Next time you think losing weight is an “either/or” proposition, try an “if/then” strategy instead.
I can recall countless times I have heard a variation of the statement “I want to lose weight but…”. Halloween. Pizza. Cheese. And my personal favorite- wine. While these statements are made in jest, many of my clients begin their weight loss journey thinking that weight loss is an either-or situation. Either I eat pizza and stay the same, or I give up pizza and lose weight.
You have heard it before, but losing weight doesn’t mean you have to give up things you enjoy.
That last statement is often attached to a magic pill or wrap from some crap multi-level marketing scheme, but there’s nothing wrong with the statement. It is actually true. Depriving yourself of foods that you enjoy increases your cravings for them. It also creates resentment for the very strategy you’re trying to use to achieve a healthier you. If you associate weight loss with deprivation, that’s the first misstep in your game plan.
Deprivation will slowly and surely kill your willpower and motivation. And when the unexpected arrives-as life does- deprivation will certainly kick in the “what the hell” effect. This effect can send us into making worse choices than we would have under normal conditions. So go ahead and plan out when, where, and how you will enjoy that glass of wine.
The best part of figuring all this out is knowing that there is nothing wrong with you. You don’t lack willpower, you don’t need more #fitspiration, you just need a fallback strategy.
If-Then Statements FTW
Planning can be an important part of success when reaching for a health or fitness goal. But what happens when things don’t go according to plan? Maybe you burnt the healthy dinner you were making and the kids are starving. Or maybe you were coerced into an after work happy hour when you had planned to exercise. Life won’t stop throwing you curve balls any time soon, but you don’t have to become a victim of these surprises. An if-then statement is a great way to handle these situations.
If-then statements are a form of fallback plan. You are still making a plan that will help you achieve your goals even though things didn’t go as intended. With dinner ruined, you might want to chuck the whole thing in the trash and start eating out of the peanut butter jar. Or you could try and “if-then” statement. For example, “If I eat peanut butter for dinner, then I am going to put it on celery and apples from the fridge.”
In the case of happy hour and your workout plans, you could take one of two options instead of choosing to drown your disappointment in a glass of pinot. One choice would be to make better choices at happy hour: “If I go to happy hour, then I will drink 1 glass of wine.” Another choice might be: If I go to happy hour, then I will work out first thing in the morning.” Either choice is better than the first option.
Life is going to get in the way of your best-laid plans. Utilizing the if-then strategy for making choices will keep you on your path to fitness and health with manageable solutions.
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