> Want to finally achieve your goals?
> Want to finally start seeing results from all your work in the gym?
> Want to feel safe around all food all the time?
> Want to change the way you think about yourself, your life and your relationships all day long?
I think everyone can answer ‘yes’ to at least one of those questions!
I have four unconventional tips that will help you achieve these or any other goal. They aren’t the typical “no pain no gain” or “leave ¼ of your dinner on your plate to cut back on calories” tips either. Nope, these are probably tips you’ve never really thought about, but I’ll tell you that the impact they’ll have on your life is once you start implementing them is unreal.
1. Choose self-compassion over self-deprecation
So many people are still stuck in the old school thought of believing the harsher they are on themselves the better results they’ll see. If you’re a part of this camp, I want to challenge you to change your mind.
Self-deprecation involves harsh criticism and a zero tolerance policy for anything less than perfection. Self-compassion, on the other hand, means approaching your setbacks and failures, from a non-judgmental and less harsh perspective.
Which sounds like a more realistic (and less stressful) way to live?
I’m sure at some point we’ve all stood in front of the mirror and had that internal convo that goes something like ‘Oh my god. I’m so fat. I shouldn’t have eaten those fries last night and I need to go to the gym. My arms are so big and my thighs are gross. I’ve been so lazy but I hate going to the gym…whatever, I’m getting a gym membership and I’m going every day because I can’t stand myself.”
I know I’ve had very similar convos with myself many times in the past.
Self-deprecation can certainly get our butts moving, but it won’t keep us going. It simply doesn’t serve as a strong motivator and here’s why: When we think so negatively about ourselves and our actions, we will eventually make decisions that will be consistent with those thoughts.
Let’s say there’s a girl who thinks she’s fat and lazy, makes bad food choices, and hates her arms and thighs. One day she says enough is enough and she starts going to the gym consistently for a few weeks. Then she gets sick, goes on vacation and misses a couple weeks of workouts.
What do you think her thoughts are?
Most likely they’re something like “Ugh I haven’t worked out in weeks. I don’t know why I even bother. I hate the gym and my arms and legs don’t look any different than when I started. Plus I probably undid all my hard work during vacation so what’s the point?” So she stops going to the gym all together and continues down the road of negative self-talk and self-deprecation.
This is where, instead of keeping up with the self-deprecation, I would suggest practicing some self-compassion. It can be tricky because old habits die hard and if you’ve spent the better part of your life beating yourself up for how you look or decisions you make, self-compassion can be a tough turnaround but that doesn’t mean you can’t work on it.
Here’s how it could shake our:
Make a less than ideal food choice? Tell yourself its ok and you’ll do better at your next meal or snack, then follow through come hell or high water.
Skip a workout? Promise yourself you’ll go tomorrow and follow through on that promise.
Realize you’re being super hard on yourself despite trying to be more self-compassionate? Don’t stress! Tell yourself it’s no biggie and forgive yourself, then get back on the self-compassion game.
2. Less is more when it comes to exercise
I used to budget out two hours a day to get a workout in. I thought the more work I did, the better my results would be and while this thought process isn’t totally nuts (more minutes exercising = more calories burned), it’s certainly not as effective or time efficient High Intensity Training, or HIT.
HIT will give you better and faster results in less time versus taking your sweet time going from one exercise to the next. HIT allows you to burn a hell of a lot more calories and your body will continue burning calories long after you’re done exercising thanks to excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC). When you do a lower intensity workout your body is done working when you are, so no extra cals are burned. HIT is also super time efficient- you can cut your workout time in half and get a better result.
Try HIT for a few weeks and see what happens. You can always go back to your marathon workouts if you don’t love it and I’ll be honest and tell you that I was resistant to HIT at first. I genuinely enjoyed my long workouts at the time. Now I can’t imagine budgeting out two hours haha. 45 minutes max is just fine by me! You’re gonna have to work HARD and HIT is tough, but hey, if it’s only 20-30 minutes you can do it!
