So you’ve embarked on a new diet or exercise regime. All is going great, you’re feeling positive, you’re ready to do this, you’re seeing results and then….. WHAM…. life happens! You get delayed at work, you get invited out, you get up late, the kids are sick… you know, real life stuff!
You spend the day eating crap, you’ve missed your workout and there’s nothing in for dinner. Well that’s blown it, may as well start again on Monday! Sound familiar?
Now don’t get me wrong. I know diets and strict regimes can reap results in the short term, but are they working for you, I mean really working for you? Are you genuinely happy with following strict plans, do you feel completely unrestricted and free to eat what you want when you want? Can you keep it going your whole life and feel happy and full of energy? No, I thought not.
Which is why I’m so passionate about people learning what will work for them and their lifestyle… not their friends, theirs! Taking into account their own unique lifestyle, as well as their likes and dislikes.
Let’s start with food. When I work with clients, no food is banned, it doesn’t need to be, because when you start listening to your body’s needs, you start eating in a way that makes you feel good, inside and out, you want to eat those good foods. It becomes your new normal. Of course there will be days when you really fancy something ‘naughty’, I know I do, but that’s okay, because it won’t be very often and your body is extremely well equipped to deal with those moments and it won’t go into meltdown. Meltdown happens when you keep confusing your body…. one minute you’re on diet where you can’t eat after a certain time, then you’re on a diet that forbids carbs, then you can only have shakes or you starve yourself all day because you’re going out for a meal…. This is what messes up the body’s metabolism and causes it to store fat, not the one or two ice-creams you had on holiday or the cake you had at a birthday party.
What your body craves and needs is a good, clean, primarily plant-based, whole foods diet. Fruit, veg, salad, beans etc, along with a reasonable amount of meat and fish if that is your choice. This should be everyone’s starting point. Once you have this under control, then you can start looking at what more specifically suits you. Perhaps certain foods make you feel sluggish, whereas others give you energy. Perhaps there are simply some foods that you don’t like. That’s cool, pick others that you do like. There are so many nutritious whole foods out there, you don’t have to eat in a way that doesn’t align with you. Perhaps there are certain foods that better serve you if you have a health condition. This doesn’t happen overnight, it’s a journey, but it’s one that will get you off that dieting rollercoaster for good!
So moving on to exercise. Yes of course, if you’re a professional athlete, you need a training schedule or if you’re training for a specific event you may well need a training schedule. But for most of us, we exercise because we want to keep our weight down, our bodies toned and our fitness levels up. It doesn’t need to be punishing and it doesn’t need to be a chore. I’ve talked about this in a previous blog post 7 Tips to get you active, but the key message here is about doing something you enjoy and do it regularly, but if ‘life happens’ and your schedule slips for a few days, so be it, that’s life. Pick yourself up and move on.
Give yourself a break. Give yourself permission to be human. Give yourself permission to have a life. When you can do that, when you can start to relax your rules around food and exercise, that’s when the magic happens! Be Unconventionally Healthy!