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Which DIET & Exercise Strategy Works, Under Any Conditions

Updated: May 26, 2020

How to be successful at healthier eating, even now.

Does this sound familiar? You're feeling conflicted, knowing you need to eat/drink healthier. You restrict your eating & drinking, which gradually gets more uncomfortable than the motivation to be healthy, and you start to backslide. Soon it's F* it, I'm stressed because of x, so I'm eating/drinking what I want. This goes on for awhile, until your original conflict bubbles to the surface, and it's back to the DIET:


Dissatisfying
Inflexible
Eating
Treadmill

With each successive cycle, you feel more demoralized and less sure that you can eat healthy.


Many women have been conditioned to follow the rules from our earliest years, and it sets us up for perfectionism. Perfection gives us the illusion of control, especially when things are uncertain. And I'd say that things are pretty uncertain at the moment. The irony is, control is always an illusion, and this approach to eating only gets us more stuck.


Life getting in the way is the number one reason that we struggle with consistency. We may not be able to control life, but we can control how we respond. We know that restriction backfires, so instead of focusing on all the NOs, what if you focused on the YESes? Here's where BAMs are key! Bare.Ass.Minimums. Defining these for yourself and practicing them will lead to progress that you can build on and sustain. What does that look like? Here are some examples from my own experience, and women I've worked with:


  • One of my clients relies on the gym for exercise and stress relief, but gyms are now closed. Her first reaction was to just wait it. When she realized it was gonna be a while before we get back to the gym, her BAM was being active with her kids outdoors. Once that was happening regularly, she was ready for a bit more, and her BAM shifted to a short workout she could do with the equipment she had at home.

  • Another client was frustrated by her partner's habit of snacking just before dinner, because she often joined in, and it was derailing her progress. At first she chided herself for not having the willpower to say no, and resolved to be stronger. That didn't work for her, so she came up with some BAMs. She started by just putting the tempting snacks out of sight, which was somewhat successful. Then she started a BAM of buying healthier foods, like hummus and precut vegetables, and making them convenient to eat.

  • I was attending an hour long interval exercise class as part of my overall fitness practice, and that's no longer an option. At first, I started skipping exercise altogether on that day. MY BAM started off as walking my dog more. After some success, I added in some interval work along the walk.

  • Another client had developed a habit of a glass or two of wine each evening, post dinner. She knew she didn't really need it, but it had become a habit. At first her BAM was to just skip it. That didn't work. She reset her BAM to have one glass instead of two. Eventually, she progressed by replacing the wine in her glass with her favorite sparkling water.




These small changes may not seem like much, but they add up because they build confidence and consistency. Look at your BAMs as works in progress. There will be progress and setbacks. Be as objective as a scientist, as kind as your best friend, and as patient with yourself as you would be with a small child.


Replace the cycle of restriction with the cycle of progress, by focusing on what you can and will do. Each success builds momentum for healthier eating.





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