There is a lot of bondage and self criticism that comes with working out and eating healthy-I know because I have been there. You can become obsessed and feel bad when you fall off the "being good" wagon. If you are like me I often live in extremes. I am an all in or all out kind of person. That is why I always struggled in these areas. I felt like if I ever cheated on my "diet" or missed a workout I was a failure, a bad person. Ridiculous right? But I am afraid someone, a lot of someones out there deal with this too. That is why I have felt so much freedom the last few years in two things; 1. Following the 80/20 rule and 2. Changing my mindset on why I workout/Eat Healthy. I think this is why a lot of people quit a diet or workout plan-they are just too unrealistic and they cause too much pressure. It doesn't have to be all or nothing though and here is why-
The 80/20 Rule:
I try to be "good" 80% of the time. This means eating clean and working out 3-5 days a week 80% of the time. I then cheat on my eating clean and miss working out about 20% of the time. I am sure someone out there won't struggle with this. Someone out there may be able to eat healthy and work out all of the time, no problem. But, I don't think that is the reality for most of us. If you go into it knowing you are going to miss a workout day and have that dessert once in a while then you don't look at it as "failing" you look at it as a way of life. However, you still have to work at this. If you work in an office it can be really common to have temptations everywhere. One co-worker has a dish of candy on their desk, another brings in doughnuts for breakfast to share, and oh wait now it's your other co-workers birthday and there is cake for everyone! If you are sticking to the 80/20 rule you have to make decisions. So, if you already ate the doughnuts for breakfast then you might have to pass on the cake. Otherwise, you aren't being good 80% of the time. Another example-if you skipped working out on Thursday then come Friday you have to push through that laziness/lack of motivation and get your workout on! There is no way around it-people who want to look good and be healthy HAVE to work at it. But, you have to allow yourself to be human-for me that is following the 80/20 rule. It allows me to still enjoy things and have an off day but stick with it most of the time!I don't like the term diet. Eating healthy shouldn't be a quick fix-it should be a lifestyle change. If you make it a lifestyle change and allow cheat times you will have more success with it-same with exercise.
Changing My Mindset:
The first time I really remember thinking about what I ate/working out was in high school. That is when I realized I couldn't eat everything I wanted and I had a tiny cheerleading outfit I had to fit into. I think this is a pretty typical time to think about this. Looking around me everyone had poor eating habits and bad self esteem-that was normal! At that time I worked out for SURVIVAL-it was not fun. Over the past few years my mindset on nutrition/fitness really changed. I finally started publicly admitting that I liked working out (I love the endorphines flowing, the way it helped my anxiety, the stronger it made my body). I also started looking at food differently. I didn't like junk because I realized what it was and the way it made me feel. I no longer wanted to not eat junk because of the fear of it making me fat-I wanted to avoid junk because I didn't like what it did to my body! My thoughts focused from working out and eating well as a pressure that others put on me to working out and eating well because it truly improved MY well being. Working out and eating well made me feel better and in turn makes me a better person in general.
My hope and prayer for anyone reading this is that you can find this freedom that I have found. Bondage to food and exercise can be super depressing. I hope that you find a love for working out and eating healthy because it makes you feel better not because it is one more thing to do and stress about. I hope that you feel perfect...not being perfect!