Being healthy is pretty simple, but that doesn’t mean its easy. At every turn, temptations appear. Food companies employ food chemists to engineer delicious processed junk that hijacks our brains’ reward systems, making food that’s addictive on a biochemical level. It takes quite a bit of planning as well as help with accountability to ensure you’re continuing to stick to the actions that will lead you to your health and wellness goals.
Plan Your Meals Each Week
The modern world is great at rewarding poor planning. Everything revolves around convenience. It’s always leaving suggesting easy ways to go astray. Especially when you’re just starting on your journey to a healthier you and things aren’t quite second nature…(like during your first month of Sycamore CF Customized Nutrition).
No time to make dinner? Grab a happy meal!
In the grocery line with your meat and produce? Hey, check out this 40 ounce sack of fried potato slices; bet you could finish half of it on the drive home!
Every week, plan your meals. Go shopping, get what you need, and have things ready to go.
Think Of the Worst That Could Happen
Imagine everything that could go wrong health-wise. Imagine you’re 20 years older than you are now. You’re on a slew of medications. Your monthly checkup with your cardiologist is the closest thing you have to a friend. You have a weight set, but it sits unused amidst the spider webs that have come and gone over the years. Your bones are porous, your arteries are clogged, your blood sugar runs high, your heart rate stays elevated. Your muscles are weak and embedded with fat, your mind is foggy. Remember that each choice—including the one before you right now—has the power to determine your future scenario.
A lot of things can go wrong in life. Many things will go wrong. All the recommendations we make as coaches in the gym or through emails and social media are designed to reduce your chances of being reduced to that terrible situation. Read those words, feel them, and imagine yourself in that situation. Not great, is it? So, seize the day and use every opportunity you have to fight disease instead of feeding it?
Realize That Perfect Is Not the Goal
Many people have the idea that being healthy is a life sentence of self denial and purity. That’s a big misconception. We have what you might call guidelines, or recommendations. …ways of eating, living, and being that, from my experience coaching people, help a lot of people get healthier, fitter, leaner, and happier. But it all exists on a spectrum. It isn’t “all or nothing.”
Eating a bun with your burger won’t derail the whole train.
Skipping a week of training won’t dissolve your gains.
Eating french fries cooked in burnt vegetable oil won’t cause a cascade of irreversible inflammation. (not that I’d recommend making it a habit, but still).
It’s not about perfection. It’s about making the guidelines work for you to push your health and happiness forward.
Try out the 80/20 Rule
The 80/20 rule is the formal acknowledgement that if you follow the plan 80% of the time, you’ll be doing better than the vast majority of the population and getting the majority of the benefits we can expect from living healthy.
It doesn’t mean eating fast food every fifth meal. It doesn’t mean eating 1/5 of a birthday cake. It means giving yourself some slack. It means realizing that you work hard, you eat well most of the time, and it’s okay if you slip up and have a beer or a few bites of pizza at the end of a long week.
The 80/20 rule helps prevent you from adding guilt and stress over a single bad choice onto the likely minor negative effects of the choice. It cements the reality that you’re going to be okay.
Consider Buying some New Cooking Equipment
Are you trying to cook incredible meals in damaged teflon skillets? Sear steaks in aluminum pans? Slice vegetables with a blunt chef’s knife that hasn’t been sharpened in over a decade? Get yourself some quality equipment, no need to drop hundreds of dollars. Maybe a cast iron pan for searing steaks, some heavy stainless steel pots and pans, a crock pot, or maybe an Instant pot(or offbrand alternative), a decent chef’s knife, and maybe a small, simple food processor if chopping vegetables is keeping you from enjoying big ass salads. It doesn’t take much, and it will make cooking much more pleasurable and effective.
Pick One Thing and Build Momentum From There
Getting your entire lifestyle back on track is daunting. What, you expect a person to overhaul how they eat, move, socialize and sleep right away? Some people can do that no problem, but many people find it extremely intimidating.
Just pick one thing, do it well, and build momentum as you go. Purge your pantry. Ditch processed foods and seed oils. Start walking every day. Get back into the gym. Go to sleep at the same time every night. Doing all those things would be great—and not as hard as you think—but even just one will make a big difference.
Get a Friend Involved
Getting a friend to join you in sticking with your health and wellness goals is a simple and effective way to keep you engaged. Once you’ve both agreed to do the thing, you have to do it. Neither of you wants to let the other person down. As social creatures, we value the input and opinions of others. Especially when those others are close to us.
This is just a short list of ways I find most effective at getting others, and even myself, back on track after some time off, or sticking with it when doubt begins creeping in.
What are your favorite ways to stay on track?