As the old year comes to an end and the New Year unfolds, we are feeling super motivated to break old unhealthy habits. You may have eaten a bit too much over Christmas, plus you’ve felt unfit for a while. There’s no better time for a new beginning than the start of the New Year. You make a powerful resolution: This is the year you will get in the best shape of your life.
On the 2nd of January you go shopping at the Whole Foods, join the gym and maybe even buy a juicer. You spend the first week of the year working out for two hours a day, cut out booze for a week or two and you try to eat healthy – or maybe even eat so little that your body goes into starvation mode. What does usually happen after you push yourself super hard ? You crash. The pain of trying to make these drastic changes makes you fall off the health wagon pretty soon. The juicer is difficult to clean, you are so hungry you can not function, your coffee tastes awful without sugar and why on earth did you decide to buy these super expensive running shoes in a first place? You are wiped out because you’ve taken on an unrealistic task. By the time you know it, you are back in a pub on Sunday and you don’t even remember how much you wanted these abs for the summer.
The truth is getting fit isn’t about being unrealistic about your body’s possibilities and potentially injuring yourself trying to perform long gruesome exercise routines. It isn’t about adopting extreme diets that weaken you either.
Getting strong and fit is first of all and most importantly about training your mind first so that you are in control of that little voice in your head, which usually tells you to get off the treadmill or to have another donut. Psychological training is essential to changing your physical fitness. Without being in control of your mind and how you think about both food and exercise, your body will not change. Your thoughts are the foundation for the body you want to build.
When you think about the most beautiful buildings you have ever seen or cities in the world you most admire, you know they were not built over night, right? In the same way, be realistic about how long it will take to transform your body. You need a vision and a plan. Imagine your fitness being the most amazing project that you are in control of. Believe me, anything that is worth fighting for, takes effort and time. Taking shortcuts doesn’t really work if your transformation is to be sustained long term. The tallest and strongest buildings have a strong foundation. You need it too.
Your everyday thoughts about Food and Exercise are your Foundation to build amazing body
The painful truth is that your brain is like a programmed computer and was designed by nature to save it’s energy. When we are faced with a choice, we tend to automatically choose what we are conditioned to do, UNLESS we consciously choose to do something new. That usually means putting ourselves through the discomfort of figuring the novelty of the situation out. Whether it is getting your taste buds getting used to healthier foods, getting up 30 min earlier so that you can start your day with exercise, or increasing weight on resistance work out. This is where you need to harness your mind and realise that without this discomfort no change will ever occur. Discomfort is good. It means your body will adapt. It means you’re learning something new.
In order to make the motivation last you need to define what being in the best shape of your life really means to you. Don’t be generic- visualise. Be precise. It’s your life! Is it looking amazing in your bikini ? Do you want to live longer? Do you want to be stronger to lift more weights or have more energy to spend quality time with your loved ones? You first need to know who you want to be, to become that person. If you don’t know your goals and you lack the vision, any road will take you to the place called somewhere and that somewhere may as well be a fast food bar. How would you feel if you achieved your goal? Probably elated, healthy, strong, more attractive, more confident ! You must stay connected with this emotion that is behind your motivation and vision of a new healthy brilliant you.
REMEMBER: improving fitness is about making small incremental changes persistently. You can’t go straight from being a couch potato with zero core strength to training for two hours in the gym or running 10km. You will injure yourself and hate exercise forever. Be clever about it. Get stronger first. Slowly. Ask for advise. It is about that extra five push ups that you do after you feel the burn that seems unbearable. Trust me, these five extra push ups will soon become 7 will become 10 will become 20. Little steps taken every day and being faithful to your vision bring amazing effects. Whenever the little voice in your head tells you to stop, focus on your breathing, remember your ‘WHY’ and keep going.
DON’T believe in crazy crash diets. Loosing weight isn’t about starving for a week, loosing few pounds, then putting it all and more back on. It is about cutting out that 200 calories a day and being consistent with it. Do that instead. Remember why you’re doing it. Stick to your guts.
DO see food as your fuel. Whenever you want to eat something ask yourself whether it is because you genuinely need refuelling or whether you just want a treat because you’re sad, bored or lonely. Nothing wrong with treating yourself from time to time but be present in your head when reaching out for that snack. Know why you are eating. It’s powerful.
CHOOSE wisely. Everything in life is about choices. You have a right to make healthy choices – claim it. Green juice or Coca-Cola ? What would the best version of you choose? BE that person.
ASK QUESTIONS before you act: “Does doing that bring me closer to where I want to be or does it move me away from it?”
Remember that this is about YOU and building your life. You have a choice every day, in fact every minute of the day you can make little choices that will bring you closer to achieving your goal.
Check out my NEXT BLOG for the 2016 Plan Attack to get super fit and healthy soon.