Are you ready to get back to your pre-summer goals? Maybe you’ve been putting off change until “vacation mode” is over and routine is back. If you’re ready to step into a new lifestyle to get to your health desires, whether it’s losing weight or eliminating your digestive complaints, here are 5 tips to help you get back on track.
1. Accept that change is hard yet beautiful
Change is not easy. Our bodies and brains want to stay exactly where they are now because it’s safer and takes less energy. That’s why every time you attempt to change something, whether it’s your food, sleep pattern, or how much time you spend playing games on your phone, it will seem like you’re trying to push an elephant to race.
Staying where you are now is easy, but the consequences can be fatal. Without change, without a challenge, babies don’t learn to walk. Kids don’t learn to spell or read. And adults don’t learn to manage money, life, relationships, careers and so on. Change is the only way to grow. When you accept that it’s not easy, you’re more prepared. You don’t overestimate your ability to ‘wing’ it. You don’t try to “will power” through a destructive environment. You plan and focus.
And when you accept that change is beautiful, an opportunity, and a blessing, your whole mindset is working for you, not against you.
The next time you think that it’s not fair that you have to change what you eat, think of the opportunity life gave you to grow, heal, nourish, and thrive. You will become a better and stronger person. Think of the new you that’s about to emerge. Think of the YOU 30 or 90 or 120 days from now who will thank you for every minute spent learning, for every effort and sweat spent adapting, and for every time you refused to quit. You’re not a victim of your circumstances. You’re choosing a change that will transform them.
2. Limit your options
Being overwhelmed sucks. Excuse my language but it’s a terrible place to be. My business mentor talks about creating limits and boundaries when trying to make business decisions, and the same is true when you’re trying to get back on track with health goals. Your head spins with options, and there’s so much you need, should, or could do. You feel paralyzed and do nothing. More is worse. When it comes to eating healthy and making it routine, fewer options and repetitions reduce the time and energy you spend making decisions and executing them. Consistency is easier with few options and that’s the fastest route to results.
How do you limit yourself? Here are some options to think about:
- Have the same breakfast each day.
- Have 2 breakfast options (eggs or smoothie) that you alternate
- Make the same smoothie every time
- Lunch is always a salad. Rotate 3 protein options (grilled chicken, hard-boiled-eggs, canned tuna). When you wake up in the morning, you already know what you need to prepare for lunch.
- Lunch: come up with 1 healthy option in 1-3 restaurants you typically go to so you know exactly what to order when you walk through the door (no last-minute, impulse craving-based decisions)
- Snack is always cut-up veggies and a stick cheese or hummus
- Dinner is always a grilled or roasted protein (chicken, fish, or beef) with roasted veggies
- Cook on certain days of the week only (you will make yourself do it)
- No bread, pasta, rice, sweets, or fried foods (instead of trying to figure out what moderation looks like)
You will eventually want to expand your options, but starting out, don’t get overwhelmed with trying to cook too many different types of dishes.
If you already have a system or routine that looks like the above and looking for new recipes and ideas, check out my cookbook, The Detox Way, Everyday Recipes to Feel Energized, Focused and Physically and Mentally Empowered.
3. Just do it–NOW
Nike got it right. Start Now. Not tomorrow, not on the weekend, not on Monday or after whatever event you have coming up. Create the time and mental space to do it today and don’t wait for life to let you. Your projects won’t end. Your house won’t be ever clean enough and your laundry won’t ever be done. Grab a pen and paper, and write down one healthy breakfast option, 2-3 lunch options, and 2-3 dinners you can easily prepare. If you don’t have the ingredients, buy them today. Want to exercise? Go for a walk or run today. Check your gym calendar right now.
Sometimes we want to create the perfect situation to get back on track: the perfect diet, the perfect work out, or the perfect stress-free life. It won’t happen. But we waste timing waiting for that moment. Just start now. If there’s ONE thing you can do that will make the biggest impact on your health, what would it be? Now go!
Don’t just talk about it and don’t overthink it. Take action today. You’re trying to change your life and transform your health, so don’t put a start date or wait until you line everything perfectly.
4. Eat more protein and less carbs
I’m going to assume that most people want to get back on track because they have put on few extra pounds over the summer from traveling or too much ice-cream! So I wanted to give you a food-based tip to start with right away. As a general guideline to help you limit the “rules” and the gray areas, eat 100 grams of protein or more each day and eat 100 grams of carbs or less each day.
If you want to know what 100 g protein look like, download this 1-page cheat sheet. If you want to learn how to reduce your carbs, read my blog post on the health benefits of low carb diet and how to calculate how much you need.
On a side (yet important) note, when you reduce your carbs, you will need to fill the gap with something else. That would be non-starchy veggies. These are things like leafy greens, peppers, cucumber, zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, mushrooms and so on. So while you’re aiming for 100 grams protein, load half your plate with one of these veggies. (I have a full list and recipes to prepare these veggies in my cookbook). If you’re wondering about fat, don’t overthink it for now. Avoid anything fried and avoid mindlessly snacking on nuts, but don’t go looking for low-fat foods or eliminate the dressing or the teaspoon of olive oil on your veggies. Some fat is actually good for weight loss.
5. Be accountable
To get back on track and continue to see improvement, you have to be accountable to yourself and someone else. Tell a group, a spouse, or a friend. Write what you eat in an app. Weigh yourself (I recommend once a week or every other week—not daily). Hire a coach. Accountability is one of the most important benefits from working with a coach. Most people are good at starting things; few commit consistently and finish. The high of starting wears out, and you want that momentum to keep going until healthy becomes you, not something you grind to achieve. Create short-term goals and check in with someone or something on regular basis. This ensures you’re moving in the right direction, not stagnating and not moving backwards. If you’re feeling stuck or alone, or you keep rewinding back to the start line, reach out to see how I can help you through my private Eat to Thrive coaching program or group weight loss program Effortless Eating for Weight Loss.
There you go. These were my 5 tips to help you get back on track with your health goals. Do you have other tips or strategies? Share with us in the comments section below!