By Lisa Rhea
We are all creatures of habit. Without even knowing it, we slip into patterns. Think of any work conference or class you’ve been to. The first day you will take a seat, and seek out that same seat every time you sit down, annoyed when some jerk switches things up and sits in your spot.
You probably make the same path through the grocery store each visit and mow your lawn in the same pattern each week. We automatically seek shortcuts and avoid unnecessary changes.
Chances are, you’ve also slipped into routines with your health and fitness. You probably fall back on the same methods every time you attempt to “clean up your diet” or “get back in shape.” You know what “works” for you…or do you? The fact that you’ve fallen off track is a good sign that you need to reevaluate your fitness pattern. What works for you clearly doesn’t if you’re not sustaining that lifestyle.
For some, they will attest that low-carb diets are the key to losing weight, yet they always gain back all the weight they lose on those diets. It’s not working.
Some will swear by cardio – jumping back on the elliptical for an hour a day to fight the fluff, only to start skipping days and eventually using the machine as a clothes drying rack instead of an exercise machine. It’s not working.
For others, they’ll cut out all sweets and relish in their pounds dropped – until they see that chocolate chip cookie – or two – or ten – that just can’t be passed up, and quickly fall back into indulging regularly. It’s not working.
Change is never easy. It’s down right frustrating to find a new seat when you feel like you should be sitting somewhere else. But if you’re really honest with yourself, you’ll realize that’s exactly what you need to do. Find a method for living a fit life that will truly work for you. Be willing to move in a new direction and get out of your comfort zone.
For me, embracing functional fitness was this new path I needed. When I learned to train for performance and not aesthetics, I found new goals and a new peace in my body that didn’t rely on how much body fat I could pinch. And funny thing, my physique goals fell into place as well. I could see my run times improving and my pull-up numbers going up, while my clothes fit better. I wasn’t living and dying by what the scale told me each morning, but rather finding my motivation in my performance.
It wasn’t easy though. It meant training in an entire new way. It meant pushing myself to do things I wasn’t comfortable with, trying things I wasn’t naturally good at, experimenting and being willing to look stupid as I attempted new exercises. But by making these changes, and taking these chances, I found my sustainable method that works for me.
Likewise, with my eating, I was accustomed to falling back on my competition-style diets every time I wanted to lose weight. But they never lasted for any length of time because they didn’t fit with my non-competition lifestyle. I finally learned to stop seeking extremes and focus on consistency over time. And it works. Even pregnant, I’m able to balance my healthy eating with my splurges on a day-to-day basis and maintain a comfortable balance.
Take an honest look at your efforts. Are they really working for you? Do you find yourself living a consistently healthy life? Or are you constantly falling off track and struggling to get back on the right path? Maybe it’s time for a new path.
Consider a new gym, a personal trainer or group training, a new sport, something that will take you out of your comfort zone and keep you energized in your training.
Look at your eating and see where you can make improvements on an everyday basis. Be realistic with you can maintain and gradually make changes.
There is no one-size-fits-all for health and wellness – no one way to eat or train that’s superior to all others. But that doesn’t mean you’ve found the one that suits you best. Take a look an honest look at your health and wellness today and be willing to try something new.