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January 9, 2012

4 Lessons in Stick-To-It-Ness: Practice, Challenges, Victimhood, Gratitude

Good day! It’s the 2nd week of the new year, and I hope all of you are still on your fat loss lifestyle journey!

I hesitated about posting (again) because I was not 100% compliant last week and as a fat loss coach, there is always that nagging feeling that I should be perfect with this stuff and make it look easy, and well…as soon as I thought that, I knew I needed to post and confess! lol :)

I was almost 100% compliant with my exercise regimen, I did 5 days of heavy weight training, 3 days of interval cardio and 2 days or longer cardio. I did not walk every walk like I wanted, only doing it 3x. With my nutrition, I have a lot of work to do. I eat fairly clean as it is, so the food choices do not need changing, per se. However, the frequency of eating and the prepping of food needs improvements. For example, if you have been reading this blog for a while, you know I kinda hate cooking (ok, I actually really hate it). Ironically considering I have a cooking column in a monthly magazine (I DO like to bake healthy treats though, just to be fair :)). So anyway, if I am not meticulous with food prep, I don’t do a great job with eating enough meals and backing off processed foods like bars and shakes. I know this is my challenge.

Getting back on track

After having mindfully gone through this past week, and reflecting on it over the weekend, I know I need to implement some ways to make food prep and cooking EASIER for myself. So instead of FORCING myself to cook a whole bunch of food, which is what I would have done in the past, only to end up making things harder and less sustainable for myself, Jade and I agreed to hire someone to buy, prep and cook our breakfasts and dinners for the week (healthy, lean but still taste good like frittatas and chili). This takes care of those meals. So that basically leaves me with a mid-day meal and 2 smaller snacks that I need to get. So I decided I am going to do salads with chicken for lunch–and I know myself and I will not make salads–so I will get one of my favorites from a place in town that does a fairly clean version of a grilled chicken salad with balsamic. As for snacks, I usually grab a protein bar, but I did not buy them this week in the name of eating more “real” food, so I bought apples, grapefruits, almonds and eggs for hard-boiled eggs. I will boil a dozen eggs and then partition them into baggies with 3 or 4 in each. And we will just see how things go this week!

A lot of the JillFit mind-body posts focus on this “expectation of perfection” and the all-or-nothing mindset. Like, if we are not 100% adherent to our meal plans and workout schedule then well, we just blew it. My advice to clients and on the blog has always been to do a few things, and I am reiterating them to myself right now:

1) Acknowledge that this is a PRACTICE, and the idea that I am going to be 100% compliant the first week of implementing several new changes is insane. Thinking that way only sets me up for disappointment if I am not able to follow through. Does that mean I give up and I have lost the battle? Of course not! <—This is where the turn-around is. Just because I am “ok” with not being 100% compliant DOES NOT mean I don’t try again this week. It’s the PRACTICE of it, over days, weeks, months and years that makes it stick. When you put it like that, how insane is it to set the expectation that you will be 100%? So instead I am going to both throw myself a bone AND throw myself right back in the ring.

2)  Challenges and mess-ups allow for times of learning. This is a biggie, looking to times where I “mess up” as opportunities for learning. In the book “Switch” by Dan & Chip Heath, the authors address the psychology of change. They say that change does not occur randomly, it happens more easily with thoughtful planning. But before you can plan, it is helpful to know the parameters of change.  All change efforts come down to 3 basic things: The Plan, The Mindset and The Environment. These three areas are all you need to focus on:

  • The Plan is all about knowing where you are going. It is your purpose for doing this the end-goal. But knowing what the end looks like is not enough, you have to know the individual steps and the timing of those steps to get there.
  • The Mindset is all about wrapping your head around the fact that motivation and drive quickly wear out & when they do, there must be a greater purpose left there to take the reigns.  The success mindset is one about learning, exploring, pursuing and enjoying the journey to mastery as if you were an explorer or detective. If you love the process, the protocol becomes easy.
  • The Environment is all about shaping the path to make it easier for you. Any change you make should be fit to you and made just as easy or easier than the thing it is replacing.

I can see that my mindset and environment might need adjusting for me on this journey.

My environment changes I referred to above in terms of prepping and cooking food and making things convenient for me.

In terms of mindset, I see that I have a couple things going on. First, I am comfortable in my old regimen. I don’t have to work too hard to do it. It’s easy, it’s not all that bad (I mean, it’s not like I am binging on pizza, more like having too many protein bars lol) AND I am not dissatisfied enough to want to change it. My mindset is ok, but in order to get even more dialed in, I have to want to delve into my current habits, practices and the “why” behind why I do (or don’t do) what I do. However, I am reluctant to set yet another goal just in order to change my mindset just yet, so I will keep this one on the back burner for now and revisit it next week.

3) Don’t be a victim. A hard lesson to learn for all of us, and I still find myself getting caught up in the “VC” or “victim culture” as we call it. A huge part of this is the idea that I “just want to have what I want to have.” I want to stomp my foot, dig my heels into the ground and defend my current plan! It’s not that bad! I mean, I should be seeing results!!? I like half & half in my coffee, waaaaaaah! I like protein bars for a treat, waaaaaaah! I like to do long duration cardio, waaaaaah! In order to get my mind right, I need to realize that the things I like and the things that are convenient are not necessarily the way to get my physique to the next level. And if I want to see more change, I need to change what I am doing even more. Waaaaah!! lol :)

It’s exactly what Jade said: The plan with which we see results is the plan with which we see results. Your body doesn’t care if that point is convenient for you, or easy for you or comfortable. Your body will experience change when the right things are in place, regardless of how you feel about that.”  WOW, truer words were never spoken! Waaaaaaah! lol :) You get the point! A good reminder!!

4) Acknowledge that things that I am doing well! Err, I think I can do that?? It is hard, especially for us women, because we are pulled to the negative. A negative comment or flaw weighs a hundred times more than any positive comment or improvement. However, in the name of keeping my mind right, I will remember to choose gratitude each week, for the things I am successfully implementing (and it IS a choice!). Like, for example, I walked more this past week than I have done before, even though I didn’t hit the 6-7 times per week I wanted. And, I was more consistent with my weight training than I have been in a few months–can’t I celebrate that? And, I only have more than one coffee ONE day last week….pretty good when you consider I was doing 2 or even 3 some days last month.

And so, even though I was not perfect, I can find happiness in the fact that I was BETTER. Celebrating small wins allows me to feel encouraged to keep going, while only focusing on the fact that I was not perfect makes me want to give up. [One of my fave blogs on the topic: You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby]

That’s my Week 2 update. If you have not spent time reflecting on where you are, how you did last week and some improvements you can make this coming week, I encourage you to do it! :) It makes you feel a lot more grounded and not as overwhelmed going into the week. Good luck!! :)

Related: Are we our own worst enemy?

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