Copyright (c) 2011 Caroline Radway
It is often the things we are most resistant to that we most need to address – so when you find yourself hitting some resistance, take note and make a conscious choice to explore that in more detail. What we resist, persists, too. So one of the best ways to resolve inner resistance to things, is to learn how to let it go.
Most of us assume we already know what the problem is (Too much body fat? Not enough exercise?) and we assume we know what to do (Find more time. Do more exercise.).
But sometimes by assuming we know the answers, we lose sight of what the actual problem is, or we miss the fact that the problem is multi-faceted.
It is one reason why using solutions that ‘worked in the past’ so often doesn’t work. We get results for a variety of reasons, when we make several changes together. Our assumptions and ‘confirmation bias’ means we usually see what we think should have been the most important success factor, and attribute that to all the results.
We think we now know the answer, and just need to implement that again to get results. But if you can’t implement the previous solution, or if you are continually ‘trying’ and ‘failing’ it is highly likely that something else, something deeper, is the true issue. Even if it wasn’t the issue the first time, life evolves and what worked in the past may not work in the future.
I had a client the other day, who said to me that the time in his life where he ‘lost the weight easily’ he was ‘on a great diet and exercising hard 3 times a week’. Even though he actually said these words to me, he still thought that simply exercising hard 3 times a week would solve his problem of excess abdominal fat this time around! He was very resistant to making any dietary changes, and now drinks a significant amount of alcohol, that wasn’t the case in the past.
Not only is the problem different now, despite the outward sign of the problem, or the excess body fat, seeming the same, but he was assigning his own importance to the exercise part of the equation. You can see clearly in this example how our assumptions can prevent us from getting results!
There is rarely one single cause, which means there is rarely one single ‘solution’. It is vital, therefore, that we open our minds to changing things that we may deem insignificant. The small things are often where the ‘magic’ lies!
Holistic health is really what we are after – which involves a balanced approach, and integration of all areas of our lives. When any area is out of whack, it will affect the others. We might focus on one or two aspects, but the limiting factor may be something we are not even aware of. Sleep, nutritional status, digestion, emotional wellbeing, mental wellbeing, happiness, relationships, stress management are all vital in our quest for a better body – but too often these things are ignored, or worse, further aggravated, when we want to make such physical improvements!
So if we are stressed because we are eating too little & exercising too much we might end up taking this out on our nearest and dearest – so our relationships suffer. This cycle will only make it even harder to lose the fat, as our hormonal system will be disrupted, and also we will find the rigours of training or eating well or preparing our foods harder when we are stressed and feeling under-par emotionally. This usually manifests in binge-eating or yo-yo dieting, and certainly doesn’t make us happy, healthy people!
Many of us are conditioned into thinking that we are only successful if we lose bodyfat at record speeds, or if we train ourselves into the ground and adopt super-strict eating habits, beating our bodies into submission.
But if we look into what ‘true’ success is, in most cases it is achieving results and actually maintaining them. It is developing new habits and attitudes for life, that will leave us happy in our own skin, give us the tools to keep our bodies in shape and fit into our busy lives.
It is possible to lose body fat faster than the accepted ‘slow and steady’ 1-2lb a week approach. But it takes dedication, commitment and strict attention to diet and plenty of high-octane training. It also takes dedication and commitment to rest and recovery! Which for many is, in fact, the limiting factor.
In fact, overtraining doesn’t really exist – it should be re-phrased ‘under-recovering’. Olympic athletes can train for hours a day, but the rest of the day is also equally comitted to recovery: sleep, massages, nutrition, supplements, water etc.
Nutrition really is most of the equation when it comes to fat loss. Training is vital, but nutrition is something that takes more time and awareness, as it is very easy to ruin all your best efforts in a few moments.
Train hard, eat more than you need of low quality food: don’t lose fat.
Train pretty hard, eat less than you expend of good quality food: lose fat. In the scheme of things, getting enough exercise is much easier than getting the nutrition right – schedule three to four 45 minute sessions a week, have the equipment and a programme and follow it. Of course, there are challenges to doing this, but essentially, it is only 3 hours out of your week you need to worry about.
Nutrition, on the other hand, is something that can be going right or wrong ALL THE TIME! Many of us will be thinking about food, or about trying not to eat food, all the time, and this means we are constantly hungry and constantly battling that hunger!
Learning to calm down about eating, tune into what we need, by developing awareness of our needs and what our poor choices lead us to feel, means we can begin to take control of this crazy situation.
The habits and strategies we learn are what make the difference. The more weight you want to lose permanently, the more permanent changes you need to make to your lifestyle.
The more you clean up the diet, the better your recovery will be and the more effect your training will have, as you can put more into your training.
But for others, you will want to start more slowly, building new habits over time. The idea of changing too much in one go can be daunting and can result in rebounding, a feeling of failure and yo-yo-ing. Baby steps really can yield incredible results.
Your results will likely be slower to start with, but there are studies that show that slow and steady really does win the race in the long run. If you are the kind of person who has tried to make too many changes in one go then ended up back to square one, this approach will mean you will finally build lifetime habits and behaviours.
Understanding you are you is a key factor. We need to play to our strengths and not always look to be too much like someone else. If you will only feel motivated by making big changes and having a complete overhaul, that is fantastic! So long as you approach it with a long-term, lifestyle change mindset.
If you feel too many changes too soon will throw you off plan too soon, then work to your strengths, and build things up gradually.
A really important point to consider is that CONSISTENCY wins every time! More often than not, stalls or plateaus are more to do with the habits than the foods. We get complacent and start to ‘slack’ on things we had been really tight on at the start. It’s not a new plan we need – we need to keep doing the things we were doing better!
So, I would always say, work on the habits FIRST. Consistently apply the basics, and learn to keep the balance right with strategies and good habits rather than jumping onto an advanced version of a plan immediately. You might not have to do the more extreme elements after all!
If you get to a point where you really want o boost things, or take it all to a whole new level, there are more plans available at the website. But most people go for the ‘extreme’ options first, seeing them as the magic bullet or quick fix approach. Most people come unstuck attempting to apply these approaches because they don’t have the basics dialled.
The basics may not seem as glamourous, but do you really want to be thinking about extreme dieting and training approaches for the rest of your life? Would you prefer to have some simple habits and approaches that can be seamlessly integrated into your life, that will reap rewards almost effortlessly for years to come?
Caroline Radway is a fitness, nutrition and lifestyle coach. You can get your FREE report, The MIRACLES Success Solution, and get access to more top tips and advice here: FREE FITNESS TIPS!