Which diet will give you the best results?
There are a LOT of different diets out there! There is Vegan, Gluten-free, Dairy-Free, Keto, Mediterranean, Vegetarian, Whole 30, Paleo, Intermittent Fasting, Intuitive Eating, Carb Cycling, Macro Counting, Weight Watchers, Raw Food, and the list goes on and on. Which one is the best? Which one is going to give you the results you want?
What if I told you they all work! The key, or secret sauce, is your ability to be consistent with the plan! UGH!!
If you were to ask any fitness or nutritional coach what the most important habit is, I bet all of them would say, hands down, CONSISTENCY!
Consistency is key!
If you cannot be consistent then it really doesn’t matter which diet or exercise plan you do. You’ll do it for a week or two, maybe a month, and then get frustrated and give up. Sound familiar? We have all been there. You are not alone. We have all struggled at one time or another with our health goals. We start off strong but get overwhelmed and burn out. We can’t seem to find that balance between working towards our goal and the demands placed upon us and something has to give.
6 TIPS FOR STAYING CONSISTENT
So, how do we cultivate a habit of being consistent that’s not overwhelming and avoid burnout? I think it’s also important to understand that being consistent does not mean being perfect! Take learning an instrument (I bet you can guess where this is going?). You have to practice, consistently, in order to improve and enjoy the end result. After a few weeks you wouldn’t expect to be a professional musician. Of course not! It takes consistent practice over a long period of time. Would you expect to play perfectly at every practice? No. We practice to learn and we practice to get better at the parts we struggle with.
TIP #1 – CONSISTENCY OVER PERFECTION
The same is true for dieting and exercising. You are practicing taking care of your body. Just like it’s normal to forget or get busy and miss practicing your instrument for a day or two, the same is true for your health goals. It’s not a bad thing. It doesn’t mean you’ve messed up or need to make up those missed days. It means you’re human. The point is to practice. And to practice more often than not. Consistency over perfection.
TIP #2- SIMPLIFY THE GOAL
When learning a new song, you start slowly and work on the notes on the first line and then the next and the next. After you are comfortable with that you might add in the rhythms and tempos, and then technique for fine tuning.
When you break your goals down so small that they are easy to attain rather than taking it all on at once, you are more likely to succeed and avoid the burn out.
TIP# 3 – ADD SOMETHING VS. ELIMINATING
A common mistake, when it comes to health goals, is that we think we need to cut something out or stop doing something. To a degree that’s true. But have you ever told a child not to do something? What happens? They do it, and they do it more than they did before! Grown-ups are just big kids. Tell me to stop eating sugar and now that’s all I can think about!
Instead of taking away, think of what you can ADD. When I focused on getting more vegetables in my meals that became what I thought about, instead of treats. I still had the treats but now I was getting more veggies in. Eventually, the veggies, more water and better food choices started to naturally crowd out the unhealthy foods. Whenever I need to take something out that’s not serving my health goals, I know I do better when I focus on what I can add rather than take away.
TIP # 4- TRACK YOUR PROGRESS
Another way to help you stay consistent is to track your progress. This may seem boring and uninspiring at times. But trust me! I did not track my progress very well in the beginning and I wish I would have because I know I’ve come a long way and it would be nice to see those changes on paper.
How do you track your progress? There are many ways and tools that are helpful. The most common one being a scale but it is also the most misleading. You never know if the scale is going up or down because of muscle, water or fat. It’s good to weigh yourself but don’t get caught up in the number.
MEASURING TAPE + SCALE
If nothing else you should measure yourself with a measuring tape. This could be uncomfortable because maybe you’re not ready for those numbers. But just like with the scale, don’t get attached to the numbers on the measuring tape. This is so we can see progress. When the measuring tape numbers get smaller but maybe you gained weight on the scale this can tell you that you lost fat and gained muscle that week! The scale and measuring tape are needed to work together in order to have a clearer understanding of what’s happening with your body.
There are other tools you can purchase, such as a body fat caliper, which measures a fold of your skin on specific parts of your body to tell you your body fat percentage. I’m not a huge fan of this, mostly because it’s focusing on body fat and I would rather focus on muscle and inches lost over body fat. But if that is something you think would help you don’t be let me stop you!
BODY ANALYZER SCALES
There are also special body analyzer scales that actually analyze your weight, body fat percentage, muscle mass, bone density and water weight. These are cool but not necessary. It is good to be aware of your bone mass. As women, we start losing bone mass in our mid to late 30’s! You can slow that loss through diet and resistance training and it’s nice to know where you stand. Some health and wellness facilities will do this for you for free so make sure to ask about it.
Fitness tracker watches have become very popular in recent years, making it easy to track your heart rate. The more fit you become the lower your resting heart rate will be. This is my favorite nonscale victory! Your heart is a muscle and responds quickly to the added exercise you give it. Just going for a walk every day will do the trick!
Take before pictures. Raise your hand if this is your favorite form of measurement…..Ya, it’s not mine either. It is nice to go back and see where you were and where you are now. It can be quite motivating on days you’re feeling discouraged. So take those before pictures.
MARK IT ON A CALENDAR
Take a regular paper calendar and cross off each day that you kept your goal. If you exercised that day, cross it off. If you stuck to your eating plan, mark it off. Sure, you might miss a day here and there, but if you look at the entire month, I bet you are doing better than you thought. So don’t get discouraged if you have a less than perfect day.
TIP #5 – SCHEDULE IT IN.
Research has shown that when you are starting a new habit like exercising, you are more likely to succeed if you schedule it in. And do it at the same time every time. At least for the first 30 days, as that is the magic number for how long you must do something in order for it to become a habit. So put it in your calendar!
TIP #6 – MINDSET – BELIEVE IN YOURSELF
At the end of the day, what really matters is how you feel about yourself. Chances are, people are drawn to you because of who you are. Your mindset actually plays a role in how you gain or lose weight. Negative thoughts tend to increase stress hormones, which hold on to unwanted weight. Let go of the negative self-talk. It does not serve you. You can love yourself and your body and still be humble and kind. Being confident in yourself does not mean you think you’re better than everyone. When you are consistent it leads to confidence, which leads to trusting yourself, which leads to believing in yourself. Your body and your spirit should be able to trust you to take care of it, just as our children trust that we will care for them.
You got this! Chip away at it a little at a time and give yourself some grace and you will reach your goals! For more tips and motivation, follow me on Instagram @takylorkati2018.