Written by Invictus Nutrition Coach Jenn Ryan
I think we can all agree that the excitement of starting something new and promising gets us loaded with motivation and thinking we’re ready to jump full steam ahead going from 0-100 real quick. This can be especially true when it comes to fat loss and the exercise and dieting that tends to come along with it.
What’s great about some of the fad programs out there such as Weight Watchers, Whole 30, 21-Day fix, and even ketogenic diets are that all you have to do is exclude certain things from your diet and eat exactly how they tell you…and viola! You see instant results, which of course brings instant gratification.
The thing that seems to happen though, and studies have proven this, is that more often than not, the people who lose weight using these ‘quick fix’ protocols tend to gain all the weight back, and sometimes even more, 6, 9, 12 months down the road.
Why is that? Well, for starters, the ‘rules’ that are in place just tell someone what they can and cannot do, without really teaching the thought process behind it. We are not left to think or be responsible for ourselves, it’s just, “well this is what my diet tells me to do or not do.” If any habits are learned, it’s again mostly what that particular diet tells someone they can or cannot do, instead of first implementing basic habits like learning how to read a food label or understand portion sizes…Or that, heaven forbid, a food is not inherently ‘good’ or ‘bad’.
So raise your hand if you’ve yo-yo dieted and tried numerous variations of exclusionary diets that you’ve stopped because it became unsustainable, boring, or you hit a plateau. Then raise your hand if you went back to the ‘old’ way of doing things because you hadn’t built any new lifelong, sustainable habits?
And so again, time after time, you’re left feeling lost and frustrated on the inside because it always feels like you’re re-climbing a mountain that you just fell back down. Well, what if the ‘program’ you were on showed you how to create daily habits that you can do all day, every day, as a part of your life? There’s no mountain or ‘track’ to fall off of.
Here’s the thing: if we work on building basic habits to do everyday, there’s no way to say, “oh that didn’t work for me” or, “this program isn’t for me right now.” Because it all starts with something you CAN do. Motivation will come and go, so this is why developing habits to fall back on when life gets crazy or we don’t have our usual ‘regimen’ to follow is so beneficial.
Creating Your Daily Habits
1.) Create a specific habit. It’s tough to check something off if it’s not clearly defined. We’ve given you lots of ideas for these:
Unspecific: eat more protein
Specific: eat 1-2 palm-sized portions (depending on person) of protein at 3 meals/day.
Unspecific: drink more water
Specific: drink ½ body weight in ounces of water each day
Unspecific: I will walk everyday
Specific: I will take a walk after every meal
2.) Start with something attainable, that you know you can do everyday.
- Eat 1-2 palm-sized servings of protein at lunch everyday
- Drink 1 glass of water when I wake up every morning
- I will take a 10 minute walk after breakfast every morning
3.) Hold yourself accountable.
- Have some form of tracking such as an app for your meals, take photos every week, or a calendar on your fridge.
- Check off the box each time I have protein at a meal
- Track my water intake in My Fitness Pal
- Check off the box each day I get my walk in
4.) Get your friends or family to do it with you!
Social support gives you an accountability partner, and also someone to share your thoughts and feelings with as you’re implementing these habits. It’s much easier when those around you are also wanting the same for themselves.
Whether you’re just getting started or starting over, the feeling of being overwhelmed with trying to figure out how to get past the obstacles that have stopped us in our previous attempts to reach our goals can seem terrifying. By reviewing your day and finding one or two habits you can implement each day consistently, you can build up to an entirely new way of life that hopefully fills you with energy, positivity, restful sleep, and a healthy sense of self-love.
Implementing this on the Regular
We need to be able to SEE that something is getting done – otherwise, let’s be honest, it’s kind of like, eh, yeah, I did that. But did you really do it? this is why I suggest using a calendar or a spreadsheet that’s kept on your refrigerator, in the bathroom, bedroom, or on a desk. You can simply check off what you’ve done that day. It requires ZERO work to check off a box, but the return on this can be LARGE. You can start with a few small goals and get more detailed from there. As you achieve each goal, check off the box.
Here’s what this may look like: