Summer came here out of nowhere 2 weeks ago. Just 16 days ago I was STILL wearing my winter jacket and boots. Yes, to some it might be the end of spring, to me it was winter – snow means winter, NOT spring.
And then all of a sudden summer came. Summertime living is truly eeeeeaasy.
Except with this surprising start of the summer I found myself walking around not only with a complexion paler than that of a dead man, legs hairier than those of a werewolf, but also with a belly fatter than that of a sumo wrestler. Is it just me, or am I getting more and more attractive with every word I write?
I wasn’t completely unaware of the fact that I’ve been gaining weight lately. I’m trying for months to lose that fat belly and the double chin I’ve been breeding during the last 8 months. Yet until very recently nothing really worked.
It’s not because I don’t know what to do to lose weight, I think we’re all pretty clear on that. You eat healthier, more nutrient-dense foods, fewer calories and exercise more often. But it all comes down to self-discipline. It’s he willingness to do something you might not actually feel like at that moment, and do it consistently to achieve the results you want. And this has always been my biggest problem – consistency.
For example I exercise a lot, but then I would go eat a cake, because…afterwork snack.
But how am I not going to eat that cake after I’ve done exercise at 6 in the morning, it’s dark and cold outside and I have to work for the rest of the day? I feel like I deserve some reward, alright? Nothing else is good in my life, RIGHT NOW, I need something to make me happy!
These are the thoughts that go through head while I’m holding a knife ready to cut a cake into million pieces. This is called: a lack of self-discipline, dear self-psychologists.
And they say self-discipline is a limited resource…
But on the bright side: it’s very much like a muscle. You can deplete it quickly, but you can also train it to grow bigger. You need to practice it more often to have more of it. And then just as one bad thing leads to another, one good thing, one practiced self-discipline leads to another. You exercise, then maybe for lunch you’ll eat a salad and not pizza.
It’s good to identify the times when you demonstrate a lack of self-discipline, to be able to resist temptations. That’s why I sat down and wrote the 12 excuses that I usually make, when I’m trying to make a change in my life. Specifically here about weight loss. Maybe you can identify with these excuses as well.
We all know how that goes. It’s almost never the last one. Once you get that last one, tomorrow you’ll have another last one. It all leads to that: instead of having a last one …., we’re eating as if it was our last day on Earth. And it not just stops us from losing weight, instead it makes us put more weight on. Stop announcing to the world. Just have a real last one for yourself.
The thing is somehow that magical tomorrow never really comes. The only solution for this particular excuse is to do, whatever you have to do, that is important to you, right now. Right away. Go exercising right now, make a smoothie right now and importantly: do it again tomorrow. Otherwise you will probably go crazy, feeling guilty about not doing it and still not doing it. Surprise yourself! Don’t take that cookie!
I am now pretty free of this one, as I really don’t buy anything bad anymore. But I can relate to it so much. It is very much like “I will start tomorrow” and the blank could be: tiramisu, cheese, pastries, ice cream, just anything bad.
The weird thing is, I know I would always choose to eat the crap in my fridge first, while the vegetables I bought last week are not in their freshest state either. I don’t care if the broccoli is almost brown, the preservative loaded tiramisu is going bad in 2 days, I’m eating that first! It’s important to clean out the refrigerator when you start a diet, don’t take too long though. And don’t buy small things that might sabotage you. In fact you can actually give that bad food to someone else, who’s not changing their life yet.
You come across an ice cream shop and your instant thought is: “I will get an ice cream.” Then you remember you shouldn’t do that right now, because you’re not where you want to be yet. After all you have tried eating half clean and half crap for a while before and that didn’t work. But still…is an ice cream going to do that much harm?
Simply put: Yes, yes it will.
