Advice from a Dietitian. Part 4 of 4: Consistency and Avoid Comparisons
In the last 3 posts, we have discussed some things that can help lead you to a healthier lifestyle. Today we will be finishing up with the final post of the series focusing on 2 main points:
Consistency is key
Healthy lifestyles do not just happen overnight, it takes practice and dedication to really make a change. I have often seen people with a “go big or go home attitude”, where if they “slipped up” or “cheated” once, then they decided they might as well give up because they already “went off track”. Small changes make BIG differences, and taking things one step at a time will make your life significantly easier. Recent research on formation and breaking of habits examined whether a habit is better formed when seeking a reward, or when attempting to avoid punishment. Upon completion of numerous experiments, it was found that habits were faster and more strongly formed when individuals sought pleasure from the habit rather than punishment. This indicates that forming a habit as a means to better yourself is stronger than forming a habit by trying to prevent something bad from happening to you. Do not try to restrict yourself so much to the point that you begin to binge. If you crave your guilty pleasure once in awhile, then allow yourself a small portion of it to satisfy your craving. Too often people try to squash the craving by over eating tons of other foods without getting the feeling they are looking for. Once you satisfy your craving, continue to challenge yourself to make healthier choices the rest of that day. Making the choice to follow your exercise program and choose quality foods will add up over time. You will not see a change instantly, but do not let that discourage you. Trust the process, and before you know it, you will start noticing your energy levels rising and your overall feeling of health and happiness improving.
Don’t compare your journey to anyone else’s
This is probably the most important piece of advice that I want you to take from today. We as individuals are all so very unique, that’s what keeps life interesting. That also is what makes our journey to healthier lifestyles vary so much from the people around us. So what if Johnny and Janie are adding on more muscle and improving their lifts while you struggle to put up your numbers? Cheer for the successes of those around you because they are trying just as hard as you are. Your time will come, so enjoy getting to know your body and experiencing all that you are truly capable of. Have fun and appreciate your journey to the healthiest version of yourself. A year from now you will be able to look back and think “Man I am really happy I started when I did. I can’t believe I am actually capable of so much more than I ever imagined”.
Take this advice and use it to shape your own goals. Write them down, share them with your coach, and keep track of your progress. Slowly and surely you will begin to realize that you didn’t need a magic wand to make your dreams come true, even though it would be pretty cool to fly a broomstick. =)
About the author:
Meagan began training at SAA a few years ago looking to learn the Olympic lifts. She started with a blank slate and learned to trust the process as our coaches worked on her technique and strength. As a Registered Dietitian, she has been able to fuel herself for performance as we programmed for her progression as a weightlifter. Meagan works as a Sport Nutrition Consultant for Renaissance Periodization and spent the last baseball season working for the World Series Champions, Chicago Cubs, as the clubhouse dietitian for their Triple A Minor league affiliate, the Iowa Cubs. Currently, Meagan works for Gatorade Sports Science Institute and is the Sports Dietitian for the Chicago White Sox.
KuhbandnerC, Haager J. Overcoming approach and withdrawal habits: approaching former enemies is easier than withdrawing from former friends. J Exper Psych. 2016;145(11):1438-1447.