“Thoughts create words, words create action, action creates habits, habits create character, and character defines your destiny.”
When approaching nutrition, sometimes it seems that the harder we try, the farther away from our goals we seem to get.
It’s a lot like falling asleep: the more I concentrate, the less likely I am of actually falling asleep! Similarly, when we start a diet, we tend to concentrate on the things we can no longer have, which creates a struggle.
We can constantly fight that struggle and maybe see results, or better yet we can just remove the struggle altogether.
For example: let’s say you’re somewhere talking to your significant other, and a very attractive person wearing provocative clothes walks by. The struggle would be not to look. The general idea is to tell yourself, “don’t look, don’t look, don’t look.”
The more you think about not looking, the more the option of looking is on the table. A better approach would be to simply concentrate on looking at your significant other.
So, how does this apply to nutrition? If I start eating clean and tell myself I can’t have pizza, the more pizza will be on my mind. Instead of concentrating on what I can’t have, I need to start concentrating on the things I can have. Removing the struggle does not happen overnight, just as habits aren’t created overnight, but controlling our thoughts is the first step in doing so.
Controlling your thoughts is a huge step in the right direction for achieving a life change with nutrition. Let’s say you’re concentrating on the right foods and doing a great job. You’re seeing results, you’re making changes, and then all of a sudden a birthday or a wedding pops up, your best friend made you your favorite food, and you stray from the routine you’ve tried so hard to get into.
This is usually where the second pitfall comes into play. For many people, thoughts like this run through their mind: “Well, I blew my diet.” “Everything went down the toilet.” “I cheated, so might as well really cheat.” If we go back to the word “diet” and think of eating in a habitual way, we soon realize that for you to be upset means you actually thought you were going to go through life never eating your favorite food, or cake, or pizza etc…Not very realistic.
When thinking about nutrition, you have to think of it like finances. It would be funny if you went out and bought something a little out of your budget and said, “Well, I am in debt, so may as well get really into debt.” Of course not. On the other end though, saving money is great, but if you save your entire life without spending it doesn’t really serve a purpose.
Its the same thing with nutrition. Soo you’ve been doing a great job and you have a piece of cake. You can either enjoy it or beat yourself up over it. If you enjoy it and stop thinking about it, you’re in the proper mindset of no struggle. If you beat yourself up over it, you are now reverting back to the struggle and bad thoughts, which in turn usually brings on more eating.
One of the biggest pitfalls of many diets is looking at the issue and not the problem. For instance, let’s say I want to lose weight and the problem is I overeat. Now there are a lot of physiological reasons why that is and we will address them in detail in later chapters, but psychologically there are many reasons why this happens as well.
A general approach to someone who overeats and wants to lose weight is to give them fewer calories. Sometimes we take it a step further and try to fill someone up with fewer calories using larger quantities of food. Using this approach is a lot like giving gum to a smoker. Can it work? Absolutely, if the issue was that they just needed to stay busy. Telling someone to eat less is like telling a smoker to stop smoking – they would if they could. Instead of addressing the problem (smoking /eating), we want to address the issue. Why are they smoking in the first place? Do you smoke when you’re bored, stressed, tired, to help you sleep, or to wake you up? These are the real issues. If you take boredom away, then your desire to smoke will decrease. If you pay more attention to reducing your stress level, you’ll also be less likely to smoke.
Applying this to nutrition is quite simple once you start listening to your body. Do you eat when you’re bored? When you watch T.V.? Stressed? If you believe that your desire to eat is only triggered by hunger, go to a supermarket when you’re not hungry and just walk around the aisles looking and smelling the products – see how quick that desire for food comes.
For each of us, there’s a standard we hold in all aspects of our lives, whether it’s our financial standing, our job ranking, or even our social status. It’s human nature to become complacent in certain aspects of our life. Some aspects we strive for and continue to grow in, and others just go into the “will get to pile”.
One way to explain this is to imagine you go on a vacation and gain 20 lbs. When you get back, you feel so disgusted with yourself that you do whatever it takes to lose that weight. The reason for this is because that excess 20 lbs is below your internal standard. Once you get back to your original weight though, you go back to being complacent and hoping to lose that little bit of excess weight.
If you look back at your first paycheck at your first job, you might be thinking, “how did I live off of that?!” This reason it seems so hard now is because our standard of living typically increases as we increase in salary. To go back to that initial salary for many people would be extremely difficult. And the same is true for many people who start to hit their nutrition goals.
Once someone sees that six pack pop, any time he (or she!) starts to let themselves go, that standard kicks in and they get back on the ball to get back to that body they wanted. My point is that first you need to truly increase your standard, and once you hit that new standard, you create a thought process that lasts forever.
You’ll never want to go back – once you look in the mirror and see the body you want and wake feeling the energy you’ve missed for so long. Those foods that were so attractive before start to lose their appeal. But creating this new standard requires you to take charge of yourself as if you were the boss. If you were in charge of someone, you wouldn’t allow them to show up to work late every day. No, you would require them to work the entire day, and the word “can’t” would be frowned upon.
Take charge of your life, create a high standard, and keep yourself accountable!!!
“A man that cannot motivate himself must be content with mediocrity, no matter how strong his other talents.” – Anonymous.
Everyone will tell you that they have the perfect diet, the latest pill for weight loss, or even the latest and greatest workout equipment for a 5 minute makeover. The truth is that the most powerful weapon you have is your mind and motivation. If I give you the perfect diet but you don’t follow it, it’s worthless. And motivation is built just like everything else in your body.
Just like any other part of your body, it needs to be fed. You feed it and it’ll grow. Write down what your motivation is. This is something that should take some serious thought. Is it energy to play with your kids/grandkids, the ability to walk on the beach and feel great about the way you look, confidence to go talk to that special person, or is it to be the best athlete you can be? Whatever it is, write it down!!!
Put it somewhere where you’ll see it every day. When you’re thinking about what you can’t eat, concentrate on that paper instead. Lastly, you have to believe that you are going to achieve your goals. If you can’t visualize it (think it), then there’s no way it’ll ever come true.
Once you believe you’re going to accomplish this life change, you have to ask yourself, “what am I willing to do to accomplish it?”. One of the most memorable people I worked with was like a brother to me. One night we had a conversation and I asked him this very question.
It’s very easy to say, “ I would do anything!”, but I broke it down to him and asked him some very important questions. When you truly decide to make a life change, you have look beyond the moment. It’s easy to stick to a diet when you’re sitting around talking about your goals, but it’s totally different when you’re sitting around on the weekend with nothing to do.
At the time this friend was 420 lbs. I asked him, “Can you give me 6 months of your life?” Meaning, no matter what comes up for six months, you’re not going to veer to the left or right – you’re going to walk the path. Nothing matters, no excuses!! If you’re at a birthday party, wedding, it’s the weekend, it’s your anniversary, someone comes and brings you a pie, whatever excuse we come up with, you’re not caving.
He promised me, and even more importantly he promised himself. To show you his motivation he actually put his house up for sale and moved from Texas to Virginia to live with me! He gave me six months, and went from 420 to 240 lbs!!!
When this happens, your life literally changes. Of course the tangibles were there – he looked better and he had more energy, but it’s the non-tangibles that were really exciting!! The confidence, the mentality that he could accomplish anything, and the work ethic to actually do it!! When people imagine their goals, they only see the body of their dreams. People usually don’t have the confidence, the energy, or desire to do and accomplish more and attack things they never thought possible. For many people,W six months is a small price to pay for an entire life of benefits.