by Shannon Wintheiser
Do you sometimes feel like when it comes to getting healthy, that you tend to constantly take 1 step forward and 2 steps back? Or at least 1 step forward and then that same darn step back?
Know this: you are totally not alone. Our society thrives on a culture of "buy buy buy" and "now now now" and quick fixes. That Women's Health Magazine article touting 5 ways to trim and tone your booty in 2 weeks flat. The $250 3-day juice fast that entices you with bright vibrant colors and promises of pounds of fat loss from the sidebar of your favorite blog. And your nearest gym or barre studio touting their 4-week class/bootcamp special to get bikini ready!!!!! (Doesn't it seem those ads always come with like, 30 exclamation points?).
You get the idea. Point being, we as consumers love buying things that promise to make us look and feel better. And we love buying them even more when they have an expiration date on them. ("I can do that cabbage/cayenne lemon water/watermelon/raw vegan/whatever diet for 10 days! And then I'll look like that for my cousin's wedding! Score!")
And it's not our fault, really. We are trained to respond to and crave instant gratification. It's in our nature, and, quite enormously exacerbated by the boom in technologies like broadband internet, smart phones, and tablets over the past 20 years. It plays out in all corners of our life, from our health to our spending. In 1982, the average American household saved 10% of their income. By 2012, that number was down to 3.6%.
So what's the big deal? Aren't juice fasts good? Isn't it good for muscle-building, and thus your metabolism, to do a 4-week bootcamp class? Of course! The problem is that we approach our entire health with that all-or-nothing, limited time-frame mentality. So many of us mistakenly think that being truly healthy is something that's either a) too ridiculously hard to actually achieve and sustain long term (and that it requires being a granola-making, grow-your-own-vegetable-garden kinda gal) OR b) it is just a side effect to the "true" end goal of getting skinny and looking fabulous, and has no real merit on its own.
If you're in camp "b", well that's a different post for a different day. But if you're in group "a", where many of my clients start out, I've got some good news.
When you approach your health (or nutrition, or fitness) as an "all or nothing" endeavor, you WILL fail. Every time.
Oops. That's not the good news. I guess that's kinda bad news. And it's harsh. But you can handle the truth, right?
This "all or nothing" mentality is the number one mindset that I try to coach my clients away from. It sets even the best and most resolved of us up for failure, every time. A common way this plays out in the world of health is the following scenario:
Let's say you want to lose weight/cleanse/clear up your skin/enter health goal "X" here, and you try to get there by doing a cabbage soup fast, or start training for a half-marathon or some other time-limited goal. You commit yourself 100% to that singular goal for that time period, and you are ALL in - you don't eat anything but the allotted cabbage soup portions every day, and you don't miss a single bootcamp class for 4 weeks. You are so proud of yourself (hellooo instant gratification!). You lose a few pounds, or maybe you gain some muscle definition in your arms...but then what?
That's the key question we aren't trained to ask - because it requires us to look beyond the instant gratification and into the future. I promise, you can't do the cabbage soup diet forever. And why the hell would you want to?! And when you stop, you will most likely gain all of the weight back, and maybe then some. So then why spend the money, and go through the ridiculous agony of trying these short-term gimmicks in the first place?
Why do we tend to approach our health from a place of STOP/START?
Well, what's the alternative then to this instant-gratification, time-limited mindset? The good news (ahh there it is!) is that there IS an alternative. And the even better news, is that it works. How do I know this? Because I use it most every day, and so do a lot of my clients. It's called 90/10 (or 80/20 if you like to live on the wild side) and it's a principle I go into in-depth in my intro program, The Healthy Chick. Basically, there are a few key elements to this super-effective mentality:
- Stop striving for 100%. No really - go for 80-90%!
- Stop being a perfectionist. So you had a piece of cake with tons of butter cream frosting (yum). Don't freak out and throw your whole day away, saying "well, I already had cake...I screwed up...it doesn't matter what I eat now...I'll start eating better Monday."
- Plan to eat bad stuff. What?! Let's say you're going to a wedding. Don't set an unrealistic goal like: "I'm going to only have 1 glass of champagne and not even look at the dessert table." Instead, plan for what you know is realistic, and then eat the rest of the day (and weekend) to allow for those oh-so-sweet indulgences.
Want to know more? Understanding and implementing the 90/10 approach to a healthy lifestyle is just one of the things that I cover and coach you on one-on-one in The Healthy Chick, in addition to the importance and role of nutrient dense foods and how to work them into your food routine. You'll also learn my secret to getting to the happiest and healthiest version of yourself, no matter how big the challenge.
Want to learn more? The Healthy Chick is open for enrollment and I can't wait to meet you and get chatting! Click the button below to get more info and how to sign up.
P.S. In case you didn't know, I'm pregnant and have decided to go on maternity leave starting in October. This means that I can only accept a couple final clients into The Healthy Chick program this week in order for you to have time to complete the program before then!
The good news: anyone who subscribes this week to The Healthy Chick will get a FREE Juicing 101 guide complete with my #1 go-to green juice recipe (a crowd favorite!). I want to make sure you are getting all the good stuff that my long-term clients get!
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