Hello, my friends. Congratulations to the winners of the 2014 Nutrition Challenge! In fact; I want to give a thumbs up to those of you who even participated; that was quite the ringer your asses were put through. You don’t get a fist pump or high five, though; I don’t subscribe to the “everyone gets a trophy” school of motivation. Nobody gonna give you props for mediocrity in real life so get over it. But I am impressed with the work you put in and if you didn’t, well, you know who you are.
Those of you that shaved off weight; please tell me that you have a plan for sustaining those hard won gains? Anyone can make changes short-term. Hell, when I was trying to figure out what it would take to lose weight and keep it off (between ages 9 and 45), I lost 100 pounds and gained it back (more than once …I may have mentioned that). You’re probably saying something to yourself like “How could she work so hard and let herself gain it all back?” Or you may even be thinking what I was thinking about myself; “Damn that bit** is a loser”. But it wasn’t about me; it was more about my poor planning! If you really want the positive dietary changes you made to stick, consider a few tips:
1) Make it Your Own There is plenty to glean from all the dietary theories out there, but I didn’t achieve lasting success until I customized a plan based on my own preferences and on what worked for me. My eating approach is a low-carb hybrid with room for fruit and about a 10% expected cheat rate (3 meals a week to eat whatever the hell I want). Sometimes this gets ugly. But I never feel bad about it since its planned and I will eat clean (mostly) the other 24 meals. Plus I exercise about an hour/day 5 days a week; a no excuses, non-negotiable 5 days a week of showing up and doing the best I can (whatever that is for me on that day). “My Way” works for me, so doing it is easier.
2) Control Your Environment Have you ever gone to a restaurant with friends, family, or your significant other even though you knew there wasn’t anything healthy on the menu? You said to yourself “I can make this work; I will pick the best choice…maybe a salad and soup; maybe an open-face (whatever)…blah blah blah. When I do this, I order either what I think is “OK” and hate every bite and start eating fries off my husband’s plate or I chuck the idea of clean eating all together and order a nasty-ass burger smothered in regret and just go for it. Both options are bad; don’t go to the crappy joints unless it’s a planned cheat and the best of the best of the cheat food you want. Don’t half-step; make it orgasmic! And don’t bring home food (doggy bags, freebies from work, a fabulous looking something from the store, etc.) that you don’t want to see yourself scarfing down in a moment (ok, maybe several moments) of weakness. OH!!! And then there’s my personal favorite; don’t order an x-large pizza for 2 people with the intent of leftovers. Not Pizza. No. Just No.
3) Make it Easy I try to make “eating well” convenient. I follow the path of least resistance during the week since time is crunched (that pesky gig called WORK). So what do I do? I decide what’s going to be the go-to food of the week and batch cook on the weekend. Last weekend I made 3 grass-fed beef meatloaves and re-purposed them: meatloaf and pureed cauliflower on Sunday, meatloaf sandwiches for husbands lunches, “taco” salads another night: smashed up meatloaf and heated it with diced chili tomatoes and spices, served on fresh greens with shredded pastured cheese, avocado, salsa and plain Greek yogurt. The “tacos” were a few of my favorite nubby wild rice and sesame crackers. Damn that was good! I froze one, too. I make my infamous clean banana muffins on Sunday so I have a healthy treat with my coffee all week long. And yes… I clean and spin my greens on Sunday, too. Does that make me boring? No; it makes me successful.
So you get my drift, right? Think about what you can do to smooth a path to make it more likely for you to keep up your new habits. Don’t tempt yourself unnecessarily cause you’re only human (well, most of you). The key to success in the long haul is sustainability. Have you designed a plan that will stand the test of time? What are some of YOUR ideas for sustaining positive change?