Are you finding it difficult to stay on your New Year’s Resolution this year? Was it to get fit, lose weight, or to eat better? If it was to get fit, the only thing you can do is to keep your exercise schedule. Make it the most important priority in your schedule, and never allow anything to intrude on it. Make it sacred. If someone asks if you’re available, never agree to do something instead of exercising. Once you do it, it gets easier and easier to find less important things to take over the time you have allotted to exercising, and the next thing you know, you’re “Off the wagon.”
When it comes to losing weight, it’s more complicated. Many people resolve to lose weight through some diet or exercise plan, but they don’t commit to a lifestyle change long-term. They think that they can drop the weight through some sort of extreme diet or exercise regimen and then return to their previous lifestyle of eating anything they want and not exercising. Some people repeat this process over and over again. Most people never get past two weeks in January and quickly fall back to their old ways. Why?
A lot of it has to do with cravings. The real culprit is sugar. It causes cravings. The worst part is that the more you eat, the stronger and quicker the cravings will return. It’s a cycle that dooms many people to become morbidly obese. It’s what makes eating a good diet with natural, whole ingredients difficult, because breaking the sugar addiction is difficult and takes a scorched earth approach to be successful with.
Another reason many people fall back into their old ways when on a restrictive diet is due to the lack of choices and palate fatigue. Ever hear about people who eat baked chicken breast and rice or cabbage soup to lose weight? I know people who would eat grilled chicken and salad at lunch and dinner every night for a few weeks until they broke down and went out to get a large pizza (mushrooms, onions, green pepper, and Italian sausage) and ate the whole thing. Yeah, that was me. When you eat the same thing over and over again more than once a day, it’s easy to get palate fatigue and you begin craving food. Anything. Most of the time, the strongest cravings will come in the form of foods your brain had become attached to due to the carbs/sugar. In my case, it was pizza. Always pizza.
Bad information leads to falling off the diet. How long have we thought that a low-fat/high-grain diet was what we needed to eat to lose weight and stay healthy? Remember when we were told egg yellows were bad for us? Milk does a body good? All marketing and not backed up by solid science. It turns out everything we were taught through marketing and in the school systems was backwards. A high-fat/low-carb diet is actually much better for us, and supplemented with good vegetables and reasonable portions of fruits, will allow us to be healthier and lose weight naturally.
Another reason people fail is they over-exercise. This is due to the misconception that you can just do a whole bunch of exercise and sweat the fat out of you. First, this is simply just bad science and not true (you don’t “sweat out” fat), and second, it misses the basic truth that you can’t out-exercise a bad diet. These people who begin to over-exercise quickly get fatigued or worse, they get injured. They then take time off to rest or heal and never get back to it.
Whatever your challenge is, you need to make sure you get some good, solid science behind you, make some long-term changes, and commit to them. These changes may require you to alter the way you eat for the rest of your life. The good news is that it doesn’t mean you can’t ever eat pizza, hot dogs, or bread again. You most certainly can! You just have to do it in moderation, and when I say moderation, I mean like special events and holidays. Make them truly special with some of the foods you miss. You will find that after time, the foods just aren’t worth how much better you feel day-to-day, and how much more energy you have.
How do I stay motivated? I do not accept failure, nor do I accept self-sabotage. I want to succeed, I want to be healthy, I want to be fit, and I want to live as long as I can in a healthy body. I don’t want to be a burden on my family, and I don’t want to be the person looking back at their youth and recalling those golden years when everything was better because I was healthier. I want to live today, and now, and enjoy everything that I can to the fullest extent possible. For me, it’s not worth giving all that up for a pizza. Not anymore.