Because it will lead to another ice cream tomorrow and the next day and then probably to you not exercising the next days…
At the beginning when you start practicing self-discipline it’s super important to practice it every time, because it’s not that strong during the first weeks yet. The next weeks it will get easier and easier to say no to things, once you develop the habit. Eventually it will not be a problem to get one ice cream, because you will be able to say no after just one. But don’t do it in the beginning.
It’s true we shouldn’t be losing a lot of weight fast, but it’s definitely different for different people. If you have to lose 20 kg, of course you’ll be losing more weight in one week than someone who needs to lose only 3kg.
The minute we see a small progress, we decide we’ve mastered this and need to celebrate it with something very processed and very cheesy, creamy or sweet. But that’s not the way to celebrate. If you need to reward yourself: do something fun, something you always wanted to do; or buy yourself a small gift, that is not made out of food.
And this includes ignoring also our health. But this is very counterproductive. You can’t do your best when your body feels exhausted, sick and stressed out. You need to nourish it. It’s very important to remember that no matter how busy you are your body is the only thing you have in this world. And nobody can deny this.
So if you’re too busy right now, try and find time to be healthy. As hard as it is, start now. Because after you finish X then Y will come your way. This is life. If it means you have to wake up 10 minutes earlier to exercise or prepare a healthy snack – you can do it. If it means you have to skip something that is not really important and instead prepare healthy dinner, do some exercises or go sleeping, then do that. Take care of yourself NOW. One year from now you might not even remember the project that is keeping you busy now, but if you start taking care of yourself now you will enjoy the benefits of that for years to come.
The blank could be tired, full, busy, sad, mad…pretty much anything except for the real reason, which is almost always: LAZY.
Funny enough exercise helps with almost all of these conditions. It makes you feel alive instead of tired, it puts us in a better mood and it improves productivity, so we can stop being just busy and start being productive.
We all hear that voice that tells us
“You don’t have to ____ today”
Here the blank is a verb: exercise, finish your work, drink a smoothie, eat a salad…
And yes, it’s kinda creepy we all hear voices, but let’s not dig into that mess . We know we’re all weird. And that weird voice that’s pretending to be your friend, a protective mechanism you might call it – is actually just an evil voice. It’s like a lazy “friend”, who doesn’t want to do anything, but doesn’t like to be alone. That’s why he’s asking you to hang out with him just where you are – comfortable. So choose your friends carefully and tell that weirdo to shut up.
First of all you can exercise daily. If you don’t feel good – don’t, but if you feel ok, then there is really no excuse for not exercising. Even if you did HIIT yesterday, you can do yoga or Pilates or some other low impact exercises today. It’s important to move your body daily.
The best thing you can to for better immune function is 20-30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise daily. It can be jogging, elliptical or simply walking at a faster pace – whatever feels moderate to you. What’s important is, that you do it daily.
Exercise does not have to take 1 hour, it can take even 5 minutes, if you’re very short on time. And in fact it doesn’t even have to take you any time at all: you can just walk wherever you’re going and do it at a faster pace. Also take the stairs instead of the elevator or have a dance break every now and then.
Fill in the blank again. Could be something very naughty. Like crap for example.
Working out shouldn’t be an excuse for eating something that is bad for you. You don’t do something good for yourself, just to reward yourself with crap, right? Instead reward your body and your brain with whole foods and with real nutrients.
But this is still not really an excuse to eat a lot or badly. After all you’re not traveling by foot. Either prepare a healthy snack at home or buy one that isn’t bad for you. There are always healthy options if you look hard enough for them.
Like these for example.
I really get obsessed with those. It’s important to set limit with these foods, since they can be also quite addictive. Because they’re healthier we suppose we can eat more of them and not put on weight. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t eat any – you can have those daily, they’re very healthy – just don’t eat all of them at once.
There are some more excuses, but for me recognizing that I’m making these excuses or a variation of them constantly (the only thing I’ve never failed to be consistent at) is super important. These might also help you if you make these excuses more often. If not, what kind of excuses do you make when you try to achieve something that’s not as easy as you thought?