Listen we have all been there. Even fitness professionals.
When 1 cookie turns into 4.
The day just couldn’t be won, so next thing you know, you’re mindlessly munching on everything in front of an open fridge.
Where you’re white knuckling it all week long, depriving and resisting everything remotely “bad.” Then Saturday comes and the rabid dog breaks off his chain, eating whatever is in sight, whether it is tasty or not.
It is so frustrating. Feeling inadequate and disappointed in yourself because you were a failure at reigning in your cravings and overindulged … AGAIN.
But life doesn’t have to be like that: a constant tug-o-war with food and emotion.
The thing that gives our body nourishment and, essentially, life should not be the source of anguish, anxiety, and stress.
So what is there to do?
Similar to anything else that is sustainable – it is going to take time and a shift in how you handle and see your environment. A mindset shift.
Here are 6 ways to help begin your process of breaking the cycle of restricting and binge-ing.
#1. Lose the completely restrictive diets.
At Impact Performance we very rarely ever give “meal plan.”
Why? Because we have learned that those unbelievable foreign and restrictive diets don’t do much for our students besides stress them out and set them up for failure later. It may sound crazy but get off the fix, detox, cleanse, or whatever else you want to label a ridiculously strict or hard diet to follow. If you can’t stick to it forever you’re going to end up quitting. Instead we use guidelines, for us that is the Warrior 20 and an eyeball way of portioning and measuring our food. We allow our students to build healthy meals, of their choosing with the outlined 20 foods. We also tell them to utilize the 80/20 rule. 80% of the time eat whole, nutritious, and healthful foods, while 20% of the time allow yourself to enjoy life, drink a beer, have a cone of ice cream. Why? Because life is suppose to be enjoyed. You can get a killer body and still have some birthday cake here and there.
#2. Start with smaller action steps.
It is similar to the whole, “I’m going to start on Monday” routine. If you have to gear up, strap on some ammunition, and seriously pump yourself up to start a new nutrition plan or diet – it sounds like it might be like something we mentioned above. Instead try to take bit sized pieces, so-to-speak. Instead of overhauling your whole live and trying to change everything, pick 1 think you know with 100% confidence you can handle. This is another strategy we use at TFW South Jersey because it makes the biggest impact. You wont be stressing about a tiny change, you will be able to execute and do it all of the time – forever. You’ll feel successful and, dare I say, good about yourself. Those positive vibes will make it easier and less painless to continue. I’m talking about doing something that seems so easy, that after a week or so it automatically becomes a healthy habit you no longer have to think about doing. It could start with something like drinking a glass of water everyday as soon as you wake up or going for a 30 minute walk twice a week. You will be surprise how big of a dent these, seemingly minuscule actions, can do for you.
#3. Keep a journal.
I’m not even talking about a food journal where you write down all of your food for days and weeks on end. Yes, that can be helpful – but I actually want you to start somewhere a little deeper. Every time you get a craving or find yourself with your mouth full and fingers reaching mindlessly in front of the fridge or cabinet, I want you to pull out your journal and write down how you feel. It may seem a little frew-frew but many times our binge eating or over indulgences come less from: “I’m hungry” and more from: “I’m sad” or “I’m bored” or even “I’m happy”. Figuring out your emotions and what is triggering the self sabotaging habit is going to be the real tool in breaking it. If you deal with the actual root – the emotion that is driving the action you nip it right in the butt and wont need life hacks, distractions, or healthier alternatives.
#4. Have a plan and meal prep.
I know for me if I fail to meal prep, especially after a long time on the floor coaching, I get home famished. Which is a problem. As I am preparing and cooking my meal I can’t resist “picking” on whatever is in my path. This leads to me not being hungry for my actual nutritious meal and often over eating. Having a plan is the best plan! Prep foods and have them ready to ensure you never get to the point where you black out from hunger and wind up on the kitchen floor dipping tortillas into peanut butter (yes that has happened). The more structure you have actually frees your mind up to have less stress and enjoy the times when you do indulge.
#5. Wait 30 minutes then have the damn thing.
Then there are sometimes when you just really want a god-damn piece of chocolate. Trying to avoid or replace the thing you really want with something “healthier” may work for some people but I find that isn’t the case, more often than it is. Instead of eating yourself orange with carrot sticks trying to replace the thing you really want, only to then eat it, and then, some after is also counter intuitive and leaves you with icky feelings. Instead try and wait 30 minutes. Do something in that time like go for a walk, play with your kids or pets, get something done you have been putting off. After the time is up reassess if you still are craving that thing. If you are just have it! Have a responsible portion and put it to rest. However, usually, I find the craving goes away – because why I wanted in the first place had nothing to do with being hungry or some other physiological reason. It once again was more of an emotional response that I now have worked through.
#6. Don’t be so hard on yourself and stop expecting perfection.
This one is my favorite! Life – and you – are anything but perfect. It took me a while to finally realize that, and wow what a weight off my shoulders. Realize that you are going to slip up, make mistakes, and eat a half a box of cinnamon toast crunch every once in a while. That doesn’t make you a bad person, a failure, or ruin your shot at feeling confident and happy in your own skin. It is a learning process. A moment when you get to show yourself a little bit of kindness you would part on anyone else and move on. Punishing and torturing yourself for days after just breeds even more “negative” and bad behaviors. Take it for what it is and keep moving forward. Just like one good meal isn’t going to make you, one slip up or bad meal isn’t going to break you or your chances of having the body of your dreams. It is what you do for the long run, over time that really counts.
Take these tools, put them into action, and move slow! It took years to build unproductive eating habits and unhealthy relationships and feelings about food. It is going to take some time to come to a place of balance.
For even more information and a list of the Warrior 20 foods I talked about, download our free 12 Step Fitness Guide.
Or if you’re ready to get the support and coaching you need schedule a strategy session and we can figure out where the best place to start is for you!