How to HIT: You’re going to work as hard as you can for 30 seconds then rest for 45. Keep that pattern going for 20-30 minutes. You’ll know you’re working hard enough if you’re breathless at the end of each 30 second interval. You can use any piece of equipment tp get your HIT on. Jump ropes, kettlebells, Spin bikes, a track, circuit training with weights…your options are endless.
3. Exposure is the new restriction
I’ve read a lot of articles that say if there are foods that you can’t say ‘no’ to, you should keep them out of your house and avoid them at all costs. In theory this makes sense I suppose because it’s the path of least resistance- simply avoid what makes us uncomfortable and what makes us feel out of control. But do you really want to avoid cookies and peanut butter and chips forever? And is that even possible or do you end up bingeing the second you get a chance? Wouldn’t you rather live a life where you can be around any food and feel totally at ease?
I think yes, so here’s how you can get there:
1) Intentionally buy a few things you consider a treat every single time you go to the grocery store. Yep. Buy them on purpose then buy them again the next time you go to the store when they’re gone.
2) Eat these foods as you want throughout the week being mindful that you can always have more if you want, there’s no need to finish it all immediately.
3) Know and accept that you might eat more than you think you should and if that happens, it’s just part of the process.
Here’s how this worked for me:
I would intentionally buy treats from the grocery store every week. I would eat them when I wanted, sometimes going back for seconds…or thirds ;)… and told myself it was no big deal because it really isn’t (remember, self-compassion!). Once I finished my treat for the week I would tell myself that I’d get more next time I go to the grocery store and I would follow through with that. I would keep buying the treat until it seemed kind of unnecessary. The reason it seemed unnecessary to buy them was because they just weren’t as appealing anymore and they started sitting in my cabinet for weeks at a time. The novelty wore off and I no longer considered them special or super desirable because I could literally have them any time I wanted them.
It took time, it took work and it took patience, but I reconditioned myself to think that no food is ever off-limits and I can be around any food, any time without any stress about eating too much of it. Using this method actually helped me drop weight in the long run as well so it was a huge win/win!
4. Change up your social media newsfeeds
What’s one of the first things you do when you wake up in the morning?
What do you do on your lunch break?
How about before you go to bed?
I’d be willing to bet you click on either your Facebook or Instagram app and scroll mindlessly for a few minutes to a few hours each day. I do it, too, so there’s absolutely no judgement here!
Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest are breeding grounds for comparison. Have you heard the phrase “don’t compare your behind the scenes to someone else’s highlight reel?” This is exactly what we do when we scroll which is totally natural BTW. We see models, celebs, or just your everyday beautiful women posing for pictures with inspirations quotes, pictures of couples looking deliriously happy and are of course gorgeous, tan and ripped…it’s easy to go down the rabbit hole of comparing your life to theirs. But here’s the thing- we don’t know their life. All we know is what they’re showing us. I mean, who knew Brad and Angelina were even having problems?! They looked lovely and loving on the Red Carpets! That was their highlight reel. We don’t get the insiders look at what’s really going down.
When we compare our lives to what we see on the internet we can get pretty down on ourselves. We think things like “why does fitness/nutrition/relationships/family life/whatever seem so easy for them when it’s so freaking hard for me?” We start to feel like we’re less than or like we’re not living up to some unattainable standard.
A couple years ago I did a huge social media clean up and since then I do one every six months or so and that’s exactly what I want you to do, too. Get rid of the people who make you feel bad about yourself or your choices or your life in general. If there’s someone whose updates drive you nuts or have different personal beliefs than you and you find yourself getting all uppity about it, why put yourself through that? Keep what inspires you in front of your eyes and get rid of the rest. If you find that you’re comparing yourself to randos on Instangram and you always end up feeling badly, unfollow. You won’t miss them, I promise, and remember- take social media with a huge grain of salt. More often than not, it’s not real life.
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