In a recent client giveaway – we asked our customers to let us know what they struggle with in terms of staying fit (eating out, Girl Scout cookies, getting to the gym etc). Overwhelmingly the answers had something to do with friends, family, or coworkers putting terrible food in their habitat. Yikes! So how do we balance socializing and staying fit – is it even possible? Yes.
When we first start out on a new diet, we typically find ourselves abundant in self-motivation. We skip those first couple of “happy-hours” with our friends to go home and eat our prepped out meals. We wake up before dawn to hit the gym. We make sure to post about every meal and gym session on social media so all of our friends know we are thriving at life. After the first couple of weeks of hard work we feel amazing. But, then we find ourselves in one of two places: complacency or failure.
We’ve placed all of our energy into one goal and even though we’ve hit it, we still feel as if our life is off balanced because we’ve neglected our other priorities in the process. While it’s easy to thrive off the energy and excitement we have in the beginning of a new diet, that’s not often how the long run plays out.
Why do our diets fail?
As frustrating as it may be, I’m sure we’ve all experienced this at one point or another. Whether you’re relatively new to the nutrition and gym scene or if you’ve been at if for years, chances are you have or will experience some implications. If we all knew what the exact cause of our diet failure was, wouldn’t we want to change it?
Well, the good news is, it can be changed. You are not “doomed” to a life of complacency and failures. And you can achieve your goals long term. But, before you go on a new diet or take on a new intense exercise routine, it’s important to evaluate a few things so you can maximize your long run potential.
First and foremost, why is your diet failing? Often times when we start our diet we have the end in mind, right? Well, as simple as it may seem, that is the big problem. Your diet is any ever evolving method of what you put in your mouth and therefore has no end.
In order to ensure your efforts are not wasted, you must realize that this is a new lifestyle you are adapting to and while the successes can feel as if they’ve been won when you achieve your dream body, your focus should be on attaining that lifestyle and creating an overall balance.
How do I find my healthy balance?
Finding a balance is much easier said than done. Sure, you know it’s probably not realistic for you to eat perfectly forever, avoid every social encounter that may result in an excess of calories and never have a bad day in the gym.
At what point do you find the healthy medium between being a perfectionist and being a complete slacker?
When is okay to have time where you let go a little bit and at what point does that “time off” start to become your lifestyle? The most important rule to follow is that consistency is key. While it is important to mentally take a break every now and then, your overall success is based on your consistency. With that being said, here are a few tips to follow to help you find and keep your balance.
Prioritize calories and macronutrients
Our partners over at the RP diet have simplified diet priorities into a few groups which will help you focus on the important things and not sweat the small stuff. Calories in vs. calories out – seems simple enough. Wait until you start tracking your calorie intake.
Woops…the weight gain suddenly makes a lot more sense. Once you realize this one factor is more important than macros, meal timing, food composition, supplements, exercising etc, you can start making enormous strides towards your goals with seemingly less effort than you expected. Second on the list is macros which you can read more about here.
Related- Macro & Micro Nutrients
Prioritize healthy eating
Since your diet provides the direct energy you need to function on a day-to-day basis, it will impact every aspect of your life. Realize this. It should be one of the highest, if not the highest, priority on your list. Keep in mind, in order to maximize your own potential in life, you must not neglect your other priorities to cater solely to this one. You should analyze which of your current responsibilities are negotiable (cooking, cheat meals, when you do things, etc.) and non-negotiable (family, significant other, health, etc.).
You shouldn’t have to choose between one thing or another. You shouldn’t have to give up time with your family to cater to meal prepping, so don’t. Plan social occasions around your cheat meals, or be smart about what you’re consuming during these social activities. The holidays can be an especially tricky time to stay on track with your diet and exercise routine. It’s hard enough to stick to your diet regularly let alone with the added guilt trip from your family as to “why you aren’t eating the pie”.
Set realistic goals like filling up on protein and veggies first. Then only allow yourself one indulgence – yes, one. This way you’ll be full from the healthier options but still be able to satisfy that sweet tooth. The important thing is you aren’t giving up one priority for another, maintaining your priorities is key to maximizing your potential, but you must be willing to do a little planning ahead. Which brings us to the next point.
Have a plan
First and foremost, keep a schedule and constantly be updating it. Pick a day where you can sit down and write/type out your schedule. The first things you should be scheduling are your weekly non-negotiable responsibilities (family time, work, how often you will be going to the gym, your diet, etc.). The next thing you should be adding in is your negotiable activities (when you will meal prep, when your cheat meals will be, when you’ll be able to go to the gym, etc.).
If you are going to be having a week heavy in non-negotiable activities, plan accordingly. Know that if you want your diet to succeed, it has to be planned out. Your diet has to become a regular part of your week. Ironically, one of the main arguments against why people don’t plan for the week is because “they don’t have the time”.
Planning for the week should not take any more than 20-30 minutes, or in your case, the time it takes for the brown rice to cook during a meal prep. Knowing what is going on in the week ahead will save you time and most importantly save you a LOT of stress.
Don't take yourself too seriously
Overall one main message should be taken above the rest, do what makes you happy. In order to make sure your entire life is at its best place, keep your priorities straight but do not be afraid to relax every now and then. You never want to find yourself in a place of burnout, so relax.
You will be just as unhappy over thinking every aspect of your life as you will if you slack on your priorities. Do not take it all so serious. Remember common setbacks do not equate to complete failure. If you want to live your healthiest, happiest life, enjoy what you are doing!