When it comes to your health goals, do you often find yourself “starting again”? Does one bad choice lead you give up or go into “sod it” mode where you find it difficult to implement your healthy behaviours? Do you then feel like you’ve in some way failed because you weren’t able to keep it up?
In today’s society, instant gratification is the norm and most of us expect to be able to achieve what we want quickly. We default to quick fixes – extreme diets or supplements that promise dramatic change with minimum time or effort.
The reality is that these are rarely as easy as they seem. Fad diets are actually really difficult to maintain for any period of time; whilst you might see big changes fast, all the research shows that people who lose weight in this way put it all back on (and often more) in a depressingly high number of cases. Similarly with pills or supplements, most of them are no substitute for a good diet and lifestyle and are at best a waste of money and at worst can be downright dangerous.
This on/off approach to health and nutrition really isn’t helpful and rarely gets us to where we want to go. However, a change of mindset that enables you to embrace an approach which is successful over the longer term is far more effective.
The truth is that it’s what you do MOST of the time that matters – an approach which is consistent, flexible and sustainable is the key to good health. Cutting out all sugar for example is not realistic in the real world (are you never going to eat another slice of birthday cake?) but an approach where you make a conscious decision about when you eat sugar and do that most of the time is much more likely to be something you can do over the long term.
Following a balanced, nutritious diet for the most part enables you to consciously choose less healthy foods some of the time, whether that’s as part of a celebration or because it’s something you love (or sometimes, just because!). You can put the on/off mentality to one side because you know that one pizza is not going to have an impact on your on ability to reach your health goals in the wider context of your diet and lifestyle. You no longer need to feel guilty about choices – there are no good and bad foods, just food.
This does require a change in attitude – moving away from quick fixes and making peace with the fact that real change can take time. However, the reality is you’re much more likely to actually achieve your health goals with a consistent approach – and it’ll be much more enjoyable along the way!