It Really Is A Lifestyle Change
“It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle change”. Sound familiar? That’s what everyone that just started a new diet says because they’ve started to see results and like what they’re seeing. Then they realize that it’s taking away from their enjoyment of going out to dinner. Then they can’t have what they want at a cookout. Then they want to have a few drinks while they’re out playing golf. And soon enough they’ve given up on it and are heading back to the weight they started at. That’s a diet, not a lifestyle change. So what does a lifestyle change look like?
One thing at a time
In America we all want instant gratification, and that doesn’t stop with the way we eat. We want our food fast and we want our diet to work quickly. But quickly isn’t best because you haven’t taken the time to figure out what changes you really want to make to be healthier. Instead you’ve forced yourself to make extreme changes and tried to tell yourself that you can deal with them. Try taking a more patient approach and finding one thing at a time that you can change, make an adjustment to, and thrive with. Start by making a shake every morning for breakfast, or a salad for lunch. Maybe it’s just cutting something out like the cheese that you always put on your eggs or the ice cream or adult beverage that you have every night. Whatever it is, only pick one. And when that change has become normal for you, add another change. The key is to keep evolving, one change at a time.
Create A Routine
When you start making changes over time you’ll begin to create a routine. Routines are good because they make you consistent. We’re all prone to falling out of our routines at time too, the key is to not let it snowball. So what if you had a bad meal, or day, or a whole weekend. Even if you had five bad meals on the weekend, you could still have 16 other good ones over the course of the week! Besides, you can always make up for it. Really. I’m not saying skip meals, but if you had a hungry man breakfast, then your favorite italian sub for lunch, maybe it’s time to make up for it and have salad and roasted vegetables for dinner. And if it carries over into the next day then fix it on Monday. Your body doesn’t change much based on your intake for a day, your body makes slow changes just like you need to. If you overeat by 1000 calories on Saturday, then limit your calories by 500 a day for the next 2 days, your body doesn’t know the difference. But you still have to eat, you just have to make healthier choices on those days. To gain or lose a pound, you need a 3500 calorie excess or defecit, that takes time to achieve, which means you have time to make up for your mistakes.
I’m not promoting going vegan, but the more veggies you have in your diet, the less likely it is to be high in calories. As long as you’re not smothering them in butter, vegetables take up a lot of room without providing a lot of calories. Eating “plant based” doesn’t have to mean you don’t eat meat, it can mean that you eat mostly plants. Mostly plants doesn’t mean the kinds that you find in chips, crackers, and bread. Have fresh fruit and vegetables with every meal. The more color they have the better (iceberg lettuce? Not a great choice). This one is easy once you get used to it. When you replace the creamy pasta with fresh vegetables every night it adds up to a big change over time.
Stay The Course
It’s easy to let a day or even a few days get out of hand. The important part is to look for trends and assess what you’re doing. If you’ve been eating well pretty consistently, let yourself enjoy a meal here and there. If you’ve been eating a lot of bad food then try to reign it in a little and go back to making small changes. The important thing to do is keep the momentum going in the right direction, because when it gets going too far in the wrong direction then it’s like trying to turn a ship around get back to where you want to be. Stay the course, stay consistent, and be aware of what you’re doing and whether or not that will contribute to getting you where you want to be.
Steve Zarriello is a Certified Strength and Conditoning Specialist, and the owner of Olympia Fitness and Performance, located in Cranston, RI. He has been training clients of all different ages, abilities and backgrounds to help them reach their specific goals for almost 15 years. His primary focus is on working with golfers to help improve their ability to play the game and keep them pain free.