“There are no limitations to the mind except those we acknowledge.” –Napoleon Hill
One of my biggest frustrations being in the health and fitness industry is this focus on “The Plan” with disregard for what it takes to actually DO the plan. Having a plan is great, but having a plan for implementation is better. I believe that the majority of being able to actually follow a plan has to do with your MINDSET and your ATTITUDE about body change (the remainder being lifestyle, schedule, etc.).
SO, with that said, it might not be that you are on the “wrong plan” so much as you are not spending the time and effort to get your mental fitness on board. I will give you this little secret—most fat loss nutrition plan are not all that different. Go to any competition coach and you’ll find only so many different ways to say “chicken and broccoli” so it’s not that any coach’s plan is magic. It’s the way the plan is PACKAGED that makes it unique, and the packaging has more to do with attitude and belief systems. The what-foods?, when? and how much? is secondary.
Here are 4 common attitude hindrances that I have experienced myself and with clients. Perhaps you can identify. And I offer my solutions for moving beyond them.
1) You see eating healthy as a punishment.
Of course anything is going to seem hard if you view it as a chore. “Ugh, you mean I have to prepare my food on the weekend?? Ugh, you mean I have to skip the bread basket??” When you constantly comment on eating from a place of lack, you are going to feel as though you are being punished for trying to do something good for your body. The truth is that eating healthy is only as hard as you decide it is. Instead of huffing and puffing about how tough it is, try to turn around your attitude by using gratitude. “Gee, I am so grateful that I am able to fuel my body with healthy food and feel energized! I can’t believe I get to eat clean and wake-up in the morning feeling lean and light. I am grateful all my clothes zip right up!”
When you start to make the change over to seeing eating clean as a privilege instead of a punishment, it gets a whole lot easier.
2) You feel like you are “missing out” when you’re eating clean.
I experienced this heavily with my first couple shows. My in-laws are Italian. And boy, do we eat like Italians when we visit (which is pretty much every weekend)—wine, bread, cheese, pasta, tiramisu, etc. When I was in competition prep mode, either when I went to their house or even when I chose to stay home to resist temptation, I always had this feeling of missing out. Besides, food is fun! And everyone else is having FUN eating whatever they want, I want to have fun too! :) I struggled with feeling left out.
However, the more I practiced eating healthy, the more I realized that food was actually not fun. The more “comfort food” I ate, the less comfortable I felt! Ugh. I began to realize that it didn’t matter what other people were eating because I knew that in order to feel my best, I needed to stick to a cleaner diet. I realized that food is always going to be there—I didn’t need to have [the cheesecake, cookie, cannoli, etc] right then. They would always be there if I really wanted them later.
Over time I mastered the art of delayed gratification to the point that I didn’t even need that stuff anymore. However, the key is that I switched my ATTITUDE about it, based on how crappy food made me feel. All of a sudden, I wasn’t missing out; everyone else was missing out on what I had discovered! I practiced a new attitude and way of thinking until it became automatic, effortless.
3) You play the “But it’s not fair!” card.
This is a biggie in the fat loss world. “She can eat anything she wants and never gains a pound, and me, if I even look at a carb, I gain 5!” This is a very real scenario, and you can find instances of this all over the place. Is it fair? No. But it is “what is”—no matter how much we cry and whine and bitch and kick and scream, there is always going to be someone out there who has it easier than us when it comes to body change. That is the unfortunate truth. Sorry to throw some tough love on you, but when we argue with reality, it’s only us that gets hurt. We can drive ourselves crazy wishing it were easier, wishing we had so-and-so’s metabolism, cursing our genetics, hoping for a completely different BONE STRUCTURE—as is we have a choice over any of it. Sadly, we do not.
And the bottom line is that complaining about it only makes it harder to achieve results because we are so busy being mad at our situation. The victim mindset takes over and we are unable to act and improve. I have written on my thighs and how, wish as I might, they will always be big. I have come to accept this. But what I refuse to accept is that it doesn’t matter what I do with them. I work my ass off to keep them as tight, firm and dimple-free as possible, regardless of size. I will not give up simply because my genetic code had a different idea of societal physique norms at conception :)
So, bottom line is that fat loss is unfair. And your body doesn’t care if you like that one bit. It does not care what someone else can eat, and what you can’t.
The change of attitude comes into place when we stop moping around and start doing the very best we can with what we have. We take on the CHALLENGE of our tough metabolism or stubborn thighs. We start looking for the bright spots, and start working to make the best of that we cannot change.
4) You hold the belief that at some point this “dieting” will be over and you can go back to eating whatever you want.
Once again, Debbie Downer here to tell you that if you truly want a healthy, lean physique, you can never go back to doing what you were doing before you started down this journey.
I know that can be scary because our habits are so ingrained.
Commit to it. Stop pretending, and start OWNING it. Don’t put on the façade of someone who really, really wants to lose weight. Instead, just start being lean and fit NOW. Start doing. Immerse yourself in the process—BE what you want to be even before you ARE it. You are simply going through the motions when you think that at some point there will be a time when you can eat to your heart’s desire again.
For this attitude adjustment to be made, we need to get out of our comfort zone. It’s scary when we don’t have all the answers to take a risk on a new lifestyle. But it’s a whole lot scarier to live an unhealthy, sedentary lifestyle in the long run.
I came to this realization about 2 years ago—up until that point I was competing and perpetually looking forward to my “off season” as an excuse to eat whatever I wanted. Besides, I was “building.” :) But after I quit competing, I came to the scary realization that I would and could never indulge in off-seasons again if I wanted to stay lean and not damage my metabolism further. I thought, “I will never, ever be able to eat whatever I want ever again.” At first scary, but then ironically, it was liberating. It was like, ok, I know the rules now, I can work with them—I had a plan. And I was able to get busy doing it.
If you truly want to get and stay lean, commit to the lifestyle of a lean person—not simply as a front to others, but most importantly to yourself. Start acting lean right now.
Hopefully these give you some insight into some mental switches to make to allow for body change to be easier. Once we get our head wrapped around the process in a productive way, rather than a victim way, the doing comes more naturally.
Have you experienced these mental blocks? Share with me in the Comments section below! ox Jill
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