You know the cycle all too well. An important event comes up where you want to look your absolute best – it could be a beach vacation, wedding, high school reunion…And you do it – you stick to the diet, bust your ass in the gym, and get your body looking absolutely fabulous. For a weekend.
And then it’s binge time. A whole lot of late night pizza and beer while watching Ironman on your big screen for the twelfth time and you’re right back to where you started. Or even worse than when you started. It’s time to stop the quick fix merry-go-round and make a life-long commitment to being healthy and looking great.
Here are some tips to help you do that…
Stop Being a Victim
Everyone that has a problem with their weight or how their body looks, always has an irrational reason outside of themselves to blame for them being that way. Always…
I do. You do. We all do.
It’s a TOUGH pill to swallow. Basically by not being where we want to be in life we rationalize it to ourselves by blaming our problem on something else. That could be our genetics, our metabolism, our job, not having enough time, having kids, not having enough money….or whatever.
Everyone does this, and sometimes we won’t even admit these things to ourselves because by doing so we are admitting that we failed. But by rationalizing our problem we allow ourselves to put the blame on something or someone else.
Like I said this is the harsh reality and a tough pill to swallow. It hit me like a ton of bricks when I first realized this.
Don’t let yourself be a victim, and don’t rationalize why you’re in the spot you are in now. Admit to yourself that you’re in the situation you’re in because of what YOU’VE done, and then make a change.
Intrinsic Trumps Extrinsic For Long Term Change
Finding your motivation to get in shape outside of yourself in something such as a big event, an article of clothing you want to fit into, or to impress friends, family, or the object of your affection is a recipe for crash and burn.
Sure you’ll hit the gym and tighten up the diet until you reach that extrinsic goal. But what about afterwards? When the event passes, the clothing goes out of style, and the object of your affection is no longer so shiny and new your motivation to stay fit will wane.
However if your motivation to train stems from a personal standard that you hold yourself to – meaning your values – then you have long term fuel to sustain consistent results.
Deep down you need to have a personal belief that caring for your body with proper nutrition, exercise, and rest is your own responsibility.
Another helpful tip is to surround yourself with friends who have healthy habits…
Find A New Clique
It’s been said that your net financial worth can be predicted by taking the average net worth of the five people you spend the most time with outside of your job. Well I’ll make the bold claim that your health and fitness can be predicted by taking the average nutrition and exercise habits of the five people you spend the most time with.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you have to excommunicate your friends if their not in tip-top shape. I am suggesting that if your friends have health and fitness habits that are not at least at your own level you should occasionally swim in different circles.
Find a new gym partner or take a mixed martial arts class where most of the people in the group are in better shape than you. Try a new activity like indoor rock climbing and find a training partner who has more experience than you. Or ditch the gym completely and start doing some home workouts with your spouse or friend.
Whatever you do, push yourself out of your comfort zone and surround yourself with people who are in better shape than you…
Your Mindset Is EVERYTHING
If you have a fat person mindset, no amount of exercise and diet is going to make you thin over the long haul. You’ll always have fat person tendencies, and sooner or later you’ll “snapback” into your old self.
Have you ever wondered why half the people on the Biggest Loser end up gaining all their weight back? Its all about mindset and willpower. Hell anyone could lose weight living in a hotel and only being fed healthy food with no distractions or temptations around.
But when you get back into the real world and one day you’re late for work and you stop at McDonald’s for breakfast, then its only a matter of time before the whole cycle starts again…
If you want to be lean and thin forever, you MUST have the mentality of a lean person…
Here’s some tips to help…
Put It On Autopilot
You don’t want to have to think about your fitness training. Or what you are going to eat each day. There will be exceptions to this with vacations and holidays, but in the normal day-to-day, preplanning your training and food intake is the recipe for long term success.
Keep your workouts at the same times and days each week. That’s pretty basic and many people already do that, so let’s take it a step further.
Make it a habit to pre-pack all of the gear and clothes you need for training the night before. Make a checklist if you have to – iPod charged, check; workout shorts packed, check. What ever you need to do, you want to do it the same way each time. You want a procedure that with repetition becomes a habit.
And do the same with your nutrition: If you’re trying to lose fat, then pre planning your meals is KEY. I always do my grocery shopping, cooking, and packaging of my meals for the week on Sunday. Then you don’t have to think about what to eat when you are tired and stressed – it’s already been prepared and you’ve set yourself up for success.
Sometimes it can be fun and challenging to get in awesome shape for a big event. But it is even more rewarding when the unexpected happens – whether that’s a pickup basketball game of shirts versus skins or an impromptu skinny dipping session – and you have the confidence that you are always ready to go.
Let your training be fueled by your personal values, hang out with people who are in better shape than you, and set yourself up for success by preplanning your training and diet and you’ll always be in shape for those special occasions.
We can sit here and debate calories vs. carbs or circuit training vs long slow running all day, but if you don’t have the mindset of the person you want to be, then you’ll never change.
Real, long term change comes from within.