gorge myself like Jabba the Hut.  It wasn't pretty at all.  However, I learned from them.  I figured out what the problem was.  For me, I just wasn't getting a filling enough meal.  I had used intermittent fasting and got ridiculous with it.  The lesson for me was to not try intermittent fasting every day, regardless of how much progress I was making with it.

Slip ups happen.  There's no shame in it, so long as you simply accept it, learn from it, and move on.  It doesn't mean you're weak.  It means you're human.

Four simple things you can do to help bolster your chances in meeting your fitness goals.  Give them a try and you'll see how easy it can be.

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