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The Perfect Plan for Eating Better & Getting Fit

Updated: Jun 20, 2019

Many of my successful clients first came to me after failed attempts to get healthier, eat better, and get fit. How did they turn things around? Let's look at a couple of examples:

"Bill" is a 50+ year old guy who had put on weight over the years as his career became more demanding. His clientele are mostly older and he saw how their lifestyle choices resulted in health problems they might've avoided and a loss of mobility that interfered with doing the things they loved. He had tried some weight loss programs that had strict meal plans with some temporary success, but always ended up right back where he started. After these attempts, he was becoming less certain he could succeed. To make matters worse, there was so much (often conflicting) information out there on weight loss. When we first began working together, there were some small successes. That made it difficult, because it was hard to not compare it with programs the promised results in 12 weeks. But he was patient. With time & practice, he established habits that have helped him drop 4 sizes. He feels better and is able to do more physically with less effort and finds it easy to continue sticking with his healthy eating habits.

"Ann" is a 40+ year old Mom who took a break from her career to raise her children. She was active, but inconsistent due to her children's schedules and a nomadic lifestyle. She was a military spouse and every time her family moved, it took her a long time to get back into a fitness routine. We began working together when she wanted to recommit to her fitness. Together, we figured out what she could do and made a plan that helped her move forward. Once she had some exercise consistency under her belt, we started working on nutrition. Busy days with getting kids to after school activities meant a lot of fast food meals. First she found ways to make small improvements, and eventually she started putting her strong planning skills to work to find healthier solutions. When she discovered that the family was going to move again, she began to feel anxious. Then she reminded herself of the solid foundation she'd built and the flexible habits she'd developed. Before the moving dust even settled, she had a plan in she could put in place from day one. Now she knows she has the tools to stay consistent, even when life gets in the way.

So, what are the things they had in common? These key characteristics:

Shifting Away from the Perfect Plan

No matter their previous strategy, my clients saw some a common theme emerge from their attempts at change: going all in with a perfect plan that doesn't hold up when life gets in the way and the novelty wears off. This led to feelings of failure and doubt. If you're a human, and you've repeated a mistake (me, raising my hand!), you know what I'm talking about. Repeat this a couple of times and you can become convinced nothing will ever work. But, in the words of Thomas Edison, "I didn't fail; I just found 2,000 ways not to make a lightbulb." Beating yourself up doesn't help you change. Shifting to a more flexible mindset and trying something else does.

Nurturing the Seeds of Success

The good news? When looking at their past attempts to change, these same clients also saw some kernels of success. They looked at the what they could learn from those small wins, and asked how they could could do more of that. Adjusting what success meant for them when life was particularly chaotic was another discovery. Instead of completely giving up when overwhelmed, they asked themselves, ""Considering what's happening right now, what's the best I can do?" Success breeds success, no matter how small.

Breaking the Perfection Trap Cycle

Many of my clients considered themselves on or off "the wagon" before we worked together. This led to a vicious cycle of: perfect, real life obstacles, "screw it" mentality, frustration and disappointment, double down on perfect, and on and on it went, every time life threw obstacles their way. No wonder they couldn't get any momentum! Once they started to see eating and exercise on a continuum rather than a yes or no proposition, they made progress.

Patience with Imperfection

Sustainable habits aren't created overnight. Finding what's perfect for you is a process that takes time and effort. Sometimes it will be two steps forward and one back. Yes, it can be boring and a pain in the ass! The payoff for your persistence is adaptable tools you can use, no matter what obstacles life throws your way. Getting into an I'm-in-it-for-the-long-haul mindset is challenging, but necessary.

Finding the Strategies: Try, try again

Just because a diet or exercise plan is popular or worked for a friend, doesn't mean it's right for you. My clients learned what worked for them by trying something and objectively evaluating (Is this working? Can I keep doing this for a very long time? "Yes, I'll try more of that." Or, "That didn't work for me. What would happen if I do ____ ?" ) With practice, they learned to trust themselves. They knew they would find successful ways to live a healthier lifestyle, no matter what.

There is no perfect workout or diet program, there is only what's perfect for you. Finding it will take some work and time. Value progress over perfection.

Don't keep these tips to yourself, pass em' on! Share on social media to help spread the love. If you need some help finding your perfect-for-you strategies, click on Contact at the top of the page.

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